Tag Archives: Silver

Newmont transitions to Sandvik AutoMine tele-remote ops at Cerro Negro

Newmont says its Cerro Negro underground operations in Argentina have transitioned to tele-remote mode with the implementation of the Sandvik AutoMine® platform.

The transition, completed last year, is part of Newmont’s Full Potential structured and continuous improvement program that began in 2014. This program has since delivered over $4 billion in value, while serving as Newmont’s key vehicle for reducing costs and boosting productivity across its operating sites and functions.

In the company’s recent September quarter results call, Newmont Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Rob Atkinson, confirmed that Cerro Negro had become the first mine in Argentina to implement the AutoMine system for tele-remote underground loading and hauling.

“The implementation of this technology has eliminated safety risks associated with operator exposure underground, has allowed for the recovery of more ore from each of the stopes, has reduced equipment damage, and, really importantly in the Argentinian context, increased underground working time,” he said.

“We’ve had tremendous success with tele-remote operations at our Australian and Canadian underground mines, and this is yet another example of the value added through the rapid replication of leading practices across our global operations.”

Cerro Negro has three high-grade underground operating mines – Eureka, Mariana Central and Mariana Norte – and two underground deposits being developed, Emilia and San Marcos, as well as five other deposits in late-stage evaluation for development to expand the existing operations in the Marianas Complex and establish operations in the Eastern District.

The extensive Cerro Negro complex has several other deposits and exploration targets, including an open-pit mine known as Vein Zone and one cyanide leach processing facility with Merrill Crowe recovery yielding gold recoveries of 90-97%.

GR Engineering gets to work on 2.25 Mt/y process plant design for Sorby Hills JV project

GR Engineering Services has been appointed preferred tenderer by Boab Metals Limited in relation to the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the processing plant and non-process infrastructure for the Sorby Hills lead-silver project in Kununurra, Western Australia.

GR Engineering and Sorby Hills Management Pty Ltd (the manager of the Sorby Hills joint venture) will execute an agreement shortly to commence detailed design and selected ordering of long lead items, prior to the award of an EPC contract, it said. The EPC contract will be subject to the achievement of final investment decision.

Boab said the scope of work includes a process plant with a capacity of 2.25 Mt/y, representing a 50% increase over that considered in the Sorby Hills prefeasibility study. This 2020 study envisaged a 1.5 Mt/y throughput rate over an initial 10-year mine life, with the PFS combining ore drawn from three open pits with a processing plant employing conventional milling and flotation with a beneficiation plant between the coarse crush (dry end) and the grind and flotation circuit (wet end).

The PFS indicated steady state annual production of concentrate containing approximately 50,000 t/y of lead and 1.5 Moz/y of silver.

The tendered price for GR Engineering’s EPC agreement is commensurate with the proposed capacity expansion and will form the basis of capital cost estimates for the definitive feasibility study, Boab said.

GR Engineering’s Acting Managing Director, Tony Patrizi, said: “GR Engineering is pleased to have been selected by Boab as the preferred tenderer for the delivery of the project. GR Engineering has a strong track record of successful project delivery in the base metals space. Aligned with GR Engineering’s core values, it is exciting to work on this important regional project that has already implemented tangible green initiatives. We look forward to working with the Boab team.”

Boab owns 75% of the Sorby Hills joint venture project, with the remainder owned by Henan Yuguang Gold Lead Co. Ltd.

Rio Tinto funds initial underground development at Kennecott copper ops

Rio Tinto has approved a $55 million investment in development capital to start underground mining and expand production at its Kennecott copper operations in Utah, USA.

Underground mining will initially focus on an area known as the Lower Commercial Skarn (LCS), which will deliver a total of around 30,000 t of additional high-quality mined copper through the period to 2027 alongside open-pit operations, Rio says. The first ore is expected to be produced in early 2023, with full production in the second half of the year. It will be processed through the existing facilities at Kennecott, one of only two operating copper smelters in the US.

Kennecott holds the potential for significant and attractive underground development. The LCS is the first step towards this, with a mineral resource of 7.5 Mt at 1.9% Cu, 0.84 g/t Au, 11.26 g/t Ag and 0.015% Mo identified based on drilling and a probable reserve of 1.7 Mt at 1.9% Cu, 0.71 g/t Au, 10.07 g/t Ag and 0.044% Mo.

Underground battery-electric vehicles are currently being trialled at Kennecott to improve employee health and safety, increase productivity and reduce carbon emissions from future underground mining fleets. A battery-electric haul truck and loader supplied by Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions – a Sandvik LH518B 18 t battery-electric LHD and a Sandvik Z50 50 t battery-electric haul truck – are being used to evaluate performance and suitability as part of underground development work.

Rio Tinto Copper Chief Executive, Bold Baatar, said: “This investment will allow us to quickly bring additional volumes of high-quality copper to the market and build our knowledge and capabilities as we evaluate larger scale underground mining at Kennecott. We are progressing a range of options for a significant resource that is yet to be developed at Kennecott, which could extend our supply of copper and other critical materials needed for electric vehicles and renewable power technologies.

“Trialling underground battery-electric vehicles is an exciting step in our work to create a safer workplace for our employees, increase the productivity of the mine and reduce emissions from our operations. We look forward to seeing their potential for deployment.”

Existing undergound infrastructure is currently being extended to enable early access to the next underground resource and undertake characterisation studies. A feasibility study to inform decisions on the next phase of underground production is expected to be completed in 2023. This will be one of several potential stages currently being investigated.

Feasibility studies are also being progressed to extend open-pit mining at Kennecott beyond 2032.

Ivanhoe and Gécamines break ground on Kipushi processing plant

Ivanhoe Mines President, Marna Cloete, has announced that Kipushi Corporation SA (KICO), a joint venture between Ivanhoe and DRC state-owned mining company Gécamines, have broken ground on construction of the processing plant at the historic Kipushi zinc-copper-germanium-silver mine in the country.

In addition, Ivanhoe has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the provincial government of Haut-Katanga to study options for upgrading the DRC-Zambia border crossing in the town of Kipushi for commercial imports and exports.

The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by His Excellency Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Her Excellency Adèle Kayinda Mahina, Minister of State and Minister of Portfolio, Her Excellency Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi, Minister of Mines, members of the provincial government of the Haut-Katanga Province and other national, provincial and local dignitaries, in addition to representatives from Ivanhoe, Gécamines and the town of Kipushi.

The delegation was presented with the development plan for returning the Kipushi mine to production by late 2024 – one hundred years since it was first opened and 30 years since it was placed on care and maintenance.

The ceremony follows the release of results of the Kipushi 2022 Feasibility Study, announced in February 2022, as well as the agreement signed between Ivanhoe Mines and Gécamines to bring the Kipushi mine back into production.

The study evaluates the development of an 800,000 t/y concentrator and underground mine, producing on average of 240,000 t/y of zinc contained in concentrate over a 14-year life of mine. The successful commencement of commercial production would establish Kipushi as the world’s highest-grade major zinc mine, with an average head grade of 36.4% Zn over the first five years of production, according to Ivanhoe.

Existing, rehabilitated surface and underground infrastructure allow for significantly lower capital costs than comparable development projects, Ivanhoe said. The estimated pre-production capital cost, including contingency, is $382 million. This infrastructure also allows for a relatively short construction timeline of two years, with the principal development activities being the construction of a conventional concentrator facility and supporting infrastructure, together with the restart of mining activities underground.

Ordering of long-lead equipment is underway and early construction activities have commenced. Financing and offtake discussions, including a pre-payment facility of $250 million, are well advanced with several interested parties, the company added.

Ivanhoe’s Cloete said: “Kipushi is exceptional, not only because of the renowned Big Zinc deposit, which is one of the world’s richest orebodies, but more importantly because of the people of Kipushi and the unique partnerships that make today’s ceremony possible.

“We now have our sights clearly set on the re-start of production in 2024. The re-birth of the historic Kipushi Mine will be a great achievement for Ivanhoe Mines, our partners and shareholders, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

The Kipushi Mine is strategically located less than 1 km from the DRC-Zambia border, which will be the gateway for Kipushi’s products to global export markets.

On August 24, 2022, Ivanhoe Mines and the Province of Haut-Katanga signed a MOU concerning the construction of a dedicated, commercial border post for the Kipushi Mine, together with the upgrading of the existing border post in the town of Kipushi, which currently only serves local traffic between DRC and Zambia.

This new commercial border crossing will provide a significant advantage to the Kipushi Mine as a direct means of importing materials and consumables, as well as clearing customs and exporting products from the mine, and will provide socio-economic benefits to the town and Province of Haut-Katanga, Ivanhoe said.

The Kipushi Mine has a long and storied history as a major producer of copper and zinc. Built and then operated by Union Minière for 42 years, Kipushi began mining a reported 18% copper deposit from a surface open pit in 1924. It was the world’s richest copper mine at the time, according to Ivanhoe. The Kipushi Mine then transitioned to become Africa’s richest underground copper, zinc and germanium mine. State-owned Gécamines gained control of Kipushi in 1967 and operated the mine until 1993, when it was placed on care and maintenance due to a combination of economic and political factors.

Over a span of 69 years, Kipushi produced a total of 6.6 Mt of zinc and 4 Mt of copper from 60 Mt of ore grading 11% Zn and approximately 7% Cu. It also produced 278 t of germanium and 12,673 t of lead between 1956 and 1978.

Most of Kipushi’s historical production was from the Fault Zone, a steeply-dipping orebody rich in copper and zinc that was initially mined as an open pit. The Fault Zone extends to a depth of at least 1,800 m below surface, along the intersection of a fault in carbonaceous dolomites.

Before Kipushi was idled in 1993, Gécamines discovered the Big Zinc deposit at a depth of approximately 1,250 m below surface and adjacent to the producing Fault Zone. The Big Zinc Deposit has not been mined and is the initial target for production as outlined in the 2022 feasibility study.

Since acquiring its interest in the Kipushi Mine in 2011, Ivanhoe’s drilling campaigns have upgraded and expanded the mine’s zinc-rich measured and indicated mineral resources by more than double to an estimated 11.78 Mt grading 35.34% Zn, 0.80% Cu, 23 g/t Ag and 64 g/t Ge, at a 7% zinc cutoff.

In addition, Ivanhoe’s drilling expanded Kipushi’s copper-rich measured and indicated resources to an additional 2.29 Mt at grades of 4.03% Cu, 2.85% Zn, 21 g/t Ag and 19 g/t Ge at a 1.5% copper cutoff.

Once in operation, the Kipushi Mine is expected to be powered by clean, renewable hydro-generated electricity and is set to be among one of the world’s lowest Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emitters per tonne of zinc metal produced, according to Ivanhoe.

Green Gold to test cyanide reduction tech on Poseidon’s Windarra gold tailings project

Poseidon Nickel says it has signed a binding heads of agreement with Green Gold Projects Pte Ltd (GGP) for the processing of the Windarra Gold Tailings Project in Western Australia.

The agreement could see Green Gold deploy its patented technology at the project, which includes ReCYN, which, through the use of a resin-bead absorbent, can reduce cyanide consumption by 50%, capturing free cyanide from the plant tailings and recycling it back into the leach circuit while recovering metal complexes and making them available for sale.

In the process, ReCYN detoxifies the tailings stream and guarantees 100%-compliant clean water discharge, according to Green Gold.

Its technology is already being tested at PT Agincourt Resources’ Martabe gold-silver operation in Sumatra, Indonesia, to detoxify tailings and recover cyanide and copper.

The binding agreement outlines the proposed partnership with GGP for the processing of the tailings, with a final agreement subject to GGP being satisfied with the outcome of metallurgical test work and a bankable feasibility study being completed at GGP’s expense.

The Windarra Gold Tailings Project consists of the Windarra and Lancefield (pictured) tailings with combined mineral resources of 5.96 Mt at 0.84 g/t Au and 2.1 g/t Ag, containing 180,000 oz of gold. A definitive feasibility study (DFS) was completed by Poseidon and released in mid-2021, which investigated using two different mining methods on the Windarra tailings, amphibious dredging or hydraulic mining and the construction of a modular 1.5 Mt/y processing plant to recover up to 55,000 oz of gold over a 45-month period.

The economic analysis indicated a project with an net present of circa A$20 million ($13.5 million) and internal rate of return of 45-50% depending on the mining method, assuming a gold price of $1,750/oz and an exchange rate of A$1 to US$0.75.

“While the outcome of the DFS was positive, the company is focused on the restart of the Black Swan project and decided that finding a partner to develop and operate the Windarra Gold Tailings Project was the best outcome for shareholders,” Poseidon said. “This process commenced earlier in the year and significant interest was received from various parties.”

Poseidon Nickel Managing Director and CEO, Peter Harold, said: “This agreement (with GGP) is a significant milestone in the company’s strategy to monetise the Windarra Gold Tailings Project. Green Gold Projects is an experienced developer and operator and is currently active in 30 projects globally.”

Upon achieving the test work and feasibility study milestones, GGP will earn a farm-in interest in the project. In return, Poseidon will receive consideration in the form of cash payments – upfront and upon project financing and a free carried profit interest of 8%. The funding, development and operation of the project will be the responsibility of Green Gold.

“The proposed partnership with Green Gold is an ideal outcome for Poseidon given our focus on the development of our nickel projects,” Harold said.

GGP was selected as the preferred partner given its experience as a developer and operator of similar projects, Poseidon said. Its patented technology has the potential to improve the economics of the project, according to the company.

The binding agreement outlines certain conditions to be met to reach a final agreement to develop the project. These include:

  • Metallurgical test work performed by GGP on the Windarra and Lancefield tailings to determine if its patented technology can improve gold recovery;
  • The rights and obligations of the Lancefield tailings right-to-treat Agreement are assigned to GGP; and
  • GGP receiving Foreign Investment Review Board and any other anticipated approval if required.

Subject to the satisfaction of these pre-conditions, Poseidon will grant GGP the right to farm-in to the project subject to the completion of the following milestones:

  • Milestone 1: GGP making a non-refundable upfront payment of A$250,000 upon satisfying the pre-conditions mentioned above to earn an initial 13.8% interest in the project;
  • Milestone 2: GGP completing a positive bankable feasibility study on the project to earn a further 13.8% interest in the project; and
  • Milestone 3: GGP making a final investment decision, securing funding for the project, and making a non-refundable payment of A$1 million to Poseidon to earn a further 64.4% interest in the project.

Poseidon will then retain an 8% free carried profit interest in the project, which entitles the company to 8% of the profit while not contributing to any capital or any other payments. The binding agreement also specifies that the project must be in production within three years from the date that the last farm-in milestone is satisfied, and that GGP will be solely responsible for meeting any rehabilitation or other environmental liabilities arising from the project.

South32 making engineering and design headway at Hermosa project

A stellar set of annual financial results has provided the ideal backdrop for South32 to update shareholders on its rapidly progressing Hermosa project in Arizona, USA.

Released late last month, the company’s 2022 financial year results showed off record earnings of $2.6 billion, record free cash flow from operations of $2.6 billion and record return on invested capital of 30.1%.

With group copper-equivalent production expected to increase by 14% in the next financial year, South32 looked to be well leveraged to in-demand metal markets at the right time.

The company has progressively been repositioning its portfolio toward metals critical for a low-carbon future, having already established a pipeline of high-quality development options. One of these high-quality development options is Hermosa.

Hermosa, which the company acquired outright back in 2018 as part of a takeover of Arizona Mining, is key to the company’s critical metals pursuit, having exposure to base and battery metals that are expected to grow in demand – both domestically in the US and internationally.

It is being designed as South32’s first ‘next generation mine’, according to Hermosa President, Pat Risner, with a series of technical reports highlighting its use of automation and technology to minimise its impact on the environment and target a carbon-neutral mining scenario in support of the group’s goal of achieving net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

These same reports also highlighted the potential to develop a sustainable, low-cost operation producing zinc, lead and silver from the Taylor deposit, with the bonus of possible battery-grade manganese output for rapidly growing domestic markets from the Clark deposit.

In the latest results, the company said it was devoting $290 million of growth capital expenditure in the 2023 financial year to progressing Hermosa as it invests in infrastructure to support critical path dewatering and progress study work for the Taylor Deposit. This is ahead of a planned final investment decision expected in mid-2023, which should coincide with the feasibility study.

South32 is devoting $290 million of growth capital expenditure in the 2023 financial year to progress Hermosa

Some $110 million of this was assigned to construction of a second water treatment plant (WTP2) to support orebody dewatering at the asset, alongside dewatering wells, piping systems and dewatering power infrastructure.

An additional $95 million was slated for engineering and initial construction ahead of shaft sinking at the operation, plus work to support power infrastructure and road construction.

The remaining amount was expected to support work across the broader Hermosa project, including Clark study costs and the Taylor feasibility study.

All signs from these results are that the company is laying the groundwork to develop this project ahead of that mid-2023 deadline.

In another sign of progress, South32 recently signed a “limited notice to proceed” for shaft engineering and design at Hermosa with contractor Redpath, Risner confirmed, adding that the award represented a positive step forward for the project.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement with local communities and all of our stakeholders as we make further progress with the project,” he said.

Redpath will no doubt be evaluating the technical studies that have been signed off to this point and informing future reports.

The PFS design for Taylor is a dual shaft mine which prioritises early access to higher grade mineralisation, supporting zinc-equivalent average grades of approximately 12% in the first five years of the mine plan. The proposed mining method, longhole open stoping, is similar to that used at Cannington, in Australia, and maximises productivity and enables a single stage ramp-up to the miner’s preferred development scenario of up to 4.3 Mt/y.

Yet, the Clark deposit opportunity – which has become even more tantalising with the US Government invoking the Defense Production Act and supporting the production of critical metals including manganese – could see the plan change.

The company says it may accelerate the prefeasibility study for the Clark deposit, which is spatially linked to the Taylor deposit. A scoping study has previously confirmed the potential for a separate, integrated underground mining operation producing battery-grade manganese, as well as zinc and silver from the deposit.

South32 previously said Clark has the potential to underpin a second development stage at Hermosa, with future studies to consider the opportunity to integrate its development with Taylor, potentially unlocking further operating and capital efficiencies.

With a PFS selection study expected later this year, investors and interested parties will soon know the role Clark could play in the wider Hermosa project.

What is easy to gauge already is that Hermosa is progressing on a track that many other development projects in in-demand sectors have gone down.

Newcrest’s Brucejack mine set for full fleet battery-electric transition in Q4

Newcrest’s Brucejack gold-silver mine in British Columbia, Canada, is set for a full battery-electric fleet transition by the end of the year, the gold miner said in its financial year 2022 results.

Following a successful site trial, seven underground battery-electric trucks are being commissioned at Brucejack, replacing the existing diesel fleet and abating approximately 65,000 t of CO2 emissions through to 2030.

The new fleet will improve truck productivity, lower unit costs and enhance operational efficiency from planning to production, according to Newcrest. Three of the Sandvik 50-t-payload Z50 battery-electric trucks are already in production, with the full switch over expected to be completed in the December 2022 quarter, it noted.

Sandvik and Pretivm previously noted that seven Z50 haul trucks would be supplied to the operation as part of the planned fleet transition.

The project is being partly funded thanks to a C$7.95 million ($6.1 million) investment from The CleanBC Industry Fund.

Brucejack, which became wholly owned by Newcrest when the acquisition of previous owned Pretivm Resources completed earlier this year, is currently the subject of Newcrest’s EDGE program, which aims to drive a culture of innovation, high performance and continuous improvement. The program has identified additional opportunities of approximately C$15-$25 million/y, with improvements in stope turnaround time and more efficient mine operations as the initial focus areas, the company said.

Run-rate benefits from this effort are expected to be fully realised by the June 2024 quarter, Newcrest says.

Newcrest said in the financial results that it was also assessing ore sorting technology at the mine, which aims to classify and separate mineralised material from non-mineralised material to deliver more consistent mill feed grades and increase operational flexibility.

Vast Resources forecasts production uptick as Mantis production drill rigs boost performance

Copper concentrate production at Vast Resources’ Baita Plai polymetallic (copper-gold-silver-zinc-lead-moly) mine in Romania continued to trend upwards in the June quarter, with the London-listed company expecting further output gains in the September quarter thanks to the use of a Mantis CMR4 production drill rigs that can help the company access more underground mining areas.

The June quarter results were in line with the company’s expectations, with concentrate production coming in at 268.8 t, compared with 229 t in the same quarter of 2021.

The tonnes milled for the period declined slightly by 6% to 11,292 t, with the grade rising 33% year-on-year to 0.6% Cu. Ore mined increased by 3.5% to 13,020 t for the period.

Looking forward to the September quarter and beyond, the company says it continues to forecast a substantial increase in copper concentrate tonnage produced due to the successful implementation of the Mantis CMR4 production drilling rig to access the ore on 17 level, as well as the increased ability to process ore due to the second milling circuit being commissioned, which has lifted capacity to 14,000 t/mth.

Back in May, Vast Resources announced that the first of two Mantis CMR4 production drilling rigs equipped with the latest Doofor rock drills had successfully completed functional drill testing underground. The Mantis is made by South African company Fabchem, through its subsidiary, Conax Machine Solutions, in Springs, Gauteng, which manufactures, refurbishes and repairs roof bolters and hydraulic rock drills, with its flagship manufactured products being the Mantis bolters and drills.

In addition to the increase in copper concentrate produced expected going forward, a substantial increase in the number of primary metres developed is forecast. This is due to the implementation of the second Mantis rig on the main belt incline on 18 level, whereby the original mine plan envisaged can be brought online, Vast Resources said. Current advances per blast from the main belt decline vary between 2-2.2 m per blast, which the company says is an excellent ratio to the length of hole drilled to the achieved advance.

The company explained: “The drill rig was extensively tested in a non-production environment to ascertain the capabilities of the machine for long hole production drilling. The drill rig has successfully completed a number of holes at varying inclinations, including vertically down, to depths of up to 12 m. The machine is currently deployed on 17 level in the production area drilling the first set of long holes for long hole production blasting.”

Vast Resources plans to remotely operate its Aramine L130D narrow-vein LHD

The accompanying remotely operated Aramine L130D LHD has arrived at the mine and was successfully transported underground, Vast Resources said. The machine, which is designed for narrow-vein applications, is currently undergoing testing and operator training inside the working stope below 17 level, it added.

Seabridge Gold weighs automation and trolley assist haulage for KSM project

Seabridge Gold has completed an updated prefeasibility study for its KSM Project in British Columbia, Canada, that focuses on open-pit mining only, while planning for both autonomous mine operations and trolley assist haulage.

The 2022 PFS, prepared by Tetra Tech, shows a considerably more sustainable and profitable mining operation than its 2016 predecessor, now consisting of an all open-pit mine plan that includes the Mitchell, East Mitchell and Sulphurets deposits only, it said.

The primary reasons for the improvements in the plan arise from the acquisition of the East Mitchell open-pit resource and an expansion to planned mill throughput – to 195,000 t/d, from 130,000 t/d, the company said.

The many design improvements over the 2016 PFS include a smaller environmental footprint, reduced waste rock production, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, a 50% increase in mill throughput and the elimination of capital-intensive block cave mining, it added.

While total capital has been reduced to $9.6 billion (from $10.5 billion) – with increases from inflation and mill expansion being wholly offset by the elimination of block cave mining from the PFS plan – the initial capital cost has increased to $6.4 billion (from $5 billion) due to inflation.

Life of mine production (33 years) at KSM consists of 1.03 Moz of gold, 178 MIb (80,739 t) of copper, 3 Moz of silver and 4.2 MIb of molybdenum.

The open-pit-only mine production plan using ultra class mining starts in the higher grade Mitchell pit, Seabridge Gold says.  Production from the high grade upper East Mitchell zone is introduced in Year 3. Waste mined from the Sulphurets, East Mitchell and Mitchell pit is placed in the Mitchell rock storage facility (RSF) until Mitchell pit is mined out by Year 25. Final waste from East Mitchell is backfilled into the mined-out Mitchell pit from Year 25 onward along with some waste rehandled from the Mitchell RSF.

Autonomous mine operations where applicable and an integrated remote operations centre reduce on-site personnel, the company noted, while adding that electrification of the haul truck fleet with trolley assist would reduce carbon emissions and overall mine energy costs by replacing diesel with low-cost energy from electricity.

Epiroc to supply Boliden’s Kristineberg and Renström mines with battery-electric, autonomous solutions

Epiroc says it has won a large order from Boliden for mining equipment, including battery-electric and automation solutions, for use at some of the company’s underground mines in Sweden.

Boliden, one of Europe’s largest mining companies, has ordered battery-electric versions of the Boomer face drilling rig, Boltec rock bolting rig and Epiroc’s largest automated Scooptram loader, the ST18, with Batteries as a Service. The ordered equipment also includes, among other machines, the Easer raiseboring rig and Epiroc’s newest production and face drilling rigs, Simba and Boomer, in the E-series.

The machines will be used at the Rävliden Kristineberg and Renström mine sites in northern Sweden. Boliden is mining zinc, copper, lead, gold, silver and tellurium at the mines.

On the Scooptram ST18 Battery, specifically, Mattias Pettersson, Global Portfolio Manager Underground Loaders, confirmed that the battery-electric machine heading to Boliden’s operations would be upgraded to Scooptram Automation. This will coincide with several other BEV customers receiving automation upgrades around the same timeframe, according to Pettersson, adding that the battery charging process will not be automated in this instance.

At Rävliden Kristineberg, Boliden and Epiroc are also involved in a project to develop and demonstrate an electric trolley truck system on a test track, with ABB being the third project partner.

The order is valued at more than SEK100 million ($9.8 million) and was booked in the June quarter of 2022.

“Boliden is focused on making its operations as safe, sustainable, and productive as possible and to produce metals with a low carbon footprint, and we are proud to support them on this journey,” Epiroc’s President and CEO, Helena Hedblom, said.

The Simba production drilling rig and the battery-electric loader Scooptram ST18 will be equipped with the 6th Sense solutions Simba Automation and Scooptram Automation. This will enable operators to control the machines remotely from the comfort of a control room, according to Epiroc. All units will be equipped with Epiroc’s telematics system, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time.