Tag Archives: load and haul

Sandvik adds Turku plant to battery-electric vehicle manufacturing plan

Sandvik is expanding its plant in Turku, Finland, to incorporate the manufacture of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) for underground mining, it says.

Alongside the expansion, which is set to be completed in the second half of 2023, the whole of the plant for load and haul equipment is set to be enhanced and modernised.

Sandvik’s Turku Business Park project represents a significant investment of over €10 million ($9.7 million), with the investment in response to increasing demand for load and haul equipment for underground mining, together with the industry’s growing trend towards electrification and digitalisation.

The objective is to increase the capacity of Sandvik’s Turku plant and improve production efficiency. Improvements will be made to all aspects of the plant’s operations, including logistics, warehousing, production and assembly areas and quality control, Sandvik said.

The OEM will acquire an additional 7,000 sq.m of production and storage space by modifying space previously occupied by Tunturi, a manufacturer of bicycles and fitness equipment. The project will provide additional capacity for the production of BEV loaders and trucks, and includes investment in new welding robots and assembly lines.

Matti Seppälä, Project Manager at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “The upgraded production environment and reorganisation of operations will improve productivity, lead times and worker safety. Warehouse and recycling improvements will enhance the sustainability of our operations.”

Three completely new machine assembly lines will be built, two of which will be designated for the manufacture of BEVs – a first for the Turku plant, which has manufactured mining loaders and trucks since the early 1980s and employs around 700 people today.

The modifications that form part of the Turku Business Park project will enable flexible manufacturing of both conventional diesel and battery-electric mining equipment. The company’s plant in Camarillo, California, is currently the company’s main battery system hub for BEVs.

Mats Eriksson, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ Load and Haul division, added: “BEVs enable the electrification of mines, which increases productivity and improves working conditions, reducing emissions, heat and noise, although there will still remain a need for conventional diesel equipment for some time to come.”

To strengthen its development of mining BEVs, Sandvik recently acquired Akkurate, which specialises in battery technology, particularly remote battery diagnostic and prognostic platforms. Akkurate has now been integrated into Sandvik’s Load and Haul division, accelerating its expansion into battery-electric mining equipment and enhancing the current product offering.

MACA to carry out open-pit mining services at Roy Hill iron ore operation

MACA Ltd says it has been awarded a mining services contract with Roy Hill Iron Ore Pty Ltd at the Roy Hill iron ore operation in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The project consists of open-pit mining services, including load and haul and drill and blast, and is expected to generate approximately A$70 million ($50 million) in revenue for MACA over the 12-month term, commencing in early 2022, it said.

MACA says its work in hand position including this contract is currently A$3 billion.

The Roy Hill project is owned by Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd, Marubeni Corporation, POSCO and China Steel Corporation, and is 115 km north of Newman in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

MACA CEO, Mike Sutton, said: “MACA is very pleased to be able to continue working with Roy Hill at its world-class iron ore operation, having commenced civil works at the project earlier this year. Our team has a long-standing relationship with Roy Hill, starting with first mining at the Roy Hill project, and MACA is proud to be an ongoing part of this operation.

“This project will be undertaken utilising existing fleet, contributes to MACA’s secured mining work in hand for financial year 2022 and financial year 2023 and further secures our strong position in the Pilbara region.”

MaxMine Carbon seeks to cut emissions at open-pit mining operations

MaxMine has announced the official launch of ‘MaxMine Carbon’, a technology offering that, it says, will enable mining operators to reduce their carbon emissions by more than 10% for no, or limited, additional capital expenditure.

The MaxMine Carbon offering was unveiled last week at the annual Rotto Tech Fest, as part of the West Tech Fest, held on Rottnest Island in Western Australia.

MaxMine Carbon is a mining productivity tool which captures, processes and analyses vast amounts of data, then translates that data into pragmatic solutions for clients that deliver significant carbon emissions reductions and productivity gains at open-pit mining operations, specifically in load and haul operations, the company explained.

The technology platform harnesses cutting-edge automation capabilities and advanced data analytics to capture up to 10,000 times more data at open-pit mining operations, relative to the industry standard fleet management system products, according to MaxMine.

During extensive trials of MaxMine Carbon at various open-pit mining operations, miners were able to accomplish an average minimum carbon emissions reduction of 10% within just one month. This is the equivalent to replacing more than four trucks in a fleet of 40, with zero-emissions vehicles, for zero capital expenditure, the company estimated.

MaxMine Carbon also allows companies to quantify their carbon emission savings for inclusion in ESG and sustainability reports.

Furthermore, miners experienced an average payload increase of 7% at the operations where the MaxMine Carbon beta product was implemented.

This additional production output, while using the same resources, also translates into significant cost savings and efficiencies for the mine site operators.

“In fact, from a client perspective, MaxMine Carbon is on average expected to pay for itself in just 12 weeks from fuel savings alone, and, coupled with the broader MaxMine suite, this figure drops to six weeks,” the company said.

MaxMine Chief Executive Officer, Coert Du Plessis, said the company’s new offering provides resources companies with a cost-effective solution to achieve emissions reduction targets, as regulators, investors and the broader community increasingly focus on reaching a net zero emissions world.

“Emerging renewable energy solutions for miners that are commercially viable remain at least 5-10 years away, but many mining operators have emissions reductions targets to meet in the short term and medium term,” Du Plessis said.

“This is where MaxMine comes in, as a revolutionary technology offering that can overcome this challenge by empowering miners to reduce their carbon emissions right now and also potentially boost their bottom line. It also enables miners to quantify their carbon emissions reductions.

“Net zero mining starts here.”

The launch of MaxMine Carbon coincides with MaxMine being crowned a winner at the Extreme Tech Challenge Australia last week for its data analytics proficiency and work on MaxMine Carbon.

Since its inception in 2015 in Adelaide, MaxMine has grown from five to 50 people, and expanded its corporate presence to also encompass Perth, Brisbane and Sydney in Australia, as well as Pretoria and Cape Town in South Africa, with further international expansion planned.

Over the past five years MaxMine has achieved revenue growth of between 70-100%/y.

Du Plessis said MaxMine Carbon would underpin sustained growth for the company.

“The demand for tangible solutions for miners to meet ESG criteria is growing by the day, with the cost of capital for miners with the lowest ESG scores up 20-25% higher than those with high ESG scores, so we anticipate strong uptake of our new product,” he said.

Sandvik celebrates 50 years of the Toro load and haul heritage

Sandvik is celebrating the 50th birthday of its renowned Toro™ family of loaders and trucks for underground hard-rock mines.

This name has been recognised for decades, with the bull figure and the word Toro symbolising both a rich history and a promising future, Sandvik says.

The history of the bull at Sandvik dates to September 3, 1971, when the first Toro loader started its engine in Tampere, Finland. It was a Toro 100DH loader with a “massive” (at the time) 1.5-t carry capacity. Later on, the design and production facilities moved to Turku, which became the home base of the Toro family.

In 2020, after 15 years of dormancy, Sandvik reintroduced this old family name again.

“Today, the Toro family is characterised by design principles of safety, strength and intelligence,” Sandvik says.

“Safety is everything for those who work underground with heavy equipment, and it is the number one driver in the product design.

“In addition to safety of operators and maintenance personnel, the design needs to be sound from a sustainability perspective. Strength and power are at the very heart of the old Toro heritage and robust design, reliability and performance in the most demanding conditions are also the foundations for the current offering.

“The third element, being smart, evolves quickly. Sophisticated digital systems such as Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® offerings are fine examples of intelligence, but smart solutions are needed all over the equipment, including operator ergonomics, easy maintenance access and component layouts.”

On August 31, Sandvik introduced a new i-series 15 t loader, the Toro™ LH515i, which was launched in Canada.

The Toro family includes loaders and trucks in all size classes and for all market areas. The key technologies are diesel-powered loaders and trucks, cable-electric loaders, and, as a newcomer, a battery-assisted loader that, according to Sandvik, is making an entry on the marketplace very soon.

CSI to carry out load and haul, drill and blast work at Rio’s Brockman 2 iron ore mine

Mineral Resources Ltd’s CSI Mining Services has been awarded a mining contract by Rio Tinto to carry out work at the Brockman 2 iron ore mine in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The scope of the contract will see CSI conduct load and haul, drill and blast, and short-term mine planning activities for Rio, the company said.

This will involve scheduling, drilling and blasting and then excavating 27 Mt of waste rock and iron ore over an approximate nine-month period, with a fleet of large-scale mining equipment, developing the Lens A/B pit for Rio.

This contract builds on a 16-year relationship with Rio, dating back to when CSI first commenced crushing services at the Nammuldi mine site. It also follows the completion of a 30 Mt load and haul contract at Rio’s Tom Price mine. CSI remains engaged at another Rio Tinto operation, Paraburdoo, where its team is carrying out 13 Mt of load and haul operations.

The Brockman 2 contract will generate around 150 jobs for CSI’s highly skilled workforce, the company said.

Mineral Resources’ Chief Executive Mining Services, Mike Grey, said: “We are delighted to have been invited by Rio Tinto to assist at another of its world-class iron ore mines. Our relationship with Rio Tinto dates back 16 years. Since then, we have been able to establish a track record of consistent project delivery for Rio Tinto, which we are very proud of.

“CSI is the world’s largest crushing contractor, so it is immensely satisfying that this latest Rio Tinto contract includes other mining activities, such as load and haul and drill and blast, to demonstrate CSI’s diverse skills set. We are confident this Brockman 2 scope of work will become the latest chapter of our ongoing association with Rio Tinto.”

Brockman 2 is one of the 16 mines that make up Rio’s world-class Pilbara iron ore operations.

The CSI team has begun mobilising to site, including delivering a new fleet of Komatsu 830E electric-drive dump trucks and a new Komatsu PC4000-11 excavator.

BluVein charges into mine electrification space

BluVein, armed with its “dynamic charging” philosophy, is pitching a different option to miners looking to electrify their underground operations over the long term.

While battery-electric machines such as light utility vehicles, mobile mining support equipment, and low-to-medium tonnage LHDs and trucks have spread throughout major mining hubs like North America, Europe and Australia, the next step is electrifying the machines with the heaviest duties in the underground mining space.

If the sector settles for battery-electric options in this weight class for uphill haulage scenarios, they will need to leverage bigger batteries, more battery swapping or some additional charging infrastructure to power vehicles up ramp.

Two of the leading mining OEMs in the electrification space are considering all the above.

Sandvik, through its wholly owned Artisan Vehicles subsidiary, is developing a 65 t payload battery-electric haul truck with a bigger battery than its 50-t vehicle (the Z50) that will see quick battery swapping employed on uphill hauls, while Epiroc is weighing the potential of fully-electric operation with a battery and trolley combination in its larger payload class trucks.

BluVein is intent on laying the groundwork for multiple OEMs and mining companies to play in this space without the need to employ battery swapping or acquire larger, heavier batteries customised to cope with the current requirements placed on the heaviest diesel-powered machinery operating in the underground mining sector.

It is doing this through adapting charging technology originally developed by Sweden-based EVIAS for electrified public highways. The application of this technology in mining could see operations employ smaller, lighter battery-electric vehicles that are connected to the mine site grid via its Rail™ and Hammer™ technology and a sophisticated power distribution unit to effectively power electric motors and charge a vehicle’s on-board batteries.

This flexible technology is set for a trial later this year, with the company – a joint venture between EVIAS and Australia-based Olitek – already busy behind the scenes enlisting a number of funding partners to push forward with a collaborative pilot aimed at demonstrating the next generation of trolley assist technology.

With this aim in mind and knowledge of previous trolley projects at underground mines, IM put some questions to BluVein Founder, James Oliver.

IM: What input does Olitek provide within BluVein? Do they produce customised prototype battery-electric machines?

JO: BluVein is a new company formed through a partnership between EVIAS and Olitek. While we are a new venture, unlike traditional start-ups, BluVein is backed by two highly experienced long-standing companies and is seeking to enable the fully-electric mine of today.

The biggest need for electric mining vehicles is in heavy-duty load and haul applications on inclined roads. In this instance, batteries on their own are not up to the task – not even close. Dynamic charging is the game-changing technology that will enable fully-electric heavy-duty load and haul on inclined roads.

In the partnership, Olitek provides the mobile vehicle, robotics, electrical and mining environment expertise to enable BluVein to operate safely and reliably in a mining environment. BluVein is currently working with a number of mining vehicle OEMs to integrate the BluVein system to suit their on-board battery and motor architecture, enabling safe dynamic charging from a standardised slotted rail system.

The joint venture does not produce customised prototype battery-electric vehicles or battery machines, and we are vehicle OEM-agnostic; we are open to working with any battery-electric vehicle manufacturer enabling standardised dynamic charging.

IM: What companies are involved in the collaboration mentioned? What is the aim of this collaboration (timelines, goals, etc)?

JO: Currently we are not able to disclose which mining companies and vehicle OEMs we are working with – it will be revealed in the not-too-distant future. They are, however, a selection of very well-known major companies from Sweden, Canada and Australia. We are open to other like-minded, early adopters to join the BluVein collaboration.

Our aim is to commence building our industry-backed technology demonstration pilot site in Brisbane, Australia, by late 2021 in a simulated underground environment. This will involve a section of BluVein rail and at least one electric vehicle fitted with the BluVein hammer system to demonstrate dynamic charging whilst hauling loaded up an incline.

IM: What are your overhead systems (BluVein Rail) providing that your typical underground trolley systems are not providing? How does the infrastructure required compare with, say, what Vale has in place at Creighton and Coleman in Sudbury for its Kiruna trucks?

JO: Existing trolley assist systems that utilise exposed high voltage conductors cannot be used in many mining jurisdictions globally due to safety concerns and an inability to comply with mining regulations. This is particularly the case in underground mines where clearance above mobile fleets is limited. The BluVein rail system is unique as all high voltage conductors are safely housed within ingress protection (IP) rated slots. This effectively mitigates against risks of accidental contact by mining personnel or the vehicles.

The safe and standardised systems allow for the charging of a vehicle’s batteries whilst simultaneously powering the electric-drive motors. This gives a battery-electric vehicle almost unlimited range and eliminates the requirement for battery swapping, downtime and charge bay infrastructure requirements.

Volvo FMX Electric with BluVein

And BluVein Rail does not need to be installed in all parts of the mine – only in the heavy-duty cycle zones such as mine declines and pit ramps. When tramming/hauling on flat gradients, mining vehicles operate on their own internal batteries. This dramatically reduces the system installation complexity and installation cost. Where the BluVein Rail terminates, the vehicle automatically disconnects and reverts to its on-board batteries for power, without stopping.

Ease of maintenance is one of our focus points for BluVein. The BluVein system is developed to handle typical mining drive terrain conditions so no special maintenance is required to cater for conductor contact relative to the vehicle. Our BluVein Hammer, an all-terrain trolley, takes care of this. This provides the connection between the mobile machinery and the BluVein slotted rail. As the vehicle moves through an inclined underground tunnel or along a pit ramp, the Hammer maintains the electrical connection even over rough road conditions. Operator assist controls, such as smart auto connect and disconnect functionality, are also incorporated.

BluVein is the ‘next generation’ of trolley assist technology with all the benefits and none of the negatives of the old systems.

IM: How long and steep an uphill climb is required, on average, to make the business case work in the favour of BluVein technology over your typical battery-only system? When does the TCO equation tip in favour of your solutions over other trolley systems on the market?

JO: Typical battery systems are super high cost when you consider the full impact of charge bay infrastructure, numerous large operating batteries per vehicle and rapid battery life decay. BluVein, however, has a relatively low capital cost in comparison as it enables smaller, lighter and lower power on-board batteries to be used that never require swapping or static charging.

Therefore, from day one, the TCO for BluVein will likely be favourable compared to typical battery-only systems, regardless of haul length.

IM: Are BluVein Hammer or BluVein Rail already installed at mine sites around the world? What models of machines have they been integrated on?

JO: The underlying technology for the BluVein Rail and Hammer has been developed over the past 11 years with EVIAS for electrified highways. BluVein is the adaptation of this technology specific to the harsh conditions found within mining.

The BluVein system has been designed to suit nearly all current mining battery-electric vehicles so that a single BluVein Rail installed in a mine can power the entire fleet, even if that fleet is comprised of mixed OEM machinery.

A working EVIAS system has been installed in an open highway setting in Sweden, but no mining applications exist at this point. As mentioned, BluVein will have a pilot site underway by the end of 2021.

IM: Given a Volvo TA15 all-electric hauler is pictured on your website, are you also working with open-pit miners on this collaboration?

JO: BluVein is not just suited to underground applications, however, initially that is the focus given the urgency around eradicating diesel emissions and particulate matter and its carcinogenic properties.

BluVein pilot site concept – simulated underground

BluVein has strong application in open-pit mining and in quarry environments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve productivity and costs. The technology can leverage all the same advantages seen underground in open-pit applications. The bonus with underground is we have free infrastructure to hang the rail from.

A number of our partner mining companies are assessing the BluVein system for both surface and underground deployments.

Master Drilling takes stake in mining fleet management specialist AVA Solutions

Master Drilling Group has announced a 40% investment in AVA Solutions, a specialist in data-driven mining fleet management solutions.

Founded in 2015 by Anton Fourie and Jason van der Watt, two engineers with over 25 years of combined mining industry experience, AVA has achieved significant recognition in South Africa by creating a captive market for its disruptive, hardware-agnostic and quick to implement Software as a Service (SaaS) model at much lower costs to other solutions, Master Drilling says. Currently, AVA’s digital platform analyses and tracks more than 1,800 load and haul vehicles across 28 different sites in five countries for a range of major companies including the likes of Anglo American, Exxaro and South32.

Danie Pretorius, Master Drilling CEO, said: “Technological innovation is a key priority for Master Drilling as we continue to support our clients to move down the cost curve, optimise their operations and increase safety. Our investment in AVA is aligned with our strategy to diversify our services and invest in opportunities in our existing target markets with low capital requirements and short return cycles.

“We believe that AVA has great growth potential, and we look forward to supporting them through our existing client base and networks internationally.”

AVA’s solution was shaped by the founders’ knowledge of the mining industry and understanding of the challenges faced in the production environment, according to Master Drilling. “By condensing multiple technology layers into a single interface, AVA ensures that equipment operates at its optimal level of performance with little to no additional capital investment,” it said.

Anton Fourie, Co-Founder and COO of AVA, said: “We have grown exponentially from a start-up five years ago to a recognised player with a proven technology for the mining industry. We have a clear strategy to provide an end-to-end solution that goes beyond the load and haul environment and across the entire mining value chain. Through our partnership with Master Drilling, we are gaining access to extensive experience that will support the ongoing development of our platform and a footprint that will accelerate our international expansion.”

The next developments for AVA’s scalable platform will focus on new elements including scheduling and logistics that will enable mines to not only improve productivity of the load and haul value chain but of the entire mining value chain, according to Master Drilling.

CR Digital extends Titan 3330 load and haul optimisation system to wheel loaders

CR Digital is bringing its Titan 3330 Load Haul Optimisation system for hydraulic excavators and shovels to the wheel loader market.

The Titan 3330 for Wheel Loaders range extension expands the benefits of increased productivity capabilities across a new class of loading machines, the company said.

Built on close to 1,500 Mt of in-field experience and 150-plus deployments, the Titan 3330 Load Haul Optimisation system enhances productivity in mining operations, CR Digital says. By providing truck payload measurements in real time, the Titan 3330 system enables excavator and now wheel loader operators to load trucks more accurately, increasing the average payload per truck without increasing major overloads. Titan 3330 provides optimal circuit efficiency for a mine site’s load haul fleet, the company said.

General Manager at CR Digital, Damian Assaillit, says the range extension was developed through an agile software development methodology, incorporating customer input throughout the product development journey.

Assaillit said: “At CR Digital, we ensure the products we develop provide the highest value to our customers, and so close collaboration in the development process is integral to the way we work. With continual feedback and in-field experience, CR Digital is able to engineer increasingly sophisticated technologies, such as the Titan 3330 for Wheel Loaders, in a manner that delivers optimal value to our customers.”

He added: “The benefits of Titan 3330 for Wheel Loaders don’t stop at increased increasing circuit efficiency and payload optimisation. The Titan 3330 has been engineered to help reduce machine damage, with in-built structural duty monitoring during dig cycles. Combined with our Orion Data Analysis software, the team can help interpret data from your operation to continually identify improvement opportunities.”

With trials of the new system already complete, CR Digital is confident of the improvement and production efficiencies produced by the new Titan 3330 for Wheel Loaders, it said.

Hastings Deering starts APM equipment journey with load and haul

Hastings Deering, a distributor of new, used and rental Caterpillar machinery and services, has launched an Asset Performance Management (APM) solution that, it says, bolsters the company’s strategy of helping customers use Cat equipment more productively.

Hastings Deering Asset Support Supervisor, Kurt Pidgeon, says the new APM solution complements the company’s traditional value proposition.

“Hastings Deering has always been very effective with analysing the reliability and availability of equipment,” he says. “However, customers buy machines for productivity, so we decided to start providing productivity solutions to complement existing traditional reliability analysis that we perform.”

Starting with load and haul machinery and expanding into other operational areas, the APM solution delivers a wide range of reports and recommendations to improve productivity, according to the company.

APM is concerned with how the entire mining circuit is performing as a system, rather than a single facet of an operation, or individual machine, the company says.

“There are many information systems that aim to bolster productivity, but APM is unique in providing insights into how the whole circuit is performing as a system and specific recommendations on how to improve,” Pidgeon explains. “We help customers achieve their maximum sustainable production rate circuit-by-circuit as the mine plan evolves, as opposed to looking at one machine at a time.”

He added: “Analysing machine productivity has been done well for many years. Key performance indicators like truck payload have been a strong area of focus, for example. What if trucks are not the constraining factor on site and it is the load tool instead?

“Using APM, we focus on the broader mining operation so that we can better understand exactly where the improvement opportunities are.”

APM analyses the data from an entire mining operation to provide in-depth insights that lead to productivity and efficiency boosts, according to the company.

For Pidgeon, this means finding areas of improvement that may otherwise go unnoticed.

“Mining clients receive insights from the APM software via a team of specialists here,” he explains. “That leads to productivity improvements and efficiencies gained.”

Hastings Deering will soon expand the APM platform to other disciplines, such as drill and blast, with the aim of supporting the entire value chain of an operation.

“We’re about to start a module for the analysis for drill and blast processes,” Pidgeon says. “Further to this, we are developing analytical tools for each of the processes in mining.

“This will also include wash plant and material handling aspects to properly understand how one part of the value chain affects the performance of another. You need the complete picture to find the weakest link in that whole value chain.”

Remote operations have become critical to sustain mine operations this year in response to the restrictions enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Hastings Deering has developed the APM solution to enable miners to analyse performance remotely when required.

“Remote management of mining is well accepted now,” Pidgeon says. “Working remotely in all facets of productivity monitoring is no different.

“It certainly enables clients to review site operations without having to be there. Mining is an industry where people work and live in different locations. Minimising travel if we can do so is an important thing to do at this time.”

MACA wins three-year contract extension at Ramelius’ Mt Magnet gold mine

Contract miner MACA has been given an extension to its contract at Ramelius Resources’ Mt Magnet gold mine, with the ASX-listed company set to continue providing mining services at the Western Australia operation for another three years.

The project extension will consist of open-pit mining services including drilling and blasting, and loading and hauling, MACA said.

It is expected the project extension will generate approximately A$130 million ($93 million) in revenue for MACA over the three-year term.

MACA says its total work in hand position now stands at a healthy A$2.3 billion.

Mike Sutton, MACA CEO and Managing Director, said: “We are pleased to continue our relationship with Ramelius Resources at Mt Magnet for a further three years. The services we provide at Mt Magnet and Edna May for Ramelius make up an important part of MACA’s work in hand in the gold sector.”