Tag Archives: Sandvik

Sandvik to automate new LHD fleet at Codelco’s El Teniente copper mine

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it will deliver its AutoMine® Fleet system to automate a new fleet of Sandvik LHDs running at Codelco’s Pacifico Superior and Pilar Norte GTI operations, part of the El Teniente underground mine in Chile.

This partnership, Sandvik says, supports Codelco’s vision to create one of the most sophisticated mines in the world.

AutoMine Fleet is a highly advanced automation system for a fleet of Sandvik underground loaders and trucks sharing the same automated production area. It provides automatic mission control and automatic traffic management for the equipment fleet, while system operators remotely supervise the process.

The system will enable Codelco to operate its new fleet of Sandvik LH517i 17 t and Sandvik LH621i 21 t loaders autonomously at the El Teniente mine, one of the world’s largest underground copper mines. The project implementation started in December and is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

Codelco’s objective is to dramatically increase the productivity, safety and efficiency of its operations with AutoMine, and this project is a continuation of Codelco’s 10-year strategic program to prolong the life of its existing mines, Sandvik says.

The two companies started their automation journey together at El Teniente with the first-ever AutoMine Loading system installation in 2004. The AutoMine system is already in operation at Diablo Regimiento and Panel 2, the other two blocks of the El Teniente mine.

Juan Mariscal, Senior Business Manager, Codelco, said: “Being able to use mining automation technology that is well proven, as well as working with a supplier that understands our needs and is capable of adapting to our operating philosophy, are key drivers for Codelco’s operations. That is why we have chosen our long-term partner Sandvik to go on this journey with us. Above all, Sandvik’s enhanced local presence and expertise will ensure successful implementation of these projects and strong support.”

Codelco is the number one copper producer in the world and is owned by the state of Chile. It controls about 19% of the world’s copper reserves and is also the second-biggest producer of molybdenum worldwide.

Riku Pulli, President, Rock Drills and Technologies Division, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “We are proud to continue supporting Codelco on its automation and digitalisation journey at El Teniente mine, making its operations smarter, safer, more productive and sustainable through digitalisation.”

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.

Artisan battery-powered Z50 truck on its way to Kirkland Lake’s Macassa gold mine

Kirkland Lake Gold says it is expecting to receive a 50 t battery-powered Z50 underground haul truck at its Macassa gold mine, in Ontario, Canada, this quarter, following a purchase agreement signed last year.

The gold miner’s Macassa operation has been a leading adopter of new electric equipment and already has four 40 t battery-powered machines at the underground mine. These are matched by many battery-powered LHDs made by likes of Artisan Vehicle Systems and Epiroc.

The latest 50 t vehicle will come from Artisan, a Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions business unit.

The Z50 haul truck is a ground-up design that seamlessly integrates the most capable and proven battery-electric powertrain available in the mining industry with the latest and most coveted features of any haul truck on the market today, according to Sandvik. The 50 t machine is based off the existing design for the Z40 truck, which Artisan released back in 2018, but features a stretched rear frame (close to 19 in).

It is equipped with AutoSwap, a patented self-swapping system for the Artisan battery pack. This makes battery swapping faster and easier with a minimum amount of manual handling: changing the battery only takes about six minutes, and it can be done in a passing bay or old re-muck bay with no overhead cranes or external infrastructure needed, Sandvik says.

The news of the pending arrival of this electric vehicle came at the same time as Kirkland Lake released its 2020 production results. The company produced 369,434 oz of gold in the December quarter to make a total of 1.37 Moz of gold in 2020, 41% higher than the total in 2019, which was in line with its full-year 2020 guidance of 1.35-1.4 Moz.

Autonomous drilling transition sets IAMGOLD’s Essakane up for longer mine life

The roots of IAMGOLD’s automation ambitions at the Côté gold project in Ontario, Canada, can be traced back to remote and auto drilling developments at its 90%-owned Essakane mine in Burkina Faso, which, according to a recent presentation from Zhi Jun Zhu, has resulted in significant operational benefits.

IAMGOLD launched the first automated drill rig in West Africa with assistance from Epiroc back in February at Essakane. This followed a series of automation steps carried out on the company’s fleet of Epiroc PV235 blasthole drills, beginning with the ‘Operator Assist’ phase back in 2016.

Added to the seven PV235 blasthole drills on site are five Sandvik D45KSs. These drills are working in medium-to-hard material of 100-250 Mpa rock where they drill 229 mm and 152 mm diameter holes on 10 m benches. They come with a single pass limit of up to 12.2 m in down-the-hole drilling mode.

The business case for adopting automation at the site, which began operating in 2010 and was expanded in 2013 to reach a mining capacity of 55 Mt/y, was centred around a capex versus opex dynamic – should the company purchase a new rig to increase drilling performance by 15%, or try to increase the use of automation on its existing seven PV235s to hit this goal?

Alongside this, the company wanted to provide its best drillers with the ability to operate multiple rigs simultaneously, enhance operational safety, support continued sustainability, and improve performance and productivity.

Zhu, who worked at Essakane as Technical Services Coordinator for five years prior to his current role as Autonomous Systems Engineer at Côté, explained during the recent GMG-led Autonomous Drills Virtual Forum: “During the start-up of the mine, the required fragmentation size was difficult to achieve because the ore was coming from the soft area where it was highly weathered and fractured. As the mine depth increased, the material got harder. As a result, the blasting fragmentation became harder to achieve. At the same time as the percentage of hard material increased, productivity of the crusher became a concern and bottleneck.”

With the last life of mine study in 2018 showing a required increase in the total material mined to keep up an average gold production rate of 400,000 oz/y – and the requirement to strip hard material from phase four, five, six and seven to reach a new ore zone from 2026 – the company needed to embed a suitable level of blasthole drill automation in advance of another expansion in the mine life.

Prior to 2016, Essakane required two people to operate a PV235 – one to guide the machine to the desired location and another to operate it.

This was neither safe or efficient, Zhu said, adding that hole deviation and sub-optimal fragmentation were also common with this setup.

Breaking down the project key performance indicators after the initial ramp up of remote and autonomous operation, Zhu said the company was looking for:

  • An improved drilling penetration rate of 15%:
    • 23 m/operating hour (propel + setup + drill); and
    • 28 m/drilling hour.
  • Improved drilling productivity from 63% to 75%:
    • Eliminate stoppage delays associated with lunch and shift change;
    • Lean drilling, less propel/tram and setup/positioning time.
  • Increased drilling capacity from 81,714 to 108,800 drilling meters/rig/year.

Having progressed from the ‘Rig Operator Assist’ mode in 2016, which used Epiroc’s Rig Control System, Surface Manager, Auto Level, first generation AutoDrill module, and Hole Navigation; the company has progressed to the ‘Rig Remote Operation’ phase where (Multi) Remote and AutoDrill generation two functions are employed.

This second-generation system represents a “big advance”, Zhu said.

“The system is very smart and could continuously optimise the engagement to deliver the desired result,” he said. “The only manual input required is the ‘aggressiveness’ setting, which balances the bit life with the penetration rate.”

This led to the launch of its first fully automated drill rig on February 8.

While the project is on course to hit all the above-mentioned KPIs, there have been other benefits including an operating hours improvement of 645 hours/year/rig; a 14,835 m/year/rig drilling metres gain; a $356,040/rig incremental annual production benefit; and a net cost saving of $202,794/rig compared with the equivalent rental equipment drilling cost.

All of these add to fewer people being in dangerous areas on the mine site – with all operators in remote operating centres – more consistent operation from a fuels/lubricants and drilling consumables perspective and, of course, less maintenance.

Reflecting on the implementation, Zhu noted several key required inputs for a successful automation implementation program.

“It is a critical requirement to have a reliable network connection between the on-board device and the remote operations office,” he said.

On top of this, the sensors on the machines need to be kept in top shape, meaning maintenance teams should evaluate their health on a regular basis and always keep spare parts available.

And, while fewer people will be needed to oversee drilling in autonomous mode, the skills level of the required personnel will be that much greater.

Some of the next steps at Essakane include improving the bandwidth and latency time for real-time control of multi-automated drills, developing a preventive maintenance system checklist, and carrying out a business case study on upgrading four PV235s to either Teleremote/AutoDrill 2 operation.

Zhu will no doubt bring these learnings and opportunities to the Côté gold development in Canada, which is expected to operate six blasthole drills in fully autonomous mode when ramped up, alongside more than 20 fully automated haul trucks. These will help the mine reach an average production rate of 367,000 oz/y of gold.

Sandvik advances narrow-vein drilling options with new DD212 rig

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has introduced a new compact and intelligent single-boom electro-hydraulic drill for tunneling and mining development in narrow-vein drifts.

The Sandvik DD212 is an upgrade of the Sandvik DD210 development drill rig, and is designed for narrow-vein operations. It delivers both high level productivity and low cost of ownership, the mining OEM says.

Based on factory and field tests, the Sandvik DD212 delivers an up to 20% reduction in boom positioning time per face and a circa-15% improvement in drill penetration rate. Its 3% improved pull out ratio, meanwhile, can result in an up to 10 cm greater advance per face when compared with similar equipment.

The machine reached 93% mechanical availability during its mine site test period, accumulating 300 hours of percussion drilling within two-and-a-half months of operation.

“The drill provides great performance with net penetration rate, drill quality and rock tools improvements with zero drill rods jammed during the test period,” Sandvik added.

Among the new features are a drilling control system, the THC562, which provides torque control and reaming hole selection. This enables the DD212 to provide increased drilling performance, while reducing the wear on both the rock drill and rock tools.

The SB20i intelligent boom is used for accurate hole electronic positioning, which enables the precise and fast navigation of drill feed and tool, with automatic parallelism and instrumentation for hole angle measurements, Sandvik says. The boom offers a large face drill coverage from 6-25 m² thanks to the 1 m boom extension and the two narrow-vein type rotation actuators.

The development drill has an extended, 12 ft (3.7 m) TF feed rod, which optimises the advance/round, while its RDX5 rock drill provides a fast drilling cycle time and low operating costs.

The specific compact and versatile CFX telescopic feed, meanwhile, can retract from 12 ft to 6 ft (1.8 m), enhancing multipurpose operation in small tunnel sizes of 2.5 m x 2.5 m to 3.5 m x 3.5 m.

“The DD212 delivers accurate face drilling, cross cutting and bolting and enables mines to open smaller tunnel sections, reducing overbreak, dilution and drilling costs,” Sandvik says.

The company added: “The new DD212 brings operational safety and versatility for tackling different applications, precise electronic positioning, ergonomic operator interface and data monitoring, all leading to a superior pull-out ratio and reduced tool consumption, ensuring that the new DD212 delivers the best fit in narrow-vein drilling.”

Capital builds up mining fleet for Sukari gold mine work

Capital is well on the way to securing a suitable fleet to carry out the open-pit waste mining contract at Centamin’s Sukari gold mine, with additional trucks recently arriving in Egypt and payments “significantly progressed” for all major long lead equipment required to service the operation.

Equity proceeds from the recent $40 million share placing were received in late December 2020, facilitating these further payments, according to Capital.

The 120 Mt open-pit waste mining contract at Sukari will see Capital provide load and haul and ancillary services over a period of four years. At the same time, the existing drilling contract at Sukari has been extended to December 31, 2024, (from September 30, 2023) and expanded by nine additional blasthole rigs, bringing the rigs operating at Sukari to 24 in total.

Included in the long lead items are 17 Cat 785 dump trucks, seven blasthole drill rigs, three excavators, and all major ancillary support equipment including dozers, graders and water trucks. Capital said additional trucks had recently arrived in Egypt, supplementing the initial truck fleet that arrived during the December quarter of 2020.

Capital also said it has made substantial progress on several of the debt facilities contemplated in the capital raising prospectus related to the Sukari contract including:

  • Executing the $2.6 million vendor finance agreement with Epiroc with full draw down against the purchase of three new blasthole rigs;
  • Fully drawing down on the remaining tranches of the $10 million Macquarie facility following finalisation of the Sukari contracts and security registration in Egypt; and
  • The committed and available vendor finance facility with Sandvik for $8.5 million is expected to be used over the course of the March quarter against the purchase of four new blasthole rigs.

Jamie Boyton, Capital Executive Chairman, said it was pleasing to note that site activity was progressing well with the continued expansion of its extensive on-site facilities, “further asset arrivals and the recruitment of key personnel to prepare for the commencement of preliminary mining activity in late Q1 (March quarter) as planned”.

Sandvik reinforces underground mining safety focus with DSI Underground buy

Sandvik has signed an agreement to acquire DSI Underground, a global leader in ground support and reinforcement products, systems and solutions for the underground mining and tunneling industries, from owner Triton.

The OEM has agreed a purchase price of approximately €943 million ($1.15 million) on a cash and debt free basis, it said, adding that the company will be reported in the Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions division.

Stefan Widing, President and CEO of Sandvik, said: “This acquisition is an important step in our growth ambition. DSI Underground’s track record of driving progress and safety in underground operations and its global reach will further strengthen our world-leading market position within mining and rock solutions.”

DSI Underground is present in 70 countries, with 22 production units situated close to end customers, according to Sandvik. The product offering includes bolting systems, injection chemicals and resin capsules.

Henrik Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, added: “With the world’s most extensive choice of ground support products and systems, DSI Underground’s offering is highly complementary and enables us to deliver greater value and safety to our customers. The deal gives DSI Underground access to Sandvik’s substantial R&D, global service and sales network, complements our growing aftermarket business and strengthens our leadership in underground mining and tunnelling.”

Michael Reich, CEO DSI Underground, said: “With our knowledge of ground support technologies, we can add a valuable and complementary offering to Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions. On the other hand, we will benefit from the knowledge of the new group and Sandvik’s global customer network.”

DSI Underground has around 2,000 employees, with revenue for 2020 expected to be about €518 million ($631 million, excluding the four joint ventures that are part of the acquisition). The purchase price is approximately €943 million on a cash and debt free basis.

The transaction is expected to close by mid-2021 and is subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

ABB ready to demonstrate electrical and automation advances at SUM project

ABB electrification and automation knowledge and solutions are being employed at LKAB’s Sustainable Underground Mining (SUM) project, as the project partners strive towards demonstrating the possibility of developing a mine with zero carbon dioxide emissions and relative productivity increases of 50%.

The company has provided electrification, connected control and operations management systems, high-visualisation and mobile operator workplaces as part of this project, which also involves Combitech, Epiroc and Sandvik. It is now looking to connect electrical and automation systems that have so far been developed and leverage these in a demonstration workshop as part of the project’s next phase.

Devised by LKAB, the SUM project has the goal of setting a new world standard for sustainable mining at great depths. The framework outlines ambitions for zero carbon dioxide emissions, completely safe mines for humans, productivity increases of 50% and deeper mining.

ABB will continue to contribute its deep knowledge in electrification, automation and workplaces together with other suppliers to the mining industry, it said.

Test work in LKAB’s Kiruna mine, northern Sweden, as well as a virtual test mine will study the best way to build a carbon dioxide free and autonomous production system.

“Within the mine, the Konsuln orebody is used to demonstrate future workplaces in a decentralised environment with efficient use of an autonomous electrical mobile transport system in a mixed environment,” ABB said. “Real-time process information is available to all organisations involved. When combined with the wider efforts of the SUM partnership, this shows a way of bringing completely new technology solutions to market for safer, more sustainable and more efficient mining production processes.”

Jan Nyqvist, Global Product Manager for Underground Mining Automation at ABB, and one of the leaders in the project, said: “We are taking significant strides towards a vision of the future operator environment through smarter working and demonstrable results. Electrification and automation are two important factors for the mining industry to continue its rapid, but effective, modernisation. Sharing of information and data is crucial to reach substantial end goals.”

He added: “It is becoming increasingly common for suppliers to create dedicated collaboration groups to reach the best possible solutions for their customers. Collective successes and progress and the meeting of key targets for SUM, are initial evidence of the mutual benefits of collaboration.”

ABB has a relatively large team committing time to the project, with experts in digitalisation and research, as well as electrification and automation.

“ABB is integral to the next step, which is to build a demonstration workshop to connect electrical and automation systems that have so far been developed for this challenging project,” Nyqvist said. “We will, through various developed scenarios, be able to show how the systems work together.”

By 2022, the ABB electrification and automation solutions will be fully installed, and the aim is that a new standard for mining production will be displayed at the project by 2030.

AngloGold Ashanti confirms caving plans in Colombia

The Massmin 2020 crowd got a glimpse of just what will be required to build Colombia’s first underground caving mine during a presentation from AngloGold Ashanti’s Lammie Nienaber this week.

Nienaber, Manager of Geotechnical Engineering for the miner and the presenter of the ‘Building Colombia’s first caving mine’ paper authored by himself, AngloGold Ashanti Australia’s A McCaule and Caveman Consulting’s G Dunstan, went into some detail about how the company would extract the circa-8.7 Moz of gold equivalent from the deposit.

The Nuevo Chaquiro deposit is part of the Minera de Cobre Quebradona (MCQ) project, which is in the southwest of Antioquia, Colombia, around 104 km southwest of Medellin.

A feasibility study on MCQ is expected soon, but the 2019 prefeasibility study outlined a circa-$1 billion sublevel caving (SLC) project able to generate an internal rate of return of 15%. Using the SLC mining method, a production rate of 6.2 Mt/y was estimated, with a forecast life of mine of 23 years.

The MCQ deposit is a large, blind copper-gold-silver porphyry-style deposit with a ground surface elevation of 2,200 metres above sea level (masl, on mountain) and around 400 m of caprock above the economic mineralisation.

Due to the caving constraints of the deposit, the first production level to initiate caving (undercut) is expected to be located around 100 m below the top of the mineralisation at 1,675 masl (circa-525 m below the top of the mountain), with the mining block extended around 550 m in depth (20 production levels at 27.5 m interlevel spacings).

The main ore transfer horizon is located 75 m higher in elevation than the mine access portals at 1,080 masl and the proposed valley infrastructure. The initial mining block will be accessed by twin tunnels developed in parallel for 2 km at which point a single access ramp will branch up towards the undercut; the twin tunnels will continue another 3.7 km to the base of the SLC where the crushing and conveying facilities will be located.

The company is currently weighing up whether to use tunnel boring machines or drill and blast to establish these tunnels.

Nienaber confirmed the 20 level SLC panel cave layout would involve 161 km of lateral development and 14 km of vertical development. There would be six ore pass connections on each level, four of these being ‘primary’ and two acting as backups. The crusher would be located on the 1155 bottom production level.

Due to the ventilation requirements in Colombia the mining fleet selected for Quebradona is predominantly electric, Nienaber said, adding that the units will initially be electric cable loaders powered by 1,000 v infrastructure.

Fourteen tonne LHDs were selected for the production levels based on their speed, bucket size (enables side-to-side loading in the crosscut and identification of oversize material) and cable length, the authors said. On the transfer level, 25 t loaders were specified to accommodate the shorter tramming lengths and limited operating areas (there are a maximum of two loaders per side of the crusher due to the layout).

As battery technology improves in the coming years, the selection of loader sizes may change as additional options become available, according to the authors.

The selection of the present Sandvik fleet was predominantly based on the electric loaders and the OEM’s ability to provide other front-line development and production machines required to undertake SLC mining, the authors said.

This decision also accounted for the use of automation for the majority of production activities, with the use of a common platform seen as the most pragmatic option at this stage.

It has also been proposed that the maintenance of the machines be carried out by Sandvik under a maintenance and repair style contract since there is a heavy reliance on the OEM’s equipment and systems.

An integrated materials handling system for the SLC was designed from the ore pass grizzlies, located on the production levels, to the process plant.

Due to the length of the ore passes (up to 500 m), and the predicted comminution expected by the time the rock appears on the transfer level, larger than industry standard grizzly apertures of 1,500 mm have been selected.

The design criteria for the underground crusher was that it needed to reduce the ore to a size suitable for placement on the conveyor belt and delivery to the surface coarse ore stockpile, after which secondary crushing prior to delivery at the process plant will be undertaken.

Assuming the maximum size reduction ratio for the crusher of circa-6:1 at a throughput rate of 6.2 Mt/y, a 51 in (1,295 mm) gyratory crusher was selected. This crusher is also suitable to support block cave mining should the conversion of mining method occur, according to the authors.

The process plant will include high pressure grinding rolls as the main crushing unit on the surface, supported by a secondary crusher to deal with oversize material. The ore then feeds to a ball mill before being discharged to the flotation circuit.

The gold-enriched copper concentrate will be piped to the filter plant for drying and the removal of water down to a moisture content of 10%, according to the company, while the tailings will be segregated to pyrite and non-pyrite streams before being distributed to one of two filter presses.

Dry stacking of the tailings will be used, with the pyrite-bearing tailings being encapsulated within the larger inert tailings footprint.

With the feasibility study due before the end of the year – and, pending a successful outcome – the proposed site execution works could start in the September quarter of 2021, Nienaber said.