Sandvik, Resolute gear up for the fully automated Syama gold mine

7th February 2019

By: Kim Cloete

Creamer Media Correspondent


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CAPE TOWN ( – Global engineering group, Sandvik, is looking forward to moving full steam ahead in its partnership with Resolute Mining to fully automate the Syama underground gold mine. 

The Syama underground mine is set to be the world’s first purpose-built, fully automated sublevel cave gold mine.

Resolute Mining has identified several benefits of working with Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology on automating the Syama mine. These include increased machine productivity and performance, with lower risk and better safety outcomes.

It would also translate into fewer underground personnel, lower production costs per tonne and greater control of mining.

Resolute MD and chief executive officer John Welborn says Sandvik is the only equipment provider that can offer the full suite of proven autonomous equipment and digital solutions required by the gold mining company.

“This partnership between Sandvik and Resolute Mining will see full end-to-end automation and process optimisation into the Syama underground gold mine in Mali, West Africa. We believe the project gives both companies the opportunity to bring cutting-edge technologies together into a large-scale project, creating the mine of the future in Africa,” said Welborn.

Resolute Mining has agreed to work with Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology for three years.

Resolute and Sandvik have designed the operation, collaborating on equipment selection, underground infrastructure design and the ability to match solutions to the miner’s requirement to operate machinery that increases profitability, reduces costs and improves safety.

The partnership has also provided an opportunity for shared knowledge of technologies, linking Sandvik equipment and the software Resolute uses with its value chain and operations.

Sandvik is delivering its systems for planning, analysis, process optimisation and automation, including a full fleet of Sandvik TH663i trucks, LH621, DL421 autonomous drills as well as electrical loaders to fully automate the mine.

Sandvik’s TH663i truck is designed for intelligent mine operations and improved productivity. It also comes automation-ready.

“We are seeing a lot of traction in the industry in moving to automation and digitalization. It will lead to lower operating costs and is the way of the future,” Sandvik Southern Africa business line manager for automation Neil McCoy said at a media briefing about the benefits of digitalization and automation in the mining industry. 

Another development is Sandvik’s OptiMine®3D Mine Visualizer "which brings a three-dimensional model of your mine layout directly to your office", and significantly enhances the comprehension of large mining environments, said Sandvik.

“One of the key benefits of 3D mine visualization is how it enables users to more effectively communicate and interpret data around the current situation and future plans for the mining environment.

“Situational awareness is improved, as information about the mine can easily be studied and understood at a glance. 3D mine visualization is a valuable tool in operations planning, analyzing problematic areas and tracking mine development over time.

Sandvik sales area VP for Southern Africa Simon Andrews, said new technologies provided new opportunities and jobs in the mining industry.

“Due to the automation process, operating costs can be lowered. This will create new opportunities. People will be employed in different ways,” he said.  He said automation and digitalisation of mines also opened up opportunities to people with disabilities to have the same opportunities as everybody else.

It also offered safety and peace of mind.

“Now our predictive skills are becoming better and better, we get advanced notice of geological conditions, so that we know how to handle a situation. This kind of information gives you far more control on what is happening within a mine and how you manage it.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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