The nickel-copper-cobalt mine, which is located in the Fraser Range, is owned by Australian mining and exploration company IGO and operated by contract miner Barminco, which purchased the DL422iE rig and put it to work in July.
"Accelerating decarbonisation is one of our sustainability priorities and there are clear benefits to using battery electric vehicles in the underground environment," Darren Kwok, head of Mining Electrification and Technology at Barminco, said. "Reducing or eliminating diesel emissions improves working conditions for our people and also has the potential to improve efficiency and profitability. We're very excited to see the benefits that this new Sandvik rig can provide.
"Electrification/decarbonisation is a key priority for Barminco and one of the most important trends in the sector at the moment, alongside automation. For this reason, we're delighted to have Sandvik as a technology partner who is providing industry-leading solutions to the challenges we face."
Chris Carr, head of Technical Services and acting general manager Nova at IGO added: "At IGO, we believe in a clean energy future, and that extends to our underground mining operations where the electrification of our fleets will create a safer, greener, and more productive operation. The arrival of the new Sandvik drill is an important step towards our commitment to be net zero across our direct operations and projects by 2035, if not sooner."
The Sandvik DL422iE is a fully automated, battery-powered, top hammer longhole drill designed for underground mass mining in 4 x 4m or larger production drifts. It can drill vertical and inclined fans and single or parallel Ø89-127mm longholes up to 54m in depth using ST58 and ST68 tube rods.
The drill's electric driveline includes a battery package and electric motor which allow for zero emissions while tramming and also reduced thermal load. DL422iE also features Sandvik's patented Charging While Drilling technology; an innovation for reduced battery charging time without the need for additional infrastructure.
Nathan Cunningham, business line manager at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, explained the benefits of battery electric equipment underground extend beyond a better working environment. "We're seeing considerable customer interest in Sandvik BEV solutions that help remove diesel from underground mines. If a miner is able to achieve a fully electric underground operation, there can be a flow-on effect for the ventilation capacity calculations. For new mines, in particular, this can reduce bring a double benefit - better worker health and a reduction in the work required to meet ventilation requirements."
Family of Sandvik BEV drill rig solutions
The DL422iE is part of the Sandvik 400iE series of drill rigs that together provide a battery-electric solution to just about every underground challenge.
"Other members of the family include the Sandvik DD422iE mining and tunnelling jumbo and the Sandvik DS412iE rock bolter," Cunningham said. "The DD422iE was launched in 2016 and has since logged more than four-million metres of drilled holes and over 18,000km of tramming with zero emissions. Meanwhile, the DS412iE rock bolter was launched in 2021 and is rapidly transforming mines across the world."
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