Leading mining and construction equipment manufacturer Atlas Copco and global mining corporation Anglo American are set to begin testing a new type of mining machine that is expected to transform the extraction process of ore from underground hard rock mines.
According to the press release by Atlas Copco, the joint development project – which focuses on rapid mine development and on making hard rock mining faster and safer – is now in an advanced stage, with proof-of-concept testing scheduled to start in the fall, 2015.
If all goes according to plan, the new mechanical excavation technology will be a milestone for the partnership established in 2012 and one of the most significant examples of innovative technology to emerge from Anglo American’s FutureSmartTM approach to mining.
“We are very proud to be Anglo American’s partner in this joint development project and we are excited at the prospect of demonstrating this potential game-changing technology to the mining industry,” said Scott Barker, President of Atlas Copco’s Underground Rock Excavation Division.
“Atlas Copco is a well-known supplier to the mining industry with more than 140 years of product development to its name. In addition, they share our vision that we need to work together for the future benefit of the industry. Atlas Copco is therefore an ideal choice to partner with us on this exciting journey,” said Donovan Waller, Group Head of Technology Development at Anglo American.
Speaking about the philosophy behind the FutureSmartTM initiative, Mr Waller said Anglo American was looking to radically transform its operations by adopting technology that can benefit entire systems, not just certain parts of them.
“We also believe that the benefits to the industry as a whole can only be realised through openness and collaboration,” he said at the Dassault Conference in Las Vegas, USA last November.
A successful outcome of the project would validate Atlas Copco’s commitment to innovation and sustainable productivity in underground mining, and demonstrate Anglo American’s visionary force behind the FutureSmartTM innovation initiative which embraces integrated thinking and collaborative partnerships.
“The mining industry needs to be more cost efficient and predictable in its ore production systems. One way to achieve this is to move towards continuous mining systems based on mechanical rock cutting. If Atlas Copco and Anglo American together prove that this is possible – and we are confident that we will – we can expect it to be a game-changer for the industry,” said Mikael Ramstrom, the man who heads up the project team at Atlas Copco.
“In developing this concept together we have proven the tremendous benefits that can be gained by this type of collaboration. Our skills as a mining company combined with Atlas Copco’s technical knowhow has proven to be a very worthwhile combination,” said Dragan Janicijevic, Anglo American’s Project Manager Mining & Engineering – Technology Development.