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Panama advances towards sustainable zero-emission mining

December 7, 2022

Donoso, Panama

Marking a milestone in Latin American sustainable mining, Cobre Panamá became the mine with the most significant number of electric drills in the region by acquiring another Epiroc Pit Viper 351 E drill rig, the largest zero-emission surface drill rig in the world.

The acquisition of this advanced drilling equipment marks another significant milestone: it is the 200th electric machine of its class manufactured by the Swedish company Epiroc at a global level. It highlights the advancement towards sustainable mining that reduces and mitigates the impacts of producing equipment with advanced technologies.


The Pit Viper 351 E drilling rig is the largest drilling rig Epiroc makes and the largest on the market. Since its launch in 2000 at MinExpo, 200 units have already been manufactured for more than 35 countries.

"Reaching the 200th electric drill makes us proud. Mining is evolving to be increasingly sustainable, and at Epiroc, we are accelerating that process."

José Manuel Sánchez , President Surface division

Meanwhile, the country manager of Cobre Panamá, Keith Green, looks back on the firm commitment that the parent company First Quantum Minerals, maintains with sustainability and mitigation of the causes of climate change. "As a responsible mining company, we recognize our obligation to contribute to managing and mitigating climate change. Part of our contribution is partly through the acquisition and use of the best available technology to reduce and even eliminate - as in this case - emissions of gases.


Currently, Cobre Panamá - First Quantum Minerals is implementing a Climate Change mitigation strategy, which establishes a 30% reduction in greenhouse gases by the year 2025 and that by 2030, this reduction will be 50%.


Epiroc also has ambitious goals to contribute to the reduction of global warming, the Swedish company is concentrating efforts on having a complete portfolio of electrical equipment by 2030, and it is proposed that at least 50% of the equipment sold be electrical. Björn Tisell, general manager of Epiroc Central America, noted that the electric versions are typically less expensive to run because they use fewer lubricants and have no diesel fuel costs. In some cases, the operating cost advantage will cover the additional investment cost of ordering an electric version in one year. The service life of an electric motor is considerably longer than for an equivalent diesel engine and has a quieter operation.


Tisell also highlighted that the operator's cabin is a very safe, spacious, and comfortable place to work. "Thanks to the fact that the Pit Viper 351 E has an RCS, a Rig Control System, and a Hole Navigation System (HNS), we can always locate it. The equipment transmits data and generates alerts of all the events that occur during the operation - this is how the production and maintenance team of the mine are always aware and monitoring the operation online", he assured. 


The commemorative delivery of the 200th electric drill manufactured by Epiroc, took place at the heart of the operation of the Cobre Panamá mine located in Donoso, and directives and employees of both companies attended the event.


For further information, please contact:

Epiroc CVCA

Marcela Bohorquez

Communications Manager


Cobre Panama

Olga Barrio

Communications Manager


Product Automation Epiroc Drilling Solutions Open pit mining Rotary blasthole drilling rigs Press release