Modern Mining December 2017


so – is Hecla’s Greens Creek silver mine in Alaska, which has the system installed in two areas where bulk longhole mining methods are used. The mine reports that – among other benefits – it has been able to increase mucking time by operating its loaders between shifts when personnel cannot be underground due to blasting activities. The latest addition to the AutoMine™ portfolio is AutoMine™ Tele-Remote for underground loaders, which provides functionality for smart tele-operation and monitoring of a single loader from the safety of a remote location. It is easy to set up, oper- ate and maintain without a need for advanced technical skills. Designed specifically for quick production area deployment, AutoMine™ Tele- Remote is particularly suitable for continuously changing mining environments, such as appli- cations with small stopes or mine development. Another important point that McCoy men- tions is that Sandvik is delivering the tools – packaged as Sandvik OptiMine ® – to enable mine managers to have a real-time view of their underground mining operations. “OptiMine ® is a suite of tracking, scheduling and produc- tion management tools designed for the control of both manual and automatic mining opera- tions,” he explains. “It’s a modular system that allows various modules to be combined as needed to build up the required functionality. Put simply, it gives managers the ability to see exactly what is going on in their mines on a real time basis, to manage processes and operations and to measure progress.” The two latest modules in the OptiMine ® offering are 3D Mine Visualiser and Drill Plan Visualiser. The 3D Mine Visualiser module generates a three-dimensional mine layout which significantly enhances comprehension of large mining environments and is a valuable tool in operations planning, analysing prob- lematic areas and tracking mine development over time. For its part, Drill Plan Visualiser is

Above: OptiMine® is a suite of tracking, scheduling and production management tools designed for the control of both manual and automatic mining operations. Left: The latest addition to the AutoMine portfolio is AutoMine™ Tele-Remote for underground loaders.

an easy-to-use visualisation tool for production and rock support drilling. “Sandvik sees the opportunity to develop mechanised skills with our customers and other stakeholders as key to the success of this momentum in mechanisation,” says McCoy. Commenting on the likely progress of mechanisation and automation in the Southern African context, McCoy says there are several opportunities inclusive of current operations, those being developed and future projects. “Many of the larger mining houses have publicly stated the need to mechanise and automate to the fullest extent possible,” McCoy adds. “It’s a long road we’ve been on to develop the appropriate machines and systems to facilitate mechanisation and automation of mining operations but much of the technology is now mature and it definitely represents the future of mining.” 

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