Engineering & Mining Journal

AUG 2018

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 85 of 107

84 E&MJ • AUGUST 2018 MINING IN PERU A World of Innovation Technology and service providers keep incorporating new concepts to improve productivity and safety The mining industry is constantly evolving. If the last downcycle was fertile ground to look for new ideas that would bring more ef- ficiency to production processes, the current upswing in commodity prices may offer the perfect opportunity to properly test those new technologies. At the end of the day, there is more cash available in the market, and final users may be a bit more flexible with their budgets to give the latest gadgets a try. For the global original equipment manu- facturers (OEMs), innovation is a long-term pillar with a clear strategy. Epiroc, the new company formed when Atlas Copco spun off its mining business, has defined four areas of interest for innovation: electrification and the use of battery-powered equipment; au- tomation related to the possibility of having remote operations; interoperability with all machines compiling big data that will allow for fast decision-making; and technologies for rock excavation, with the idea of poten- tially replacing drill-and-blast methods with continuous mining techniques. Gonzalo Díaz Pró, general manager of Ferreyros, the Caterpillar distributor in Peru, explained the impact that continuous mining could have on the industry: "Foregoing the need for blasting is the dream of all miners, because blasting drives the whole extrac- tion process: you need to clean up, prepare, evacuate, blast and go back." Over the years, especially since Caterpillar's DBT acquisi- tion, the brand has been investing in this field, and it is already testing a continuous mining prototype for hard rock in Chile. Ángel Tobar, general manager for the Andean region at Epiroc, developed on the advantages that battery-powered equipment can bring to the mines, especially as under- ground operations move deeper and health, safety and environment (HSE) regulations worldwide become more stringent: "At this moment, the initial cost of a battery-powered machine is higher, but if you look at the total cost of operation, you can obtain significant savings in areas such as mine ventilation, by having smaller tunnel sections, and also you would avoid the operational delays related to fumes underground," he explained. Caterpillar also has a significant presence underground with its family of load-haul- dump machines (LHDs). Díaz Pró of Ferrey- ros related: "Caterpillar bought Elphinstone in the early 2000s, a brand of underground equipment with traditional configurations and, little by little, Caterpillar has incorpo- rated technologies such as sensors, payload With high altitudes and both open pit and underground mines, Peru is fertile ground to test new technologies. Photo courtesy of Nexa Resources.

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