Atlas Copco has been developing the product line in close cooperation with global mining corporations with the goal to move towards a continuous mining system based on mechanical rock cutting.
The new-generation Mobile Miner product line currently comprises three different product models.
Mikael Ramström, director of mechanical rock excavation at Atlas Copco, said: “We use a well-known technique, packaged in a small and flexible machine. We are confident that this will be a success that could change the mining industry.”
The biggest problem with mining hard rock is that it is difficult to break mechanically. Using the traditional drill-and-blast method is a slow start-and-stop process. The mine has to be evacuated before a blast, and various gases are created by the explosion. When using mechanical rock excavation based on soft rock pics, the cutting parts wear down quickly, advance rates are low and energy consumption is high. Atlas Copco is now introducing steel-disc cutter technology to the mining industry, a technology used and proven in the civil construction industry.
Johnny Lyly, global product manager for Mobile Miner at Atlas Copco, said: “With the new-generation Mobile Miner, the rock-cutting process is continuous and predictable, which makes planning and scheduling much easier – a critical factor for the mining industry to become more cost-efficient and predictable in their operations.”
The Mobile Miner does less damage to the surrounding rock and reduces the risk of fall of ground. Being automated and remotely controlled also means that operators can be removed from hazardous areas of the mine. In that way, this kind of innovation and modernisation can improve both safety and the long-time performance of a mine.