Tag Archives: Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions

Agnico’s Kittilä clocks up full year of autonomous haulage with Sandvik

Agnico Eagle’s automation journey at the Kittilä gold mine in northern Finland has recently seen the operation run a full year of autonomous truck haulage using Sandvik’s AutoMine® system.

The operation has been using the AutoMine automation system for Sandvik loaders in production for several years, but the autonomous truck haulage fleet milestone is more recent.

Kittilä, the largest gold mine in Europe, uses AutoMine on its Toro™ TH663i truck to keep running as long as possible. It is loaded by an autonomous Toro LH621i up to surface dumping.

Jari Kolehmainen, Production Manager at Kittilä Mine, said: “Nowadays our miners can monitor the machines’ operation and autonomous production cycles from the comfort and safety of the control room. The mine’s productivity and safety have increased, and we are excited to see what the future will bring, as we know that there is even more potential to be gained with Sandvik’s cutting-edge technologies.”

Back in February, Agnico said production in the December quarter came in around 6,000 t above forecast thanks, in part, to improved fleet management and an increased usage of automation. It said the operation had been testing autonomous trucks and tele-remote equipment and was targeting to achieve 50% of production drilling and 15% of hauling remotely in 2021.

Rhino raiseborer set for work in Botswana, South Africa

Having been introduced to the southern African market only a year ago, two Rhino 100 ‘plug-and-drill’ raiseborers from Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions are already destined for local mining sites.

One unit will soon be at work in Botswana, while the second will be delivered to a large South Africa mine later this year, according to Saltiel Pule, Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions’ Business Line Manager for Underground Drilling in southern Africa.

“This machine has raised considerable interest in our market, and we fully expect to see five units at work in our region by the end of 2022,” Pule says.

The primary application of the Rhino 100 is for drilling of production slots, but it also makes a valuable contribution in a range of other applications – from ventilation raises and escape routes to ore passes and connections between tunnels, the company said.

“Using conventional drill and blast methods, these vertical or inclined holes can take mines three to six months to complete,” Pule says. “With the Rhino 100, we are talking about durations of less than a week.”

Drilled as relief holes in sub-level open stoping, slot raises provide the necessary void space for blasting, allowing the expansion of blasted rock into the void to improve fragmentation.

Dean Zharare, Sales Engineer for Underground Drilling at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions, says the conventional blasting of slot raises often creates a bottleneck for mines.

“We have encountered situations where mine personnel have to return two or three times to a slot raise before it is ready, due to misfires, for instance,” Zharare said. “This creates a bottleneck in the mining process, reducing the monthly metres achieved.”

The mobility and drilling speed of the Rhino 100 can transform this scenario, he says, with an expectation that monthly metres drilled could improve by 65%. There is even the possibility that one of the units in South Africa will be operated remotely with the operator based on surface while it drills underground stopes.

Drilling holes of 750 mm in diameter, the Rhino 100 boasts penetration rates of about 2 m/h, more than double the rate of conventional methods, Sandvik claims. As important as the speed, Zharare says, is the reliability of the result.

“These larger holes make the blast much more reliable, avoiding any time consuming and dangerous redrilling in the event of a block ‘freezing’ after an unsuccessful blast,” he says.

Underpinning the machine’s mobility is its ability to carry its own components, including rods, cables, hydraulics and the raiseboring head. It is pulled by a specially adapted double-axle John Deere tractor. To optimise the set-up time – which can take as little as 10 minutes – it has outriggers for stability rather than needing a concrete pad to be poured. No roof bolting is required either, as an inclinometer gives the operator the necessary coordinates for a surveyor to confirm before drilling operations begin.

Since the Rhino 100 was launched 2017, it has achieved a strong global footprint, with over 20 units operating worldwide. Australia has seen particularly strong take-up, with one contractor already ordering four machines. Underground expansions at almost a dozen operations around southern Africa present exciting opportunities for the future of the Rhino 100 in this region, Zharare says.

The Rhino is manufactured by TRB-Raise Borers in Finland but is equipped with Sandvik tools and is distributed by Sandvik.

Sandvik reinforces rock tools offering with Tricon Drilling Solutions acquisition

Sandvik has signed an agreement to acquire Tricon Drilling Solutions Pty Ltd, a privately-owned supplier of rock tools for the mining industry, based in Perth, Australia.

Tricon will operate as an independent, standalone business unit within the Rock Tools division of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.

Tricon’s product offering includes rotary bits, DTH (Down-The-Hole) hammers and bits, as well as full rotary and DTH drill strings. The company has 24 employees.

“I am pleased that we continue to deliver on our active acquisition agenda, and I look forward to welcoming Tricon to Sandvik,” Henrik Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said.

Tricon has design capabilities for rotary bits in-house but outsources manufacturing, with Sandvik being one of its rotary bit suppliers. Drill string products are produced in Tricon’s own facility.

The acquisition is expected to close in the September quarter of 2021, subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

Sandvik ‘streamlines’ logistics process in Western Australia

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions looks set to provide Australian customers with a more efficient service after announcing the establishment of a new “state-of-the-art warehouse” in Perth, Western Australia.

The long-term lease for the purpose-built warehouse will help consolidate Sandvik’s Perth operations, with the new facility, to be completed in September, located at Roe Highway Logistics park, alongside a purpose-built workshop that is set to become fully operational early next  year.

Relocating both warehousing and workshop operations to Roe Highway Logistics Park will streamline Sandvik’s logistics process and allow it to better service Western Australia customers, the company said.

The warehouse will span 10,500 sq.m with an additional 3,500 sq.m of covered outdoor storage, supporting all-weather operations and better product protection.

According to Niels Reuvers, Sandvik Logistics Operations Manager in APAC, the purpose-built design of the new warehouse will result in numerous operational efficiencies, as well as an opportunity to further sustainability initiatives and ensure ongoing compliance with recently obtained Australian Trusted Trader accreditation.

“We are aiming to streamline our operations through just-in-time delivery, faster in-bound processing and a higher level of dispatch accuracy due to warehouse automation,” Reuvers said. “In addition, we are introducing new battery technology for the site and our materials handling system to make better use of the solar power we will be generating.”

Proximity to Perth Airport and transport providers, along with access to major arterial roads and proximity to customers, are among the factors that have attracted Sandvik to the Roe Highway Logistics Park.

Kate Bills, Sustainable Business, Marketing & Communications Manager at Sandvik in APAC, says Sandvik is committed to working towards achieving its long-term sustainability goals for 2030, with the purpose-built warehouse incorporating numerous sustainability features.

“We’re aiming to halve our C02 footprint by 2030, so the new warehouse incorporates state-of-the-art design elements to help us achieve this such as solar panels, green concrete and the use of low carbon building materials,” she said.

The site will also include best practice water management, energy efficient lighting, natural ventilation, and rainwater harvesting.

“For Sandvik, as an engineering company with a strong base in research and development, sustainability is a major business opportunity,” Bills said. “When we develop more efficient, safer, and more environmentally sound solutions, we take an important step alongside our customers and suppliers towards a more sustainable future.”

She added: “We’re excited to position ourselves at the Roe Highway Logistics Park, which will achieve carbon neutrality on development, making it Perth’s leading sustainable industrial estate.”

Sandvik delivers 100th automated loader in APAC region

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it has delivered its 100th loader connected to the AutoMine® platform in the Asia Pacific region.

A Sandvik LH621i loader was delivered to Byrnecut Australia in March, making it Sandvik’s 100th automated load and haul unit to be delivered in APAC.

Sandvik has 30 AutoMine systems installed across Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, with customers including Barminco, OceanaGold, Redpath, and Byrnecut, who now have 11 sites in Australia connected to AutoMine. The first AutoMine system in the region was delivered and commissioned in 2008 for Mount Isa Copper Operations, now owned by Glencore.

AutoMine is Sandvik’s automation system for autonomous and tele-remote operation for a wide range of Sandvik and non-Sandvik underground and surface equipment. It provides a safe and controlled process to increase mine productivity and profitability, as well as protect operators and other mine personnel in underground and surface operations.

AutoMine can be scaled from tele-remote or autonomous operation of a single machine to multi-machine control and full fleet automation with automatic mission and traffic control capability. Operators can simultaneously control or monitor multiple machines from the comfort and safety of a remote control room, Sandvik says.

Sandvik recently demonstrated this capability with the successful trial remote operation of a LH621i loader at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine in South Australia. The LH621i was successfully operated from the Remote Operating Centre in OZ Mineral’s Adelaide office, taking OZ Minerals a step closer to realising its goal of remote operations from home.

“The digitalisation field has developed significantly over the years and we have adapted to meet the industry needs along the way,” Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions Technical Support Manager – Mine Automation, Ty Osborne, said.

“We have seen our customers change their mindset from ‘this technology is nice but won’t work in our mine’, to, ‘what do have to do to make this work in our mine?’. Our customers are now seeing the value of including digitalisation in their mine planning and recognise the tangible benefits an automated fleet can bring to their operation.”

Exyn and Sandvik OptiMine auto drone integration tested at Rupert Resources project

Exyn Technologies has announced the expansion of its strategic partnership with Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions to integrate its data into Sandvik’s analytics and process optimisation suite, OptiMine®.

By synthesising critical data and capabilities, Exyn and Sandvik are helping mining customers transform their underground operations to be safer, more productive and more efficient, the companies say.

Back in July, the two companies signed an agreement to work together “to provide efficient solutions for mapping and visioning underground mines, which will make a substantial difference when it comes to mine locations that are hazardous, hard to reach or conventionally time-consuming to survey and inspect”.

In the latest release, the two said: “Using Exyn’s industrial-grade autonomous drone, ExynAero, mining companies can harness completely pilotless flight to access impossible-to-reach data with maximum safety. The data collected is processed using Exyn’s on-board 3D mapping technology – powered by ExynAI – which is then integrated with Sandvik’s OptiMine Mine Visualizer solution for analysis and optimisation of underground mining production and process.”

The partnership allows mining customers to benefit from comprehensive underground aerial 3D mapping with progressive visualisation that increases overall transparency of mining operations – including for GPS-denied, hard-to-reach, or hazardous areas, or locations that would be time-consuming to survey and inspect using conventional methods, according to the companies.

Exyn and Sandvik deployed this integrated solution at gold exploration and development company Rupert Resources’ Pahtavaara project in Finland, using the ExynAero drone to autonomously create a 3D point cloud of an underground stope. This 3D data was then uploaded to Sandvik’s OptiMine Mine Visualizer and georeferenced to the CAD mine model for further analysis and visualisation.

David Hallett, Vice President, Business Unit Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “This step in our partnership with Exyn is critical. Our teams have been working closely together to ensure the connection between Exyn and Sandvik’s systems would be seamless and easy for operators to use. When this feature gets rolled out to the market as part of OptiMine, it will allow our customers to analyse Exyn’s high-resolution, aerial maps in OptiMine.

“After this demonstration, we look forward to further developing our partnership and integrating our hardware and software systems in the coming months.”

Nader Elm, CEO and Co-Founder of Exyn Technologies, added: “We’re very proud to expand our partnership with Sandvik and to deliver the key benefits of safety and operational efficiency to all the humans involved in the mining industry.

“By offering world-class software and technology, we have given customers the ability to map areas underground they could never before reach. Our end goal is to be an integral part of fully autonomous mining operations and I’m confident that through our partnership with Sandvik, we’re one step closer.”

Exyn and Sandvik have more product integrations in the plans, they said.

Sandvik releases ‘totally new’ Toro LH410 underground loader

Sandvik says it is getting ready for an eventful loader and truck year in 2021, both in terms of launching new equipment and introducing upgraded versions of existing models, with the first such release being the “totally renewed” 10-t-payload Toro™ LH410 underground LHD.

The new Toro LH410 loader builds on the best parts of its predecessor, the Sandvik LH410. However, following the footmarks set by Sandvik’s large intelligent loaders, the now introduced Toro LH410 is full of new features, making it, in practice, a totally new machine, Sandvik says.

The Toro LH410 offers best-in-class performance in productivity, for example, by means of high ramp speeds and fast bucket filling. To make truck loading easy, it features superior lift height compared with any other loader of the same size class, Sandvik says. The renewed loader also features Sandvik Intelligent Control System, with a 7 in touch screen display as a user interface, enabling multiple new options to tailor each loader according to customer needs.

Kimmo Ulvelin, Product Line Manager Small and Low Profile Loaders at Sandvik, said: “With all its features, this truly is an advanced and intelligent piece of equipment, definitely comparable to the large i-series loaders – but naturally in a smaller package.

“We want to offer our customers possibilities for sophisticated and intelligent equipment also in the middle size class; and therefore Toro LH410 has the same Sandvik Intelligent Control System as the large Toro LH517i and Toro LH621i loaders, with the available traction control, operator speed assist and integrated weighing system, to name a few. Also, Toro LH410 is fully compatible with AutoMine® solutions. From new features specifically relating to safety, we could mention eg a new retrieval hook, updated door interlock, improved access ways and new type of fire suppression system options.”

The engine range of the Toro LH410 loader includes multiple different diesel engines, starting from a powerful and fuel-efficient Tier II and ending up with the Stage V engine option. The Stage V engine uses passive DPF regeneration taking place during normal operation, minimising downtime. Its modulating engine brake provides better control of vehicle speed downhill while also minimising brake and transmission overheating and brake wear, Sandvik said.

During 2021, new product launches and upgrades are expected to be released to further strengthen the Toro family.

Sandvik equipment starts to arrive for OceanaGold’s Macraes expansion

OceanaGold Corp has received the first of three new Sandvik machines at its Macraes gold mining operation on the South Island of New Zealand.

The company has taken delivery of a 17-t payload Sandvik LH517i underground loader (pictured), Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions confirmed.

A Sandvik TH551i truck and DD421 development drill will also be delivered this year as Macraes prepares to extend its mine life to 2028, the mining OEM said.

The LH517i is a matching pair with the Sandvik TH551i truck. It features the Sandvik Intelligent Control System and My Sandvik Digital Services Knowledge Box™ on-board hardware as standard.

In December, OceanaGold received approval to extend the mine life of the Macraes operation to 2028. This is expected to involve the development of the Golden Point Underground Mine, the Deepdell North Stage III open-pit extension, and the Frasers West expansion.

These projects are forecasted to produce 1.1 Moz of gold over an eight-year mine life, with open-pit and underground operations expected to produce, on average, 150,000-170,000 oz/y of gold.

Sandvik’s Scrivens heads back to Australia to reinforce APAC sales team

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ Asia-Pacific region has further strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of Wayne Scrivens as Vice President, Sales Area APAC.

An experienced mining-sector leader, Scrivens has held the role of Sandvik Vice President for Load & Haul product line for four years, based in Turku, southern Finland. During this time, the Load & Haul division developed the iSeries intelligent trucks and loaders, acquired Artisan Vehicle Systems and introduced Sandvik’s first battery electric loaders and trucks.

“In his 18 years with Sandvik, Scrivens has also held various roles within the company’s underground coal and hard-rock business, as well as in Parts & Service,” the company said. He will start in his new role in Brisbane, Queensland, on April 1, 2021, after returning home to Australia.

Sandvik President for Parts & Service, Erik Lunden, said: “Wayne has extensive leadership skills, a track record of proven performance and a strong commitment to safety and sustainability. He has the capabilities needed to ensure Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions in APAC is positioned for continued growth and future development. I also very much look forward to seeing the difference he is able to make in helping customers solve challenges and become more productive.”

Scrivens (pictured) says he is excited to be heading back to the APAC region: “I’m delighted to be returning to Australia to take on this new role after spending four years working with Sandvik in Europe. My core focus in APAC will be on supporting customers across the region, while also strengthening our focus on automation, electrification and digitalisation, and the value these solutions can deliver to our customer’s operations.”

He added: “Sandvik has recently placed a high level of focus around developing sustainable business goals related to circularity, climate change, safety, and fair play. The idea is that a sustainable approach can open the way for new ways of working that will drive efficiency and productivity. This, in turn, opens up new markets, helps support our customers and helps us sustain long-term growth.”

Chris Parham will remain in the Acting Sales Area Manager role until Scrivens takes up his new position.

Sandvik’s McCoy on ‘getting the basics right’ in digital transformation projects

The application of digital tools is key to continuously improving efficiencies in underground mines, Niel McCoy, Business Line Manager for Automation and Digitalisation at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, says.

McCoy says the choice of digital tools needs to be based on each operation’s key performance indicators (KPIs). This is because the solutions that are implemented will be focused on monitoring and managing those KPIs. He then recommends a phased approach to introducing digital tools to an operation.

“The starting point is always machine telemetry and basic production or productivity reporting,” he says. “From there, the solutions can be expanded.”

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has extensive experience in designing and implementing digital tools, including equipment health monitoring and process management. Its AutoMine® automation offering operates on 59 mining sites globally, while its OptiMine® suite of digital solutions is active on 66 connected sites. The ‘My Sandvik’ customer portal, a web-based digital hub, serves 214 sites and its Newtrax technology in wireless IoT connectivity is operating on 115 sites.

“Monitoring equipment health through My Sandvik Digital Services Solutions allows users to draw down telemetry data from their equipment in real time,” he says. “The data is automatically compiled into the required report format for quick analysis and response.”

The next aspect to be addressed is the actual management of the process being monitored, he says. This is where Sandvik’s Task Management and Scheduler – part of its Optimine suite of digital solutions – can be applied.

“This allows a tablet to be fitted to an item of equipment so that an underground operator can accept tasks and provide real-time progress reports on those tasks,” he says. “The more advanced the equipment, the more data can be extracted and communicated automatically without operator intervention.”

The solutions allow for data to be recorded on equipment’s key operations – such as the weight of loads in a loader bucket. Telemetry on the equipment gives valuable insight into the equipment’s availability and performance so management can respond.

“When starting digital journeys, the focus must be on improving current operations,” McCoy says. “This means getting work started on time, for instance, before moving onto optimisation efforts. Most digital implementations will battle if the starting point is trying to increase productivity before getting the basics right.”