Sandvik’s largest-capacity BEV truck for underground arrives in Western Australia

Sandvik TH665B battery electric truck

The Sandvik TH665B battery electric truck, which features an unrivalled 65-tonne payload capacity has landed in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The truck will be showcased at the St Barbara’s Day Parade on the first weekend in December.

Barminco and AngloGold Ashanti Australia will then trial the truck at the Sunrise Dam gold mine to prove its viability in a long ramp haulage application before commercial production of Sandvik TH665B is expected to commence in late 2024.

Sandvik is continuing to execute on its BEV strategy by expanding its product line of battery­electric trucks and loaders to include both larger and smaller size classes. The Sandvik TH665B is engineered to improve productivity, sustainability and cost efficiency in bulk mining operations.

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions Business Development Manager Daniel Yearn said with more than 50 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of underground mining equipment, we’re proud to continue to lead the way in helping customers embrace more sustainable solutions.

“Our 65-tonne battery-electric truck is our latest development in helping hard rock miners and contractors to make the shift towards more productive, emission-free mining,” he said.

The Sandvik TH665B blends proven Sandvik design and advanced technology built around electric drivelines and battery systems. Due to an extremely efficient electric driveline, a fully loaded Sandvik TH665B is expected to be up to 30 per cent faster on a 1:7 ramp than a comparable conventional diesel underground truck. Each of the truck’s four wheels is equipped with independent drives, resulting in a simpler driveline, improved overall efficiency and maximum power output. The Sandvik TH665B electric drivetrain delivers 640kW of continuous power, enabling high acceleration and fast ramp speeds.

The truck is equipped with Sandvik’s patented self-swapping battery system, including the AutoSwap and AutoConnect functions, which enables a quick and easy battery swap in a matter of minutes, and without any major infrastructure like overhead cranes or other heavy handling equipment. The Sandvik TH665B also features a new battery lifting system for improved reliability and the battery cage has been redesigned to improve serviceability, enabling battery module changes without the need to remove the battery packs from the battery cage.

The new operator cabin utilises the same design as the industry leading cabin of Sandvik’s Toro™ TH663i underground truck. The cabin offers premium operator ergonomics with a significant number of adjustment possibilities to facilitate a comfortable operating environment.

The central oscillation frame design results in improved stability, and the front axle suspension ensures a smooth ride on rough roads. The Sandvik TH665B cabin is equipped with joystick steering, large touchscreen colour display and the newest control system, providing easy access to equipment data.

WASMA Sandvik Gala 2022 – Celebrating in Style

WASMA enjoyed a return to it’s traditional Gala format after a few uncertain years, with a sit-down dinner at the Ritz-Carlton on November 5.

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported this fun and lovely event.

The WASMA Sandvik Gala began with two fabulous performers – the Gold Digger statue and roving ‘how did he do that?’ magician and continued with ongoing conversations and dancing throughout the night.

A very big thank you to Gemma Murphy and Darren Stralow who brilliantly MC’d the evening and our speakers including the moving Welcome to Country from Robyn Whadjuk Ballardong Yorga Collard, Head of School WA School of Mines: MECE Professor Michael Hitch, newly-elected WASMA President Kyle De Souza, Sandvik representative Henna Kaariluoto and guest speaker Brett Cunningham.

As Kyle mentioned, WASMA certainly has its own ‘secret sauce’ which makes this community so special.

We couldn’t put this event on without our generous sponsors:

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions
Northern Star Resources Limited
Curtin University
TLT-Turbo GmbH
Red Dirt Metals
Abra Mining Pty Limited

Thank you also to Lux Events for putting on such a great event.

WASMA Focuses on Decarbonisation at RIC event

Decarbonisation was the focus of WASMA’s October Resources Innovation and Collaboration (RIC) event. As an important topic on everyone’s agenda, it was great to hear the insights from leaders in this area and to see the close collaboration in their work.

We heard from Paul Linabury in his electrification role at Barminco, paving the way in mining services; Rob Derries at GOLD FIELDS and the significant vehicle trials they are running within a broader agenda; Kevin West at Dassault Systèmes on simulating new mining models to optimise the next gen electrified mine; Rob Solomon at WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering and how he is driving new methods of learning; and Michelle Keegan as panel chair.

Thanks to our sponsors Dassault Systèmes and TLT-Turbo GmbH. These events wouldn’t be possible without your support.

Sandvik launches AutoMine® Mapping Solution, next generation automation solution

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has introduced AutoMine® Mapping Solution, an innovative new product designed to maximise productivity and improve safety of autonomous vehicle navigation in underground mining operations by utilising mapped data.

AutoMine® Mapping Solution is Sandvik’s next generation product that enables a vehicle to safely record an underground 3D environment with a mine mapping tool, and convert 3D maps to 2D. Faster configuration, and the possibility to continue to operate other equipment within the area while it is being mapped, increases productivity and efficiency.

AutoMine® Mapping Solution’s innovative technology reduces the time and cost involved in manual mapping and enables a safer, more efficient autonomous underground operating environment. It can be used on all types of underground equipment (loaders, trucks and drills), eliminating the need for dedicated equipment and resource to map the area.

“With AutoMine® Mapping Solution, we are progressing to the next generation of innovative automation solutions, bringing new technologies to the underground mining industry which are designed to maximise our customers’ productivity and safety,” said Ty Osborne, Product Line Manager Underground Automation Sales at
Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.

“AutoMine® Mapping Solution is easy to use and turns real-time data from the mine into 3D models, providing a clear customer advantage in the planning and prioritising of their automated operations and increasing production control,” Osborne said.

AutoMine® Mapping Solution will be available to order later in 2022.

Diggers Sundowner 2022

WASMA’s 2022 Diggers Sundowner lived up to expectations of being one of the highlights during the week of the Diggers and Dealers Conference.

It was also an opportunity to acknowledge one of WASMA’s most respected graduates Neil Warburton, who was presented with life membership.

Widely-respected WASMA member Neil Warburton awarded life membership

Neil Warburton with WASMA President Christian Price after being awarded WASMA life membership

Story by Ngaire McDiarmid

Mentoring people and seeing them succeed is one of mining veteran Neil Warburton’s top three career highlights.

His willingness to give back to the industry where he’s enjoying a standout career led to being awarded a WA School of Mines Alumni life membership at WASMA’s Sundowner in Kalgoorlie during Diggers and Dealers.

“To be recognised for the work I’ve put back into the School of Mines and the Alumni itself, I’m very humbled and very proud,” he said.

“It’s a great honour.”

Neil is Chair of the WASMA Advisory Council and has spent 40-plus years in the industry – although mining wasn’t originally on his radar, growing up on a dairy farm near Brunswick Junction in WA’s southwest.

He followed his two older brothers to board at Scotch College in Perth but “a disagreement with the headmaster about how the school should be run” saw him finish his education at Bunbury Senior High School.

The family business had meanwhile been split between his older brothers and father, who told him to find something else to do with his life as they were not going to split the farm again for him – which was “probably the best thing Dad ever did”, Neil said with a smile.

He recalled a school visit by WASM explaining how its graduates were regarded worldwide and was inspired to apply, receiving a scholarship to start mining engineering in 1974 at the Kalgoorlie Campus.

Neil describes his first job after graduation in 1979, with Western Mining Corporation in Kambalda, as a career highlight.

“The amount of freedom they gave me as a junior mining engineer, I think at the age of 24 or 25 I was producing about 8% of the world’s nickel, being in charge at one of the larger underground mines there,” Neil said.

“WMC really looked after people and encouraged new ideas and new technology … and really gave the grads the experience and the know-how and the training that you need to gain a rounded background in all types of mining techniques and challenges.”

His next highlight was joining Barminco in the late 1990s, becoming CEO in 2007 and building up the company (now part of Perenti Group) – doubling revenue and establishing it as the largest underground hard rock mining contractor in Australia and West Africa.

“The third highlight of my career is actually training and mentoring people,” Neil said.

“At one point we had 50 to 60 mining engineers that were working within the Barminco group and the majority of those were out of the WA School of Mines.

“We were fortunate enough to mentor them, train them up to understand that people make good mines work and a lot of them are now running significant, large operations like Bill Beament and Stuart Tonkin to name a few.

“That’s another highlight, seeing them do so well.”

As for his own mentor, Neil named industry icon Sir Laurence Brodie-Hall, who was a director of WMC when Neil left the company in 1988 and had approached him, along with the chairman of Coolgardie Gold, to become managing director of the gold miner.

“Our board meetings used to be in Sydney, so we spent quite a bit of time on the plane every month, going over and back, talking,” Neil said.

He said Sir Laurence provided leadership on how to handle people, crises and go through downturns.

“He said ‘You know, the lights get turned back on again, you’ve just got to buckle down’ – he was an exceptional person, leader and a really good mentor which his wisdom and advice I still use today in the companies I’m associated with.”

Neil is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, plus sits on the board of several ASX-listed mining and services companies.

He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Curtin University earlier this year for distinguished service to Curtin and the mining and resources sector.

Neil cited the old adage – the harder you work, the luckier you get.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be lucky enough throughout my working life, and hopefully there’s a few more years yet,” Neil said.

He hopes to see sustained strong leadership and high standards at WASM so graduates continue to be regarded among the best in the world and the school retains its world-wide acknowledged “mining excellence” brand.

He also paid tribute to the Alumni for its role in supporting networking and promoting the industry, saying it had helped improve the perception of a career in mining and associated industries.

“I would certainly recommend it to anyone,” he said.

“The world’s your limit and with the revolution to decarbonisation, the mining industry is now front and centre in this new industrialisation era utilising clean energy metals.”

WASMA showcases players in Australia’s space industry

The space industry is in place in Australia and well underway to keep growing, not only that, it exists right under our nose here in WA. The State already works closely with the Australian and European Space Agencies…. which you can see with the ground stations (aka the dish) in New Norcia!

In August, the WASM Alumni collaborated with AROSE (Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth), a member driven consortium based in WA, to open up the discussion between resources and the space sector, to inspire and excite! The opportunities are already here to transfer space technology into mining, and to leverage the wealth of experience we have in our long history from remote operations in the Pilbara… directly into the Australian lunar rover space mission!

We heard from ….

The first AROSE Chair and unofficially Chief Inspiration Officer at AROSE, David Flanagan AM CitWA (and WASM Alumni!)

Space Director at Fugro, Dawn McIntosh (and a 20 year NASA Alumni!)

And our panel chair, AROSE Program Director, Michelle Keegan (also WASM Alumni!), and

The States first Space Director at JTSI, James Yuen.

Thanks to our long term supporter Northern Star Resources Limited

Thanks also to our new MC expert, Ben Jaggard

Alumni members back their commodities at April RIC event

In April, we held our second Resources Innovation Collaboration (RIC) event for the year. It was held online, however all upcoming events are planned to continue face to face.

We were lucky to have three great Alumni members speak at our last event, with the theme focused on backing their commodity. Working across both gold and battery minerals, we had some healthy competitiveness displayed across the panellists. Backing Lithium was Pilbara Minerals CEO Ken Brinsden, backing Nickel was Blackstone Minerals MD Scott Williamson and long time gold supporter Bellevue Gold CEO Darren Stralow.

At such an important time globally, every one of their commodities is critical to what we need on our decarbonisation paths. While not as critical to building batteries, it was very exciting to hear the Bellevue Gold story to be the most sustainable gold miner…. right here in the Goldfields. Thanks again to Ken, Scott and Darren… great work all round on the panel and driving your commodities

We look ahead to June for our next event where WASM:MECE will showcase their research into both battery minerals and also the integration of digital technology into our operations.

Watch video here