Sandvik delivers complete autonomous surface drilling solution for LKAB

LKAB has taken an important step towards streamlining surface drilling at the Leveäniemi open pit mine in Svappavaara, northern Sweden, selecting Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions to supply a complete autonomous solution.
Breaking, Drilling & Blasting / January 4, 2024
By Guy Woodford
Three Sandvik Leopard DI650i DTH drill rigs with AutoMine readiness will be working at LKAB's Leveäniemi open pit mine in Svappavaara, northern Sweden. Pic: Sandvik

The order includes three Leopard DI650i down-the-hole (DTH) drill rigs with AutoMine readiness, My Sandvik Onsite data analytics, rock tools and technical expertise and maintenance service. Sandvik will provide education and training on the new systems, which will be commissioned on an ongoing basis, as well as technicians on site during operation to help ensure high availability. Drill rig deliveries are scheduled through the end of 2023.

"We have made a strategic choice to implement automated surface drilling technology in cooperation with Sandvik," said Anders Nyberg, Section Manager LKAB Svappavaara. "We look forward to continue testing the latest digital technology in Svappavaara."

In addition to a Sandvik office, a service workshop will also be established on-site, equipped with a grinding machine and DTH hammer service tools, to help ensure maximum, cost-effective utilization throughout the life of the hammers and bits.

"This full-service agreement ensures that the drill rigs are optimally utilised and that Sandvik service technicians are on-site to provide full support year-round," said Andreas Östdahl, Key Account Manager, LKAB for Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions. "By taking advantage of automation and more efficient DTH rock tools, LKAB can achieve ambitious drill meter targets."

Leopard DI650i drill rigs are equipped with Sandvik's iDrill technology, a scalable automation platform that supports fully autonomous operation, streamlining the drilling process and ensuring high-quality results. The technology covers all stages of the drilling cycle, from automated boom positioning to drilling, rod handling and hole finishing.

The new technology enables increased productivity and reduced environmental impact, with the DTH hammers and drill bits complementing the solution.

"Sandvik drill bits are equipped with our PowerCarbide inserts, which not only provide better drilling productivity but also superior service life," Östdahl said. "This, together with our program for circular recycling of drill bits and inserts, supports our common goal towards more sustainable mining."

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