As mines go deeper and ore bodies become more remote the case for blasting automation becomes clearer. The partnership will bring together the deep expertise and experience of two businesses to address the growing demand from customers mining in increasingly more hazardous and challenging underground operations.
"This promising collaboration with Orica is an important first step on an exciting journey toward automating the whole drilling and explosives charging process," said Helena Hedblom, Epiroc's senior executive vice president Mining and Infrastructure. "It is a vital part of both Epiroc's and Orica's vision of making the mining operation as safe, productive and cost-efficient as possible."
Angus Melbourne, Orica's chief commercial and technology officer, added: "This exciting partnership with Epiroc will allow us to leverage our exclusive wireless initiating system, WebGen, to deliver the critical first steps towards the automation of drill and blast operations. Automation is a key pillar of our technology strategy and supports our vision of transforming drill and blast to unlock mining value by creating safer and more sustainable operations."
The companies aim to design and deliver the first prototype during 2020, with the first commercially available systems to enter service in 2021.