The Kittilä mine is taking part in the Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems (SIMS) project, under the European Union’s most extensive research and innovation program, Horizon 2020. Partners in the SIMS project include manufacturers of mining equipment and systems, mining companies, and universities.
Our role in the project is to offer a testing environment for three battery-powered mining machines, developed and manufactured by Epiroc. The first of these, a Boomer E2 Battery drill rig arrived at the mine in late April. The other two machines to be tested, a MT42 Battery mine truck and a ST14 Battery scoop tram, arrived at the mine at the end of August. Before starting the test operation, our operation and maintenance personnel receive appropriate training. The test use will continue till December.
“This is an important and an exciting project for us, and we are delighted to have our equipment tested at the Kittilä mine,” said Epiroc project manager Jan Gustaffson at the kickoff meeting for the testing project at the mine, who explained, “Battery-powered mining equipment offers many benefits. In addition to providing safer and more environmentally friendly technology, it helps to create a more pleasant work environment.”
“We naturally expect at least the same level of productivity from the battery-powered machines as from the diesel-powered ones. At this stage, the battery technology still needs proving when it comes to, for instance, battery life. Also, we will need to learn to transport the machines so as to not cause problems with the battery,” says the underground mine’s production manager Jari Kolehmainen. He concludes, “It will be great for the operators to have an opportunity to experience the latest technologies. We hope the test results will be good.”