Epiroc has joined forces with a number of Swedish companies to set a new world standard for sustainable mining in deep underground mines. To start a test bed in the ore fields of northern Sweden, the company will work with iron ore miner LKAB; ABB, an industrial robotics and electronics specialist; Combitech, a technology company with a special focus on digitalization; and construction equipment maker AB Volvo.
Sustainable Underground Mining (SUM) will be created in LKAB’s underground mines in northern Sweden and will also be a virtual mine. There, Epiroc said, new technology will be developed and tested in a real mining environment to help ensure sustainable and safe mining in the future.
The future of mining will require new control systems, new and improved mining equipment, and complex and efficient management systems. Epiroc said reaching that goal will demand a new type of collaboration, a digital ecosystem in which the partners’ digital systems and operations are linked.
“We’re proud to be part of a collaborative effort to develop the world’s most modern mining operation,” said Per Lindberg, President and CEO of Epiroc, a new company that originated from two Atlas Copco divisions. “This aligns well with our focus on autonomous and battery-operated products and solutions that improve productivity and safety in the mines.”
Within the framework of the test bed, the group will study best practices for building an efficient autonomous production system. The project is expected to help move the industry toward a mine where people and machines work side-by-side in a sustainable, safe, carbon-dioxide-free, digitalized and autonomous environment, said Epiroc.