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Media / Produkt- och servicenyheter / 150th Boomer 104 to EcoMining

150th Boomer 104 to EcoMining


EcoMining AB, a newly born Swedish mining company, has received the 150th Boomer 104 from Atlas Copco to be used in its narrow seam underground mining operations at Zinkgruvan in central Sweden.

Being the Project leader for the project ”Mining of narrow orebodies” conducted in Zinkgruvan in the mid 1980s, Hans Thorshag, Managing Director of EcoMining says that he is pleased to be back in the environment where he was engaged some 15 years ago. ”At that time the development of underground mining techniques had focused on reducing operational costs by concentrating on large-scale mining methods only. As a result, dimensions of standard underground mining equipment had grown and become too large for economic use in narrow orebodies, below 2m width, where minimizing waste dilution is the prime parameter for profitability.”

The project
The Zinkgruvan project, which involved a selected number of Swedish mining companies, consultants, equipment suppliers and institutions, was initiated to investigate, as a full scale test, the feasibility of applying mechanized mining techniques to a narrow, steep dipping orebody. The mining programme was carried out in a 150 m long orebody, having an average width of 1.3 m, over a vertical height of 50m. After evaluating the pros and cons related to various alternative mining methods, sub level stoping was selected as the mining method. The test programme produced 30,000 tons of ore, and the productivity more than doubled compared to a similar orebody mined with cut-and-fill mining in another area of the Zinkgruvan mine. Atlas Copco supported the project by providing a compact crawler mounted drill rig, Trakker 526, enabling small blast hole diameter drilling, This resulted in smooth stope walls, good fragmentation and limited waste rock dilution. Atlas Copco got the embryo for developing and launching the first rubber tired compact drill rig suited for narrow seam mining using hydraulic rock drilling -the Boomer 104.

Product improvements
During the progressive development of hydraulic rock drills, the Boomer 104 has been subjected to a number of modifications and adaptations and can today be equipped with COP 1432 or COP 1238 or with the powerful COP 1838 as the Rocket Boomer version. The most recent improvement is the new BUT 4 boom which at a first glance looks almost identical with its predecessors. The main improvements relate to the front and the rear rotation devices which have been strengthened, and the boom is furnished with FAM 104, a new automatic parallel holding system, In all directions throughout the entire coverage area, stable and accurate collaring and drilling can be performed. The benefits and power of the three alternative rock drills can now be utilized to their full potential explains Patrik Ekman, Product Manager at Atlas Copco.

EcoMining in small scale mining.
The prime business concept involves excavation of small-scale orebodies, both in existing mines, as a sub-supplier to the owner, and eventually also in fully or partly owned small mines. As Zinkgruvan Mining AB, a company in the Rio Tinto Group, will continue to focus on mining on a large scale basis, the company decided to out-source two small, narrow orebodies which did not suit the existing euipment fleet and the company’s mining competence and organisation. ”This is why we entered the scene”, explains Hans Thorshag. ”We were allocated the two mineralization zones, the east extension of Nygruvan 300, comprising two parallel orebodies and later some narrow parts of Knalla, which all have been left unmined by Zinkgruvan AB.”

Having 5 employees, the Boomer 104, a second hand Wagner HST 1A loader, adequate geological information and a good portion of pioneering spirit we are confident that we will meet our targets and commitments.” Using existing infrastructure the Boomer 104 was brought down the shaft in 20 pieces and assembled on site by Atlas Copco. The first 159,000 tons orebodies to be mined during the coming 4 years contain 9.9% Zn, 1.4% Pb and 40 g/ton Ag having a dip of 80-85 degrees. EcoMining’s commitment is to excavate and deliver the ore to the chutes on the haulage level below. The planned stoping width is 1.5 -2m, and the versatile Boomer 104 will be used for drifting, 7-10 m up holes production drilling, bolt holes as well as for drilling the cut-off raises. The COP 1432 rock drill will use 3.7 m (12’) drill rods for face drilling and by changing the feed beam, 1.5 m (5’) extension rods for the up holes. As the two parallel zones, being 10 m apart, are mined simultaneously, the main part of the development drifts including the ramp will be located in ore. The amount of waste, which will be discharged into old stopes, can therefore be kept to a minimum. ANFO is used with Nonel detonators combined with Gurit for smooth-blasting to minimize over-break.
” To secure stability of the stope walls quite a lot of rock bolting will be required. We are strongly considering the usage of Swellex, but have not yet decided on types and methods”, concludes Hans Thorshag celebrating the first ore blast on November 21st

Profitable mechanisation
”The Boomer 104 represents a milestone in making narrow orebodies adapted for modern mechanized mining. The 150 units delivered so far around the globe, mainly to North America and Australia, have no doubt assisted our customers in making this type of mining competitive and profitable”, summarises Patrik Ekman.

Picture no: 200666 and 200667
A well proven rig for narrow seam underground mining, the Boomer 104 with a width of only 1.2m

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