September 7, 2022
The Pit Viper 271 allows Kim Rivera to drill 3000 feet (roughly 900 meters) in a 12-hour shift, nearly tripling her previous output. Once she goes autonomous, the drill does the work independently, with Rivera as its guide. “It navigates faster on the drill pattern than I could ever do when I’m fishtailing around in the dirt and mud.” ROBINSON WORKERS say Epiroc made the transition to autonomous mining easier. “They were with us every step of the way,” said Rivera. “They came out to show us how to run the drill manually. Six months later, they showed us how to do things autonomously after we were familiar with the drill. Trujillo agreed. “Epiroc has been a great partner for us from the initial concept to delivery and beyond. I can’t stress that enough. It’s a one-stop service.”
On a cold February day, several miners watched the detonation of scores of 55-foot-deep holes. The tense countdown felt like a rocket launch, and far below on the pit floor, the muffled blast caused the geology to give way like the tumbling of a glacier wall. With the autonomous Pit Viper 271, the mine can expect the future to bring a similar bang. “The advanced technology this machine brings is pretty impressive. You can look into the future and think anything is possible,” said Trujillo.