Sandvik supplies autonomous surface drilling technology for Boliden’s Kevitsa mine in Finland

press release

August 28, 2023

Boliden has selected Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions to supply two Leopard DI650i down-the-hole (DTH) drill rigs and AutoMine Surface Drilling systems, enabling fully autonomous surface drilling at its Kevitsa multimetal mine in northern Finland.

Delivery of the two Leopard™ DI650i drill rigs is scheduled during Q3 2023.

“Boliden Kevitsa is committed to improving sustainability, productivity and safety by investing in the latest automated technologies,” said Christian Bjorne, vice president of sales in Northern Europe at 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.”

Kevitsa openpit mine represents one of the largest mines in Finland when it comes to 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.

Kevitsa will run the two Leopard DI650i DTH rigs using the AutoMine system from a remote-control station near the drilling area or from a mine control room. Boliden and Sandvik have an ongoing rock tools agreement at Kevitsa, including DTH hammers, bits, pipes and rock tools services. Sandvik on-site technicians will ensure support is available 365 days a year, maximizing the drill rigs’ utilization, productivity and reliability.

AutoMine Surface Drilling is an autonomous solution for a wide range of Sandvik i-series surface drill rigs, designed to improve safety, reduce costs and increase productivity. It enables an operator to control multiple rigs remotely from a comfortable line-of-sight location or a control room – improving working conditions and safety.

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.

Photo courtesy of Sandvik.


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