Orica and Epiroc Rock Drills AB will jointly develop a semi-automated explosives delivery system, enabling safer and more productive blasting operations in underground mines.

As mines go deeper and ore bodies become more remote, the case for blasting automation becomes clearer. The partnership will bring together the deep expertise and experience of two global industry leaders to address the growing demand from customers mining in increasingly more hazardous and challenging underground operations.

Orica Chief Commercial and Technology Officer Angus Melbourne sees this as an exciting partnership.

“Partnering with Epiroc will allow us to leverage our exclusive wireless initiating system, WebGen™, to deliver the critical first steps towards the automation of drill and blast operations.

“Automation is a key pillar of our technology strategy and supports our vision of transforming drill and blast to unlock mining value by creating safer and more sustainable operations.”

Epiroc Senior Executive Vice President Mining and Infrastructure Helena Hedblom said this promising collaboration was an important first step on “an exciting journey toward automating the whole drilling and explosives charging process”.

“It is a vital part of both Epiroc’s and Orica’s vision of making the mining operation as safe, productive and cost efficient as possible,” added Ms Hedblom.

The first prototype system is expected in 2020, with the first commercially available systems to enter service in 2021.

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