Orica has announced that the first commercial trial of Avatel, the world’s first mechanised development charging system, will take place in Newcrest’s Cadia underground mine in the second half of 2022.
Avatel is a first-of-its-kind semi-automated explosives delivery system co-developed by Orica and Epiroc. Featuring Orica and Epiroc’s flagship technologies, the system was designed to keep people out of harm’s way while increasing efficiency in subterranean development operations.
Avatel allows a single operator to prepare and wirelessly charge a development face from within the safety of an enclosed cabin, while delivering greater blast control and operational reliability.
“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,” said Orica Chief Technology Officer Angus Melbourne.
“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 the company was looking forward 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,” Mr Sprague said.
“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.”
Avatel is now being tested under controlled conditions at Epiroc’s Kvantorp underground test mine in Sweden, before moving on to Agnico Eagle’s Kittila mine in Finland for more extensive underground trials in the production environment.
The first commercial unit will be delivered to Australia in the second part of 2022, with Canada following shortly behind around the end of the year.