Epiroc lifts lid on Apatit automation

Russian company PhosAgro has improved productivity by 20%, decreased risk to workers and increased utilisation of one machine by 95% at the Kirovsk branch of the Apatit mine using Epiroc’s automation technology
Epiroc lifts lid on Apatit automation Epiroc lifts lid on Apatit automation Epiroc lifts lid on Apatit automation Epiroc lifts lid on Apatit automation Epiroc lifts lid on Apatit automation

Operator in the control room at the Apatit JSC Kirovsk branch

Samantha Hall

Epiroc used Telermote options on three Simba production drill rigs, as well as ABC Total and Certiq telematics solutions at the mine. Epiroc's ‘6th Sense' connectivity system combines these automating and digitising technologies.

Epiroc's Teleremote technology allows one operator to control multiple rigs above ground, with one drill runner underground. Kirovsk had one operator controlling six rigs and recently implemented a second operator to control four additional rigs. The operator monitors processes through cameras attached to production rigs.

Data is collected by sensors to monitor real-time performance. The Certiq telematics system monitors the drill rigs' performance by collecting and analysing machine data. Apatit was testing remote transmission of drilling plans from the geological and mining information system directly to one of the Simba drill rigs.

As a result, PhosAgro no longer needed to remove workers during the ventilation process, was minimising human error through the collection and analysis of real-time data, and was operating multiple rigs without intervention.

PhosAgro is the primary producer of phosphate-based fertilisers worldwide. The only producer of nepheline concentrate in Russia, the Kirovsk branch of Apatit, is also the largest producer of phosphate ore and phosphate rock.

The company is also considering providing a second mine at the Kirovsk branch, Rasvumchorrsky, with teleremote drilling capabilities.