Boomer S2 transforming operations at Sanshandao gold mine

The Sanshandao gold mine, affiliated with the Shandong Gold Group, is one of the top 10 mines with the best economic profits in China. It is the underground gold mine with the highest level of mechanisation and overall equipment in China. However, due to its geographical location near Bohai Bay, the underground construction faces adverse conditions such as strong corrosion, high humidity, and high temperatures. Therefore, equipment reliability, safety, intelligence, and efficiency are very important. Only equipment that can withstand the working conditions test is approved.

 An Epiroc Boomer S2, has transformed operations at the Sanshandao gold mine, setting a new drilling record in China

An Epiroc Boomer S2, has transformed operations at the Sanshandao gold mine, setting a new drilling record in China

Since the introduction of its first equipment in 1985, and thanks to this equipment's reliable performance and intelligent innovative technology, Epiroc has become the main supplier of the Sanshandao mine. A number of large-scale intelligent pieces of equipment, including 4t capacity underground loaders, Minetruck MT2200 haulers and Boomer S2 two-boom face drill rigs, are hard at work to expedite the building of an intelligent and eco-friendly mine.

In October 2020, as part of its efforts to create an internationally leading intelligent mine, the Sanshandao gold mine successfully introduced its first domestic Boomer S2 automation-ready face drill rig with two booms from Epiroc.

Digital transmission

At the same time, it also assembled a deep intelligent mining team, which consisted of technical backbone and specialists from the Shandong Gold Group's mining department. The miners on the specialist mining team fully utilised the equipment's advantages of digital transmission, precise positioning, fast drilling speed, and long drill rods.

In July 2021, through continuous optimisation of drift profiles, hole layout, explosive structure, and blasting sequence, the team successfully broke through a 4.5 x 4.25m section and achieved a single blast footage of 4m, setting a new record of a single footage of 4.5m.

"Before using the Epiroc's automation-ready Boomer S2 with two booms, we used a single-boom drill rig with a traditional hydraulic control system. The operation involved manually painting hole positions on the blasting face, which had low efficiency, poor drilling accuracy, short blasting footage, uneven blasting block size, excessive over-excavation, and uneven roof and wall surfaces, greatly affecting the overall mining progress," director Weihua Xu said when discussing the challenges faced in mine tunnel development.

"In October 2020, with the introduction of the first Boomer S2 in China, we broke the record of a single blasting footage, 4m, which not only significantly improved construction efficiency but also opened up new exploration and improvement in underground mining automation, digitalisation, and intelligence," Xu said.

We broke the record of a single blasting footage

Wei Li, an operator on the specialised team, is conducting rock drilling operations at a working face 960m underground. Sat in a fully enclosed cabin with ROPs and FOPs, he only needs to gently push the control lever and the Boomer S2 will accurately position itself according to the design and start drilling. "Its automation capabilities are very powerful, with precise positioning, long drilling rods, and fast drilling speed. Moreover, the driving experience is more comfortable, and the fault self-diagnosis and intelligent operation assistance functions make our work easier," Li said. "There is often a need to move underground, and the Boomer S2 is smaller in size, making it more convenient for transportation compared to other equipment of the same calibre. It also has automatic lubrication and fire extinguishing systems on its carrier, as well as multiple safety functions... greatly improving the safety of our work. It can be our comrade-in-arms, and we are all excited about it."

Drifts constructed using the Epiroc Boomer S2 have better shaping, greatly reducing loose rock on the working face, reducing the labour intensity of workers for inspection and prying, and further improving the safety level of the working environment. 

Underground construction conditions

The harsh underground construction conditions - high temperature, high humidity, and high corrosion - lead to high drilling tool consumption and equipment maintenance costs. Epiroc's extensive service effectively addresses concerns at the Sanshandao gold mine, alleviating worries for the mine operators. "Epiroc's service is very comprehensive. In our mine, resident service engineers are always on standby, providing support services at any time, ensuring the efficient operation of the equipment," Xu said.

The Epiroc Boomer S2 boasts innovative, automated, and digitalized functions. Not only does it greatly elevate the mine equipment standard, but it is also a huge boost to the goal of transforming Sanshandao into a genuinely intelligent mine. Now, by continuously seeking new breakthroughs in reducing explosives consumption and optimising smooth blasting, the mine is pushing the limits and contributing to the high-quality development of Shandong Gold Group.