Tag Archives: SmartROC D65

Epiroc to provide IAMGOLD’s Côté mine with autonomous blasthole drills

Epiroc says it has won a large order for surface mining equipment from IAMGOLD Corp in Canada that will optimise safety and productivity through advanced automation at its greenfield Côté Gold operation in Ontario.

The order includes several Pit Viper 231 and SmartROC D65 drill rigs for the open-pit gold development, which is currently under construction and expected to start production in the second half of 2023. The Pit Vipers will be fully autonomous, while the SmartROC D65 rigs are prepared for remote operation.

The order is valued at approximately SEK130 million ($15.1 million) and was booked in the September quarter of 2021.

“IAMGOLD, a returning Epiroc customer, is taking safety, sustainability and productivity extremely seriously,” Epiroc’s President and CEO, Helena Hedblom, said. “As IAMGOLD is preparing a new exciting mine project, we are proud to contribute to their success with our advanced machines and solutions for autonomous operation.”

IAMGOLD has previously employed different levels of autonomous drilling at its other operations using Epiroc Pit Vipers. It launched the first automated drill rig in West Africa with assistance from Epiroc back in February 2020 at its 90%-owned Essakane mine in Burkina Faso. 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.

The Pit Viper 231 and SmartROC D65 surface drill rigs are built to face the toughest conditions while optimising productivity, safety and fuel efficiency, according to Epiroc. Advanced features include Epiroc’s telematics system, Certiq, which allows for automated and intelligent monitoring of productivity and machine performance.

Mineral Resources achieves Aussie first with new gen Epiroc blasthole drill rig

Mineral Resources Ltd says it has become the first company in Australia to start up Epiroc’s new generation SmartROC D65 drill rig.

The updated SmartROC D65 delivers high-quality blast holes with accuracy and precision and is loaded with smart features such as automated drilling and rod handling, according to the miner and technology and service provider. It also uses less hydraulic oil than previous versions and has fewer hoses and pumps. This helps to reduce costs and makes servicing easier, while increasing sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of the rig, Minerals Resources says.

Back in October 2019, Epiroc’s Kris Thomas, Product Manager – SED at Epiroc Australia, told IM that Australia was the first big target market for this new rig, with the new model already having been put forward in several major tenders, particularly in the Western Australia iron ore industry.

Mineral Resources’ own portfolio of iron ore assets comprises numerous known deposits and highly prospective targets across two of Western Australia’s premier iron ore provinces – the Yilgarn and the Pilbara.

“We decided to bring our drill and blast function in-house to enable greater agility, innovation and optimisation,” Mineral Resources said. “We’re always looking at ways to reduce our environmental footprint, not only with the work we perform but also in our choice of equipment.”

Having the new drill rigs on site allows for further efficiencies, the company says, as a platform drill is no longer required to drill up to 229 mm blastholes.

“By being more efficient in everything we do means we’ll continue to achieve our aim of being a leading provider of innovative and sustainable mining services and a low cost mining operator,” the company concluded.

Epiroc charged up by automation, digitalisation and battery equipment wins

Epiroc’s second ever Capital Markets Day, in Stockholm, Sweden, was an enlightening affair, with the original equipment manufacturer backing up its credentials as a leader in the mine automation, digitalisation and electrification space.

Speakers including Per Lindberg, President and CEO; Helena Hedblom, Senior Executive Vice President Mining and Infrastructure; Sami Niiranen, President Underground Rock Excavation; and Jose Sanchez, President Drilling Solutions, with all of them reeling off a number of statistics worth highlighting.

For example, the company said around 60% of Epiroc equipment is now being delivered with its rig control system (RCS), a system that on Pit Viper blasthole drills is the next “evolutionary step toward fully autonomous mining”, the company recently said.

At the same time as this, 3,400 of its machines have been delivered with “connectivity”, Lindberg said, a transition that is allowing customers to monitor, in real time, elements of a machine’s performance. As recently as the company’s June quarter results release, Lindberg said more than 2,500 machines were ‘connected’.

When it came to automation underground, Epiroc said it had 43 projects on its books, with 600 drill rigs equipped for complete automation of the drilling process; the latter up from the more than 550 Lindberg quoted in the June quarter results.

Epiroc has also seen a 30% increase in utilisation of connected Simba production drills globally, according to Lindberg.

On surface, meanwhile, Epiroc was involved with autonomous and teleremote drilling in 16 countries on five continents, he said.

Among these automation projects were the fully autonomous electric drill at Boliden’s Aitik copper mine, in Sweden, an autonomous SmartROC D65 at Newmont Goldcorp’s Hollinger mine, in Canada, and autonomous Pit Vipers at the leading gold miner’s Penasquito mine, in Mexico.

A map shown by Sanchez also included first remote/teleremote operations in Morocco, Ukraine (see Ferrexpo Yeristovo story), Chile and Papua New Guinea. There was also mention of first autonomous solutions in South Africa (along with a first multipass autonomous operation) and a first autonomous drill in operation in Australia.

And, of course, the company provided an update on its battery-electric solutions, which Epiroc believes will improve health and safety, reduce emissions, lower total cost of operation and improve productivity for its customers.

Lindberg said the company had accumulated 100,000 hours of battery-electric machinery operation to date and, so far, customers had achieved a more than 70% reduction in energy consumption – mainly through reduced ventilation needs.

On the company’s recently-launched Minetruck MT42 Battery, specifically, Niiranen said Epiroc had observed 10% increased productivity through faster ramp cycle time at operations where the machine was being trialled/operating. One of these machines is currently being trialled at Agnico Eagle’s Kittilä gold mine, in Finland, as part of the EU-funded Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems project (a project Epiroc is coordinator of).

Epiroc lifts the lid on automation success in Q2 results

After many years of automation talk, the mining industry finally appears to be investing in this new technology judging by Epiroc’s latest financial results.

The Stockholm-based company reported record revenue of SEK 10.6 billion ($1.13 billion), alongside a 25% year-on-year operating profit increase to SEK 2,263 million in its June quarter financials, but the most interesting elements from this release were comments from the company on automation.

Epiroc says it is a market leader in automation, connectivity and battery-electric vehicles, with the company noting customer interest in, and demand for these solutions, is growing quickly.

In the quarter, the company launched 6th Sense, its new offering of solutions to enable customers to optimise processes by connecting machines, systems and people using automation, information management and system integration, and to achieve higher production at lower operating costs.

Even though it is early days for this initiative, Per Lindberg, President and CEO of Epiroc, said the company has more than 2,500 connected machines on its books; a number that is rapidly increasing.

“For example, for production drill rigs, the number of connected machines has doubled in the last year. We also see that connectivity is an enabler for increased utilisation,” Lindberg said.

In underground drilling, Lindberg said more than 550 of its drill rigs are equipped for complete automation of the drilling process and, in surface drilling, it has the largest installed base of autonomous rotary drill rigs. On the latter, the world’s first fully autonomous SmartROC D65 down-the-hole drill rig is now operating in Canada, it said.

“Also, the interest in our next generation underground battery-electric vehicles continues to be strong and we received more orders for these machines in the quarter,” the company said.

Epiroc to connect machines, systems and people with ‘6th Sense’

Epiroc is presenting a new approach to the mining and infrastructure industries that combines digitalisation and automation to, it says, boost its customers’ performance.

The “6th Sense” solution addresses a growing need for the two industries to look to digital technologies to enhance productivity, sustainability and safety, according to the company. The approach is the Epiroc way to optimise customers’ processes by connecting machines, systems and people using automation, information management and system integration.

“With 6th Sense comes a great focus on system connectivity, using interoperability to unlock the full potential of automation for production gains at lower operating costs,” the company said.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc Senior Executive Vice President Mining and Infrastructure, said: “6th Sense is a formula we have developed for getting the right solutions in place and achieving operational excellence in mining and infrastructure operations.

“The name 6th Sense implies that the solution brings something extra and that is just what it does, providing a significant advantage such as track and respond to real-time working conditions and equipment needs.”

One example of Epiroc’s focus on automated and productivity-enhancing solutions comes from the Hollinger mine in Timmins, Canada. Together with long-term partner Newmont Goldcorp, Epiroc has put the world’s first fully autonomous SmartROC D65 surface drill rig in production, it said. The operator can be positioned remotely and perform other tasks while the drill rig completes a full drill pattern autonomously. “Besides increased operator safety, this boosts productivity thanks to Global Navigation Satellite System accuracy, non-stop operations and less wear and tear on drilling tools, reducing production costs and improving reliability,” Epiroc said.

Another example is the new Teleremote e-tramming option for Epiroc’s range of Simba long-hole underground drill rigs. The automation package includes functionalities to monitor, plan and automate drilling operations from onboard the rig or from a remote location. “Not only is the tramming process faster and simpler, the e-tramming function also provides a safer work environment and reduces variability in performance,” Epiroc said.

Hedblom said: “The 6th Sense approach is based on our customers’ needs for implementing digitalisation, automation and new process integrations. We are continuously rolling out new innovative features, always with the customers’ needs in mind.”

Epiroc books battery-electric equipment order from Canada underground mine

Epiroc received a large order for its battery-electric underground equipment from Canada in the March quarter, the company confirmed in its latest quarterly results.

The company, in November, launched its second-generation battery-electric solutions in Örebro, Sweden, presenting 14 t and 18 t LHDs, a 42 t truck (MT42) and its mid-sized drilling family including face drilling, production drilling and rock reinforcement rigs.

In the March quarter results, the company did not mention the name of the miner, the site the equipment will be deployed at, or which machines will be used at the operation, but, at a Bauma media roundtable event, President and CEO, Per Lindberg, said of the recent second generation launch: “We can say that the reception has not been worse than expected. It has been better than expected, and we have high expectations.”

And, earlier this month at The Electric Mine conference, in Toronto, Canada, Morgan Rody, Senior Project Manager: Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems (SIMS), Global Strategic Projects and Alliances, Epiroc, said one of Epiroc’s second-generation battery-electric drill rigs was set to arrive at Agnico Eagle’s Kittilä gold mine, in Finland, in a matter of weeks as part of the SIMS project.

Going back to the mining equipment manufacturer’s Q1 results, the company said orders received came in at SEK 10.06 billion ($1.06 billion) during the quarter, a year-on-year organic decline of 5%, while both revenues and operating profit rose – 19% to SEK 9.79 billion for the former and 27% to SEK 1.93 billion for the latter.

The company’s operating margin went from 18.4% a year earlier to 19.7%, while its basic earnings per share jumped from SEK 0.89/share to SEK 1.14/share.

Lindberg said, during the quarter, the company’s service business continued to grow “healthily”, having a positive impact on the group’s overall profit.

“Equipment revenues increased versus last year, but fell sequentially compared to the very strong Q4, which had a negative effect on our cost efficiency in the quarter,” he said.

“In the Tools & Attachments segment, we are pleased to see that our efficiency actions had a positive effect on the operating profit and margin. Working capital increased in the quarter, and continues to be a focus area for improvement. The operating cash flow was lower than in the previous quarter as a result.”

He said customer demand in the March quarter was “largely in line with our expectations”, with equipment orders at similar levels to the second half of 2018.

“The majority of mining equipment orders are still for expansion in or close to existing mines rather than for replacement,” he said. “The aftermarket business remained strong, reflecting the solid activity in the market, both in mining and in infrastructure.

“While our customers continue to be active and relatively confident about the future, and the mineral prices are at healthy levels, there are still uncertainties related to the economic development.

“We see that our customers primarily invest in lower-risk projects with focus on increased productivity and efficiency. We do not see any clear indications that the current market situation will change and expect that the demand will remain at the current level in the near term.”

During the quarter, the company completed its earlier announced acquisitions of Fordia and New Concept Mining, strengthening its position in exploration and rock reinforcement, and adding some SEK 1.2 billion in annual revenues, according to Lindberg.

On innovations, automation, digitalisation and battery power, Lindberg remarked: “We are pleased to see that we received several inquiries and orders for automation and battery solutions.”

On top of the battery equipment order from Canada, he said orders were booked for Mobilaris Mining Intelligence and, at the Bauma exhibition in early April, the company had presented a number of innovations, including My Epiroc, “a digital tool to help our customers to become more efficient in managing their fleet”, and its new generation SmartROC D65, an automation-ready surface drill rig.

Lindberg concluded: “In 2018, we put a lot of effort into the split and listing of Epiroc. In 2019, we will focus on improving and developing the business further. Besides the continued emphasis on innovation and new product development, a key focus will be on improving efficiency, agility and resilience throughout the company.”

Anglo American selects Epiroc drilling equipment for Quellaveco copper project

Epiroc has been awarded a “significant” order from Anglo American for its new copper mine in Moquegua, Peru, Quellaveco.

The diversified miner has ordered multiple drill rigs and related equipment to be used at the planned open-pit copper mine as it looks to build an operation with optimal safety, productivity and efficiency, Epiroc said.

The order totals about $44 million, with most of the contracted value booked in the December quarter of 2018 and a smaller portion booked in the current quarter, Epiroc said.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s Senior Executive Vice President Mining and Infrastructure, said: “We are proud to once again team up with Anglo American and play a key role in making sure that its new mine in Peru is operated in the most productive, safe and cost-efficient manner possible.”

The order includes Pit Viper 351 and SmartROC D65 drill rigs, BenchREMOTE remote operator stations (pictured), rock drilling tools and HB 10000 hydraulic breakers.

“The machines incorporate state-of-the-art technology features,” Epiroc said, adding that operators are, for example, able to run rigs remotely from a safe distance.

Delivery of the machines will start in early 2020 and continue through 2021, in line with Anglo American’s plan of first copper production during 2022.

Fluor is carrying out the project build at Quellaveco as part of an EPCM contract. With a reserve of 1,300 Mt at 0.58% Cu, Quellaveco is expected to have a 30-year mine life at an average production capacity of 127,500 t/d. This could see the mine produce around 300,000 t/y of copper.