May 23, 2019
Diamond drilling was difficult work with far too many injuries. It was clear that a better working environment was needed. So Boliden and Epiroc decided to develop diamond drilling together. The result was - amongst others - a new rod-handling system which meant that dangerous injuries are now more or less eliminated.
"Previously, diamond drilling workers retired on medical grounds aged 50, because of damage to the neck and shoulders. They worked in awkward positions, which was not good. Now it's much better."
The link between Epiroc and the Boliden mine at Kristineberg is strong and was primarily created by Ingemar Larsson, Sales Engineer at Epiroc, who has worked in the mining environment for most of his professional life.
As Boliden aims to be at the forefront in technology, and especially in anything which can improve the working environment for its personnel, the collaboration is beneficial. Ingemar Larsson knows that Boliden is not afraid to try new things and is pleased to help with personnel and production during the trial periods of new machines.
Thomas Theolin is the Planning Manager for the Kristineberg mine. He agrees with Ingemar Larsson about the importance of being a leader in terms of working environment.
"We have been focused on the working environment for ten years now. We are interested in trying new technology to create a safe workplace. If anyone is injured, it is difficult to get over it, and we want to offer an attractive workplace."
He believes that serious injuries have more or less disappeared, and that the rod handler has been a great help. The development in mining machinery has been slow in certain areas, and there is a feeling that there is still a lot to do.
The Diamec Smart 6 core drilling rig is an excellent example of the collaboration between the two companies. Boliden was involved as early as 2000 when the rig was still a prototype, and tested the machine. Because it is equipped with a rod-handling system, the operators can carry out heavy lifting in a more ergonomically correct way. The machine also has barriers which prevent contact with rotating parts. Trap injuries have reduced and the working environment has been considerably improved.
Epiroc operated under the trademark “Atlas Copco” prior to January 1, 2018.