EU funds next-gen smart mining project
NEXGEN SIMS leverages partnerships for intelligent mining Metal Tech News – May 12, 2021
Last updated 5/18/2021 at 3:15pm
Mining companies, equipment manufacturers, engineering firms, tech companies, and universities have come together under a European Union-funded program aimed at developing new technologies, methods, and processes to increase the efficiency and sustainability of global mining operations.
This three-year project known as Next-Generation Carbon-Neutral Pilots for Smart Intelligent Mining Systems, or NEXGEN SIMS, is building upon the successful sustainable mining operations advanced under a previous EU-funded SIMS project.
Being led by Sweden-based mining equipment manufacturer Epiroc, NEXGEN SIMS will leverage the wide array of expertise brought by the partners to create safer, more efficient, and sustainable mines of the future.
"Collaboration and partnership among stakeholders that have different areas of expertise is increasingly important to successfully advance complex digital and automated systems that will improve the mining industry's environmental impact, work environment and productivity," says Epiroc President and CEO Helena Hedblom. "We are proud to be part of and to lead the NEXGEN SIMS project, which will play a crucial role in this positive development."
Centered on the development of autonomous carbon-neutral mining processes to improve mining efficiency and sustainability, this program will also work on enhancing the safety and productivity of the miner-of-the-future with the incorporation of new technologies such as autonomous mine inspections.
Learn more about how Boston Dynamics' robot dog Spot is being used to carry out autonomous mine inspections at Spot is the golden retriever of mine data in the April 28, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News.
Any automated mining system will require robust and reliable connectivity, which is being brought to the NEXGEN SIMS by Sweden-based Ericsson.
"Our Ericsson Dedicated Networks solutions bring reliable connectivity and safety to the mines. This in turn enables the implementation of new use-cases that rely on it and that are not possible to realize with legacy mine networks today," said Thomas Norén, head of Ericsson Dedicated Networks. "Ericsson welcomes the opportunity to support dedicated projects to develop carbon-free mining processes to directly reduce operational emissions in the mining sector, while creating a safer and more autonomous mining process."
A more in-depth discussion on the global impact and direction of connectivity for the mining industry can be found at Connecting mines to the digital world in the March 31, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News.
NEXGEN SIMS project partners also include mining companies Boliden, Agnico Eagle Finland, KGHM Polska, K+S and OZ Minerals; engineering and research firms Mobilaris MCE, AFRY and KGHM Cuprum; as well as Luleå University of Technology and RWTH Aachen University.
All the partners are from Europe, except for Australia-based OZ Minerals.
NEXGEN SIMS started on May 1 and will run until April 30, 2024. The EU has budgeted 16 million euros (US$19.5 million) for this program that will focus on advancing the next generation mine complete with battery-electric and autonomous mining equipment, 5G networks for optimal connectivity and positioning of this equipment, and artificial intelligence-powered traffic control and collaboration among machines.