Mining contractor Byrnecut has chosen Sandvik to supply automated loaders, underground drills and rock tools as it gears up to deliver underground mining services at the Kathleen Valley lithium project in Western Australia.
Sandvik will supply Byrnecut with seven 21-t-payload Toro™ LH621i loaders with AutoMine®, three Sandvik DD422i development drills with Dual Controls and a Sandvik DS422i cable bolter. The equipment order was primarily booked in the September quarter.
Sandvik will also supply Byrnecut with rock tools for the operation over four years.
The deal follows Liontown Resources awarding Byrnecut with the circa-A$1 billion ($656 million) contract for development and production at the mine in August 2023.
The Kathleen Valley lithium project in Western Australia’s northern Goldfields region is one of the most significant new long-life lithium projects anywhere in the world, owner Liontown Resources says, with a mineral resource estimate of 156 Mt at 1.4% Li2O and 130 ppm Ta2O5. The operations have been optimised for an initial 3 Mt/y, producing approximately 500,000 t/y of spodumene concentrate with a 4 Mt/y expansion planned in Year 6, to deliver approximately 700,000 t/y of spodumene concentrate.
Byrnecut is investing A$125 million in new equipment for the project, with mobilisation having already commenced and first production is targeted for mid-2024.
Wayne Scrivens, Vice President, Sales Area Australia and New Zealand, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “Byrnecut and Sandvik have a long history of collaboration on projects across the country and we’re delighted that Byrnecut is once again investing significantly in Sandvik equipment and rock tools for this major project. This deal highlights the growing understanding across the Australian mining sector that Sandvik’s advanced solutions help mines run safer, more efficiently and more sustainably.”
Sandvik’s Toro LH621i underground loaders (one pictured above) are engineered for rapid mine development and large-scale underground production, according to the OEM. Smart boom geometry optimises hydraulic power for fast bucket filling and the handling of large rocks.
Under AutoMine Multi-Lite an operator can remotely control and simultaneously supervise multiple Toro LH621i loaders from a comfortable environment, reducing exposure to dust, noise, vibrations and other mine hazards. This creates a safer work environment for both the operator and mine personnel, Sandvik says.
When used in combination with Sandvik’s Dual Controls package, Sandvik DD422i face drills can be used for a wide variety of underground applications, including boring, bolting and meshing. The package improves drill optimisation, versatility and performance and was designed to address needs identified by mining contractors.
Sandvik will also provide Byrnecut premium rock tools as well as a range of added services and digital solutions to support its drilling operations. The deal will also include carbide recycling, with Sandvik’s Carbide Recycling Program helping both the OEM and the wider industry to meet circularity goals and ensure raw materials are used efficiently and sustainably.