The world’s first mechanised development charging system, AvatelTM is set to enter Newcrest’s Cadia underground mine in the later half of 2022 as the first commercial trial globally.
Co-developed with Epiroc, AvatelTM is a first-of-its-kind semi-automated explosives delivery system designed to remove people from harm’s way and drive productivity in underground development operations. The innovation enables a single operator to prepare and wirelessly charge a development face from within the safety of an enclosed cabin, while providing superior blast control and operational reliability with Orica and Epiroc’s flagship technologies.
The award-winning solution will offer mine operators like Newcrest, the largest producer of gold in Australia an effective solution to keep personnel out of harm’s way, by moving from traditional to mechanised development charging. A critical enabler of AvatelTM is the second- generation wireless initiation initiating system, WebGenTM 200 which will eliminate the need for wired connections and subsequent exposure to crews at the face, enabling continued and safe access, even in poor or seismic ground conditions, to accelerate the development cycle.
Orica Chief Technology Officer Angus Melbourne said: “We are very excited to see Avatel come to fruition, but equally excited for what the future holds for disruptive technology and the mining industry’s desire to embrace new innovations that move the dial on safe and sustainable mining.
“We are proud and excited that Newcrest have continued to place their trust in us by being the first site globally to trial Avatel. They have provided invaluable advice throughout the design and development of the system, which we are truly grateful for. Together, we eagerly await the delivery of the first Avatel unit as it will herald the start of a new era for safer and productive underground development charging.”
Newcrest’s Group Manager for Directional Studies and Innovation, Tony Sprague said: “Newcrest Mining is excited to partner with Orica to trial the new Avatel mechanised development charge-up unit at our Cadia operation in 2022. This will be the first commercial deployment of the Orica and Epiroc co-developed system anywhere in the globe. We do expect teething issues as is common when deploying any new technology. However it will be well worth it if we can ensure our tunnel faces are charged with all human work completed from the safety and comfort of Avatel’s operator cabin.”
AvatelTM is currently undergoing trials at Epiroc’s Kvantorp underground test mine in Sweden under controlled conditions before heading to Agnico Eagle’s Kittila mine in Finland to complete extended underground trials in the production environment. Australia will receive the first commercial unit in the second half of 2022, with Canada following closely toward the end of 2022.