World leading mining consortium collaborates in EU-sponsored project for carbon neutral sustainable mining

NEXGEN SIMS Work Package Information

WP 1: Transformation and design strategies for electrification and automation.​

Work package leader: Jenny Greberg, Luleå University of Technology

This WP will formulate strategies for a safe introduction of autonomous carbon neutral mining machineries. Systems need to be developed and demonstrated in order to reduce the investment risk and increase the confident for the European and global mining industry to fully capitalize in new and green autonomous equipment.

WP1 Tasks

1. Overall energy strategies and procedures for the green mine of the future
2. Mine design of the future
3. Autonomous and safe battery charging

WP 2: Digital Miner

Work package leader: Jan Johansson, Luleå University of Technology

WP2 will build on experiences from SIMS project to formulate a concrete vision for future mining workplaces on human terms–we call this vision the Digital Miner. This vision will serve as a guide for the other WPs on how to consider human and social aspects when designing and implementing new technology. The vision will also be an important part in developing new educational programmes. To build awareness, trust and acceptance, it is important that all stakeholders in technology formulate this vision. A task for WP2, in this, is also to stimulate the discussion on gender and social acceptance issues and ensure they are considered in development work.

WP2 Tasks

1. Specifications and requirements for the digital miner
2. Creating the vision of the digital miner
3. Competence and skills of future miners
4. A digital miner for improved gender equality and social sustainability
5. Realising the digital miner

WP 3: Connectivity and positioning

Work package leader: Sendianto Sutikno, Ericsson

WP3 will design a 5G network optimized for mining systems that subsequently is used in WP5, WP6 and WP7 to demonstrate how a 5G network solves comprehensive connectivity needs for a complete mine system. Additionally, the aim is to investigate the need for targeted solutions for specific applications. Network requirements used in the design work are derived from application use cases as described including human operators and machine to machine. WP3 will also investigate operational aspects. Operations in a continuously evolving mine have high demands on reliability, local survivability and reconfiguration ability, also posing requirements to locally monitor network status and service quality which we also investigate. Furthermore, WP3 will develop technologies for satisfying the vendors’ need to equip machines with connected devices, as well as to set requirements on connectivity in the environments where the machines will operate. Finally, WP3 investigates multisensorial and data-driven fused 6D positioning for automated mining operations.

WP3 Tasks

1. Vertical use cases, applications and requirements
2. Connectivity solutions for mines, demo pilot use cases
3. Operational roles, tools and processes for connectivity in mines
4. Multisensorial and data-driven fused positioning for mine operations (development)
5. Positioning as a service
6. Evaluations

WP 4: AI-powered fleet optimization

Work package leader: Urban Sandlund, Mobilaris

This WP is centred around creating the best possible toolset to measure, monitor, analyse and control utilization of the production apparatus in an underground mine. Using Smart material handling and smart mobility capabilities, the work will expand on currently known concepts on measuring performance, quality and time utilization, automate information gathering from machines, analyse when things are not going as planned and detect probable causes even ahead in time in order to continuously optimize fleet utilization in an adaptive way. This will be done in a mixed fleet environment with different machine types, different vendors and varying machine autonomy levels. The initial baseline for the WP4activities will be the latest results from the previous successful SIMS project and follow closely industry evolution in this domain while advancing the developments towards further AI-based adaptiveness and online reconfiguration and optimization. Being software heavy, it is crucial that all aspects in this work package secure using the very latest technologies in data processing, artificial intelligence, edge computing and next-generation networking to secure the relevance of the result and to ensure a quick path to commercialization.

WP4 Tasks

1. Evolved system utilization concepts
2. Methods and tools for utilization analysis and prediction
3. Distributed event automation mechanisms for adaptive system control

WP 5: Robotized measurement inspections before and after blasting.​

Work package leader: Tobias Mathiak, K+S

The main objective of WP5 is to demonstrate novel robotized solutions for performing fully safe measurement inspections in underground working environments with possibly high safety risks in a mine, namely the active extraction zones and the shafts. Thus, WP5 will develop novel mobile and intelligent sensing technologies, that will be integrated into the sequel in rapidly deployed autonomous aerial vehicles (drones) to perform the task of visual monitoring, gas measurements and general inspection in a fully autonomous mode. The WP5 technologies will be fully demonstrated in the field at TRL6-7 and will also measure the direct impact of the adoption of these robotized measurement technologies on the overall mine safety and production performance. WP5 will also utilize positioning and communication technologies from WP3, while it will link some of its activities to the following WP6 that focus on the after blasting loading operations.

WP5 Tasks

1. Specifications and requirements
2. Sensing technologies for before and after blasting operations
3. Air and gas distribution modelling for robotized inspection
4. Robotized inspection of muck pile distribution after blasting
5. Robotized inspection of air quality at the face
6. Autonomous drone-based shaft inspection
7. Small scale iterative integration, evaluation and development
8. Field evaluation and demonstration

WP 6: Autonomous material handling at the face

Work package leader: Anders Fröyseth, Epiroc

The main objective of WP6 is to develop and demonstrate a fully automated loading cycle of a loader (bucket filling) and dumping into a truck, this performed in autonomous mode without interventions and assistance from the operator in order to improve the overall productivity and safety. Furthermore, WP6 will physically demonstrate machines performing a full autonomous cycle that includes mucking, tramming and dumping the ore into the truck.

WP6 Tasks

1. Autonomous bucket loading cycle
2. Perception for bucket loading
3. Draw point control
4. Autonomous battery-powered machines
5. Autonomous dumping in a mine truck
6. Final demonstration and evaluation

WP 7: Logistics and rock stress monitoring

Work package leader: Anders Fröyseth, Epiroc

The main objective of WP7 is to demonstrate ore transportation (logistics within the mine) using autonomous machines that can either collaborate with manually operated machines or be used in the area, where the manual operations occur (performed either by manually operated machines or by personnel, managed mixed traffic). This WP will also investigateand specify the requirements needed in terms of laws and regulation of implementing this technology within the mine. Within the WP7, a rock stress monitoring system will also be developed and demonstrated, aiming to increase the effectiveness of intentionally induced seismic events during the absence of the crew.

WP7 Tasks

1. Specification and requirements
2. Machine collaboration in mixed traffic
3. Traffic and fleet control
4. Final demonstration and evaluation
5. Rock stress relief monitoring system

WP 8: Outreach

Work package leader: Niclas Dahlström, LTU Business

The main objective of WP8 is to ensure a successful project outreach. This includes dissemination, communication, education and exploitation of the project’s results. This involves:
• Effective dissemination and communication of the project results to industry, decision-makers, the scientific community, young people/students and the general public
• Effective communication and education of the sustainable intelligent mine, and mining and metals as an enabler for the modern society.
• Ensuring the transfer of project results into the marketplace

WP8 Tasks

1. Dissemination and communication
2. Education
3. Exploitation and innovation management
4. Clustering and international cooperation

WP 9: Project Management

Work package leader: Jan Gustafsson, Epiroc

​The main objective of WP9 is to ensure the timely and qualitative achievement of the project results through administrative coordination. Another focus is to ensure the quality control of the project results and the risk management of the project as a whole and to provide the timely and efficient administrative and financial management of the project and the compliance with contractual commitments.

WP9 Tasks

1. Administrative and financial coordination
2. Day-to-day management
3. Technical coordination of demonstration and upscaling activities