OZ Minerals has started a new European Union-funded collaboration project together with several mining companies, equipment and system manufacturers and universities. The three-year project, called NEXGEN SIMS, will support new technologies, methods and processes that will enable a more sustainable and efficient carbon neutral mining operation.
A key aspect of the project is to develop autonomous carbon neutral mining processes. This includes the use of battery-electric mining equipment, full utilization of 5G for optimal connectivity and positioning, autonomous material handling, AI powered traffic and fleet control and collaboration among machines. The project is also focusing on the mine worker of the future - ‘the modern miner’ -and safety, for example by developing autonomous mine inspection technology.
The project is coordinated by mining equipment and service supplier Epiroc and the other project partners consist of mining companies Boliden, Agnico Eagle Finland, KGHM Polska, K+S and OZ Minerals; services and system suppliers Ericsson, Mobilaris MCE, AFRY and KGHM Cuprum; business developer LTU Business and universities Luleå University of Technology and RWTH Aachen University – all based in Europe, except for OZ Minerals which is based in Australia.
OZ Minerals’ CEO, Andrew Cole, said this is one of the ways the company is moving towards its aspiration to work with the best talent and capability no matter where it resides, driving an outcome-based organisation.
NEXGEN SIMS builds on the successful H2020 EU-sponsored SIMS project, which ran between 2017 and 2020 and played an important role in advancing sustainable mining operations, partly through the use of battery-electric machines.
NEXGEN SIMS, Next Generation Carbon Neutral Pilots for Smart Intelligent Mining Systems,
started May 1, 2021 and will run until April 30, 2024. The total budget for this project is EUR 16 million.
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.