Resolute Mining and Sandvik have established a strategic framework to fully automate the Syama underground gold mine in Mali, West Africa.
The underground development, which is scheduled for first ore this year, will be automated around a Sandvik production system under the plan.
Resolute and Sandvik have worked closely to design the underground mine, collaborating on equipment selection, underground infrastructure design, and the ability to match that with the ASX-listed miner’s ambitions to operate machinery that will increase profitability, reduce costs and improve safety.
The partnership has also provided a unique opportunity for interrelationship between technologies, linking Sandvik equipment and the software Resolute uses with their entire value chain and operations.
Sandvik is delivering the AutoMine and OptiMine systems for analysis, process optimisation and automation, including a full fleet of Sandvik TH663 trucks and Sandvik LH514E electrical loaders, to automate the mine.
The system, which will be commissioned this year, will also feature a range of development, production and bolting rigs and rock tools.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology president Lars Engström said the collaboration was bringing full end-to-end automation and process optimisation into an underground mine.
“I believe that the Syama project gives us both a unique opportunity to bring together cutting edge technologies into a large scale project and create the mine of the future in Africa,” Engström said.
Resolute, which launched production at Syama in 2009, delivered a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the operation in June 2016.
The DFS extended Syama’s mine life to 2028 and outlined the immediate development of the underground operation. Syama’s output is expected to grow to 250,000oz/y through the $95 million underground development.
Resolute managing director and chief executive officer John Welborn said Sandvik was the only equipment provider that could offer the full suite of proven autonomous equipment and digital solutions that the gold miner required.
“A key focus of our business is to ensure we maximise the potential of this outstanding deposit for our stakeholders by delivering a world class underground mine characterised by a highly trained and skilled local workforce, a safe working environment and industry leading productivity,” Welborn said.
Perth-based Resolute also owns the Ravenswood gold mine near Townsville in Queensland.