Boliden has selected Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions to supply two Leopard DI650i down-the-hole (DTH) drill rigs and AutoMine surface drilling systems to enable fully autonomous surface drilling at its Kevitsa mine in northern Finland.
Delivery of the two Leopard DI650i drill rigs is scheduled for the current quarter, and the mine’s order also includes a five-year parts and services agreement and My Sandvik Onsite analytics for process optimization.
Kevitsa will run the two Leopard DI650is using the AutoMine system from a remote control station near the drilling area or from the mine control room. Boliden and Sandvik have an ongoing rock tools agreement at Kevitsa, including DTH hammers, bits, pipes and rock tools services.
Sandvik said its on-site technicians will ensure support is available 365 days a year, maximizing the drill rigs’ utilization, productivity and reliability.
“Boliden Kevitsa is committed to improving sustainability, productivity and safety by investing in the latest automated technologies,” said Christian Bjorne, vice president, Sales Area Northern Europe, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.
“We look forward to continuing our technology cooperation and supporting Kevitsa in its journey to becoming an even more safe and productive mine through our drilling solutions.”
The Kevitsa open-pit mine is one of the largest mines in Finland in terms of excavation volume. Temperatures at the mine can drop below -30° Celsius during the winter, and with operations running 24/7, Kevitsa requires robust, proven technology. Sandvik and Boliden conducted comprehensive field tests over several months to prove the automated Sandvik drilling technology and performance. Technical support exceeded the mine’s expectations during the field tests.
Leopard DI650i drill rigs are equipped with iDrill technology, a scalable automation platform that supports fully autonomous operation and is designed to accelerate the production process. iDrill onboard automatics cover all steps of the drilling cycle from automated boom positioning, drilling and pipe handling to finishing the hole, and ensures consistent high-quality drilled holes. These capabilities can be upgraded with more advanced modules such as single-rig or fleet remote control systems with AutoMine Surface Drilling.