NRE Equipment Suite

Industry: Underground mining
Customer: One of the world’s largest mining companies (South African market)
Challenges: Impossibility to fully mechanize the mining cycle (drill, blast, clean & support) in the narrow reef mining equipment which is a very labour intensive, unsafe and inefficient
Customer’s requirements: Development of a fully electrically powered and remotely controlled equipment which will ensure the full mechanization of the mining cycle
Results: Developed electrically powered and remotely controlled NRE Equipment Suite which provides health and environmental benefits of clean power technologies

Who is the customer and what industry does it belong to?

In 2008, DOK-ING was approached by Anglo American to develop electrically powered equipment which could operate in working heights as low as 900 mm in narrow reef mining environments.

Anglo American is one of the largest diversified mining houses in the world.

What were the challenges the customer faced? Why was it necessary to develop a new machine? Why the existing solutions on the market could not be used?

At the time when DOK-ING was appointed to develop this equipment, it was not possible to fully mechanize the mining cycle (drill, blast, clean & support) in the narrow reef mining environment.

Traditionally, mining in narrow reef ore bodies is a very labour intensive, unsafe and inefficient process. In order to improve narrow reef mining safety and efficiency, remotely controlled, mechanized mining equipment was selected by Anglo American to make this possible.

What were the requirements of the customer, what kind of machine did they want to develop for themselves?

The client required suitably sized <650 mm in height equipment, which was fully electrically (battery) powered and could be operated at a safe distance from the working face.

The development commenced with the prototype for battery powered Dozer utilized in the cleaning cycle. Afterwards, prototypes for the drill rig were completed and tested. Finally, a support rig (roof bolter) was developed and tested, ensuring the full mechanization of the mining cycle could be achieved by means of remotely controlled equipment.

This suite of equipment can operate in the stoping width of between 0.9 m and 1.7 m at working angles of up to 22°.

What is the result of the whole process? What kind of machine has been developed? What are its characteristics and advantages over other solutions on the market?

By 2019, a 3rd generation of the full suite of NRE equipment had been produced and is now ready to roll out in narrow reef mining operations within Anglo American and other mining houses.

The NRE Suite comprises of the following equipment:

  • NRE Dozer Prime Mover
  • NRE Dozer Blade/ Bucket Attachment
  • NRE Sweeper Attachment
  • NRE Drill Rig/ Support Rig Prime Mover
  • NRE Drill Rig Tool Attachment
  • NRE Support Rig Tool Attachment

 

Currently, there is no other company in the world which has developed and tested a complete suite of electrically powered, remotely controlled equipment.

The main benefits of this equipment are as follows:

  • Ability to mine in working areas as low as 0.9 m (reduction of dilution – increase in mined grade – g/t)
  • Remotely executed mechanized mining activities
  • Safety improvement – removing personnel from working in hazardous areas
  • Health and environmental benefits of clean power technologies

 

Cost benefits of having the same prime mover and various tool attachments and standardization of equipment interchangeable parts.