Modern Mining December 2017


Mechanisation gains momentum Hemmed in by low commodity prices, ever-increasing labour costs and safety concerns, South Africa’s mining companies are probably more receptive now to the benefits of mechanisation than they’ve ever been. This is the view of Niel McCoy, Key Account Manager, Business Development, at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, who says that Sandvik has a range of new technologies, some of which he describes as ‘disruptive’, designed to make mining operations faster, ‘smarter’ and more profitable.

O ne of the technologies that Mc- Coy is referring to is a Rapid Mine Development System (RMDS), which is currently be- ing trialled at a mine in Austria. “This is an exciting development which is very likely to be deployed at a South African mine in 2018,” says McCoy. “Essentially, it’s a con- tinuous mining system for hard rock, which simultaneously cuts, loads, meshes and bolts and therefore could deliver face advances well ahead of those achievable using traditional drill-and-blast techniques.” McCoy also points to Sandvik’s MN220 reef miner as another potential game changer. “This is an ultra low profile rock cutting mining

machine,” he says. “It’s specifically designed for mining narrow reefs in hard, abrasive rock and is fully remote controlled for safer operation. It combines some of the best features of Sandvik’s road headers and tunnel boring machines and uses the ‘undercutting’ principle which allows for very efficient energy utilisation.” The MN220 has a length of 9,80 m, a height of 1,10 m and a width of 2,72 m and has a total installed power of 350 kW. It can cut to a height of 1,10 m and a width of 4,33 m and allows for simultaneous cutting and roof bolting. The prototype of the MN220 was devel- oped some years back and was trialled at two South African platinum mines. The MN220 builds on this earlier experience and has

Sandvik’s MN220 reef miner can cut to a height of 1,10 m and a width of 4,33 m.

22  MODERN MINING  December 2017

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