May 17, 2020

How-To: Optimize Drilling and Blast Effectiveness

Sandvik mining
Intelligent Sandvik Underground Rock Excavat
2 min
How-To: Optimize Drilling and Blast Effectiveness
In the mining sector, drilling and blasting requires immense knowledge, experience and skill set. Its an art form that takes years to perfect.Mining ser...

In the mining sector, drilling and blasting requires immense knowledge, experience and skill set.  It’s an art form that takes years to perfect.

Mining services company Sandvik Mining has launched new software to optimize drilling and blasting, making it easier for miners to streamline the process.

The new software, Intelligent Sandvik Underground Rock Excavation iSure, offers mining companies guidelines for different stages of the mine site drilling and blasting process through a suite of tools designed to improve speed and efficiency.

“The software is unique and has the ability to advance mine tunneling on the African continent to a higher level. Not only does it guarantee smooth tunneling work, but it can specifically guide users on the different stages of the drilling and blasting pattern process to achieve the best possible results,” says Saltiel Pule, Sandvik's business line manager for underground drills.

iSure provides hole location accuracy to assist miners in reducing the need for scaling and better rock load ability and smoother collaring.

“iSure combines tunnel-line, theoretical pro-file design and drill-plan design, as well as data collection analysis. Rather than relying on less accurate traditional approaches, it provides users with tunneling patterns to be configured at the end of the round (when the success of blasts is critical). iSure also offers a project tree that combines all tunnel plans in one project and can include either one tunnel plan or several different plans,” Pule says.

The new software by Sandvik also introduces the company’s 400-series mining jumbos, including the DD421-60C drill rig, to provide operators with hard data to view blasting outcomes and make adjustments for the best outcome possible.

According to Pule, iSure has been released in South Korea, Switzerland and Sweden with significant results to improvements in tunneling performance.

“Technology like this truly has the ability to transform the industry and we believe it is our duty to ensure local mines adopt and embrace technology in order to remain competitive on the global stage.”

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Jun 30, 2021

Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech

Rio Tinto
3 min
Rio Tinto and Alcoa’s JV project ELYSIS has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint

Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.

ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production

ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.

The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.

The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).

The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.

The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.

ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.

ELYSIS technology at a glance:

  • The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
  • The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
  • In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
  • ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.

ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.

Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.


Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”

Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”

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