Partnership to automate drilling and blasting

Australian explosives manufacturer for mining and civil applications, Orica, has partnered with Swedish mining equipment company Epiroc to automate the delivery of blasting technology.

The two companies will collaborate to create a semi-automated explosives delivery system.

By automating the delivery of explosives, the companies hope to make mining safer and more productive, particularly in underground applications.

As mining moves into more hazardous and challenging environments, automation is increasingly being adopted by mining companies and their equipment suppliers, as Angus Melbourne, chief commercial and technology officer, attested to.

“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.”

While details on the program are still under wraps, the partnership will enable Epiroc to utilise Orica’s WebGen wireless initiating system in the development of its automated drilling operations. The companies expect prototypes to be finalised in 2020, with commercially available systems to be used by 2021.

For Epiroc senior executive vice president, mining and infrastructure, Helena Hedblom, the partnership will begin a trajectory of development for the company.

“This promising collaboration with Orica is an important first step on an exciting journey toward automating the whole drilling and explosives charging process. 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,” she said.