First electric jumbo drill trial at BHP’s Olympic Dam

Mining giant BHP is trialling its first fully electric-powered jumbo drill at Olympic Dam in the state’s north in a bid to cut the use of high-emission diesel.

Nov 29, 2022, updated Nov 29, 2022
Trainee operator Emily Coutts with the electric jumbo drill at BHP's Olympic Dam mine . Photo: BHP

Trainee operator Emily Coutts with the electric jumbo drill at BHP's Olympic Dam mine . Photo: BHP

The copper and nickel miner, which is now undertaking due diligence on its $9.6 billion bid for South Australian-headquartered OZ Minerals, is testing the 28.7-tonne, 14.5-metre long Epiroc Boomer M2 jumbo drill for “efficiency, productivity and comfort” over the next 12 months.

BHP’s general manager Olympic Dam Andrew Harris said the trial was happening in conjunction with Epiroc Australia as the company explores new ways to produce copper more sustainably.

“Collaboration with supply partners like Epiroc will be critical to developing the technology required to reduce emissions, while ensuring we continue to improve the safety and productivity of our operations,” Harris said.

The mining company has announced several new projects to tackle its high-emission operations this year saying it has a medium-term target to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 per cent by the 2030 financial year, from a 2020 baseline.

BHP said about 40 per cent of its operational emissions from 2020 came from diesel-powered vehicles. It currently uses 16 diesel-powered Epiroc jumbos at Olympic Dam.

Jumbo drill rigs are used to enlarge underground mining by drilling holes that are then loaded with explosives to open up new areas. After blasting, the jumbos install large bolts to stabilise the mine walls.

The announcement follows recent news of the revised $9.6 billion takeover bid from BHP of Adelaide-headquartered OZ Minerals, with the mining giant upping its first offer made in August by more than $1 billion.

BHP’s new offer to purchase all of OZ Minerals’ shares at a cash price of $28.25 per share is a 13 per cent increase from the $25.00 per share offer OZ Minerals rejected, saying it undervalued the company.

OZ Minerals operates copper-gold mines at Prominent Hill and Carrapateena in the state’s Far North and moved it headquarters to Adelaide from Melbourne in 2015. It also has mines in Brazil and the West Musgrave copper-nickel project in Western Australia.

BHP now employs more than 10,000 South Australians and this year announced record profits with underlying earnings of $57 billion, boosted by higher copper prices and a strong finish to the financial year by the Olympic Dam mine.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.