OZ Minerals joins Epiroc to deliver electric mining project

Epiroc has spearheaded a new project that encourages safety, electrification and automation of mining operations.

The three-year NEXGEN SIMS Next Generation Carbon Neutral Pilots for Smart Intelligent Mining Systems) project is coordinated by Epiroc along with a wide range of partners, including OZ Minerals.

Part of the project will focus on creating mine workers that are ready for the future through a number of safety developments including autonomous mine inspection technology.

The project will also develop autonomous carbon-neutral mining practices, including the use of battery-electric mining equipment.

Epiroc stated that the project will also develop the capabilities of 5G technology, autonomous material handling, AI-powered traffic and fleet control and machine collaboration.

The Epiroc Scooptram ST14 battery loader and Minetruck MT42 battery hauler.

Epiroc president and chief executive officer Helena Hedblom said the program would strive to improve the mining industry.

“Collaboration and partnership among stakeholders that have different areas of expertise is increasingly important to successfully advance complex digital and automated systems that will improve the mining industry’s environmental impact, work environment and productivity,” she said.

“We are proud to be part of and to lead the NEXGEN SIMS project, which will play a crucial role in this positive development.”

NEXGEN SIMS will also be delivered by European Union (EU) mining companies, equipment and system manufacturers and universities.

This includes mining companies Boliden, Agnico Eagle Finland, KGHM Polska and K+S.

NEXGEN SIMS will run from May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2024 on a budget of €16 million ($24.8 million).

In March, Epiroc and OZ Minerals joined the Electric Mine Consortium to accelerate mine electrification.

State of Play, the Consortium’s founder, conducted a survey that revealed 89 per cent of respondents expect mine sites to electrify within the next 20 years.

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