The inaugural fully-automated, battery-electric Sandvik DL422iE drill is now operational at IGO Nova in Australia

battery-electric Sandvik DL422iE drill

IGO and Barminco have deployed Sandvik’s DL422iE longhole drill at the Nova site in Western Australia. This move marks the introduction of the first fully-automated, battery-electric drill rig in Australia.

Barminco, operating within IGO’s nickel-copper-cobalt mine in the Fraser Range, has been at the forefront of testing electrified mining technologies. Both IGO and Barminco are part of the Electric Mine Consortium, an initiative that aims to advance the adoption of electric technologies in mining. Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions also aligns with this consortium.

In July, Barminco acquired and successfully commissioned the Sandvik DL422iE, which is now operational. Darren Kwok, Head of Mining Electrification and Technology at Barminco, stated:

“Fast-tracking decarbonization stands as a key sustainability goal for us, and employing battery-electric vehicles in underground settings presents evident advantages. Minimizing or eliminating diesel emissions not only enhances the working conditions for our workforce but also holds the potential to enhance efficiency and profitability. We are eagerly anticipating the positive impacts that this new Sandvik rig can bring.”

Chris Carr, Head of Technical Services and Acting General Manager Nova at IGO, emphasized:

“At IGO, we are committed to embracing a clean energy future, and this commitment extends to our underground mining endeavors, where electrifying our fleets will result in a safer, more environmentally friendly, and highly productive operation. The introduction of the new Sandvik drill marks a significant stride in our dedication to achieving net-zero status for our direct operations and projects by 2035, if not earlier.”

The drill incorporates an electric driveline comprising a battery package and electric motor, ensuring emission-free tramming and decreased thermal load. The DL422iE also showcases Sandvik’s patented Charging While Drilling technology, a groundbreaking feature that shortens battery charging times without necessitating extra infrastructure.

Nathan Cunningham, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ Business Line Manager, noted:

“There’s substantial customer enthusiasm for Sandvik’s battery-electric vehicle solutions, which contribute to eliminating diesel from underground mines. Achieving a fully electric underground operation can also have a cascading impact on ventilation capacity calculations. This holds a dual advantage, particularly for new mines, enhancing worker health and lessening the effort needed to meet ventilation standards.”

Forming a segment of the Sandvik 400iE series of drill rigs, the DL422iE contributes to a comprehensive battery-electric answer for virtually every underground obstacle.

“Among its counterparts are the Sandvik DD422iE mining and tunnelling jumbo, and the Sandvik DS412iE rock bolter,” Cunningham highlights. “The DD422iE was introduced in 2016 and has since achieved over 4 million meters of drilled holes and more than 18,000 kilometers of emission-free tramming. Meanwhile, the DS412iE rock bolter, launched in 2021, is swiftly revolutionizing mines globally.”

Kwok further emphasized:

“Electrification and decarbonization rank high among Barminco’s priorities, representing crucial trends in the sector, along with automation. Therefore, we are pleased to collaborate with Sandvik as a technology partner, delivering cutting-edge solutions that address the challenges ahead.”

Under complete ownership of IGO, the Nova Operation employs long hole and sub-level open stoping methods with paste backfill. In the fiscal year 2022, it achieved a combined production of 26,675 tons of nickel, 11,483 tons of copper, and 982 tons of cobalt.

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