Driving each other to safety

Dedicated to safe, fair and sustainable mining, the International Council on Mining and Metals is a collaboration among 27 of the world’s leading mining companies and OEMs and more than 30 regional and commodity associations. Its latest programme, the Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicles, is an initiative to develop a new generation of sustainable mining equipment.

Mining is a business that will always have inherent risks, but improved safety practices and technology have been reducing these risks significantly over many years. Still, transport and mobile equipment accidents accounted for 22 percent of fatalities at major mines in 2017, making this the second-highest cause of fatalities in the sector after fall-of ground accidents. The industry leaders took note, and last autumn a new, ambitious plan to make mining vehicles safer and cleaner was announced at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) seeks to address the core sustainable development challenges faced by the industry. The group’s latest initiative, the Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicles (ICSV), has brought together an unprecedented number of mining companies and suppliers in the pursuit of three common objectives: to improve vehicle interaction technology in order to reduce collisions, to accelerate the reduction of diesel particulate matter emissions, and to reduce energy costs and emissions of greenhouse gases. Päivi Kautiainen, director engineering services, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, explains that what makes this initiative so unique is that it has united the mining industry and OEMs around a trailblazing set of ambitious goals. “For us, getting involved in this programme was a no-brainer,” she says, adding that the issues being discussed in the ICSV are so essential to the future of mining that Sandvik’s participation was a given from the moment it was invited to join the initiative.

“In this forum, companies that would otherwise view each other as customers and suppliers, and in some cases direct competitors, are sitting down together at the same table to discuss their visions and goals,” she says. “This proves just how important the issue of safety is – when competitors are willing to join forces to develop the technologies that will shape the future of the industry.” The Steering Group is the operational branch of the programme, responsible for planning the work and carrying out the activities. Meanwhile, each of the three objectives has been assigned a working group to oversee it, while the CEO advisory board is the executive decision-making branch of the programme.

About the innovation for cleaner safer vehicles (ICSV) programme

The ICSV programme brings together 27 of the world’s leading mining companies and some of the best-known truck and mining equipment suppliers to accelerate innovation to develop a new generation of mine vehicles. Its stated aims are to:

  • Introduce greenhouse-gas-emission-free surface mining vehicles by 2040
  • Minimize the operational impact of diesel exhaust by 2025
  • Make collision avoidance technology available to mining companies by 2025.

Sandvik is proud to be involved at every level of the ICSV organization. Kautiainen is representing Sandvik in the steering committee, while each of the three working groups includes at least one Sandvik employee. Henrik Ager, president of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, is one of six members on the prestigious CEO advisory board. “One of the things that makes this programme so incredibly impactful is that it has CEO-level support within all the participating mining companies and equipment manufacturers,” Kautiainen says, adding that it is an honour for Sandvik to be one of only six companies – and only three OEMs – represented on the CEO advisory board. “I believe this is a testament to our strong reputation in the mining sector and the fact that Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology is a forerunner in key technology areas such as automation and emissions reduction,” she says.

The timing of the ICSV initiative is no accident. Not only have sustainability and environmental issues never been higher on the international political agenda, but this has also coincided with major technology shifts in digitalization and automation. It is thanks to these technological advancements that OEMs such as Sandvik will be able to deliver the product enhancements needed to make the ICSV objectives feasible in the years to come. On the automation side, one of the principal objectives of the programme is to promote the innovation of collision avoidance technology for mining vehicles, with a view to seeing this kind of automated technology introduced by 2025. Sandvik has already developed technology with the capability to automate an entire mine, and it currently offers the most advanced automation and tele-operation systems in the industry. Its AutoMine product family covers all aspects of automation, from the autonomous operation of single pieces of equipment to full-fleet automation.

When it comes to emissions reduction, the ICSV initiative is pursuing two parallel objectives: to introduce greenhouse-gas-free surface mining vehicles by 2040, and to minimize the operational impact of diesel emissions by 2025. Sandvik is in the process of developing the next generation of battery-driven mining equipment and vehicles, with a view to being able to achieve zero carbon and particulate emissions in the future.

I believe this is a testament to our strong reputation in the mining sector

“The ICSV programme allows us to work with our customers, bringing our research and development activities closer to them and finding out exactly what the industry needs and wants for the years to come,” Kautiainen says. The first formal meeting of the ICSV CEO advisory board took place in October 2018, and in January 2019 the three working groups started their activities. In the next phase, the working groups met for more detailed planning and execution of the programme. “I’m convinced the work we do here will benefit the entire mining sector, not just ICMM members,” she says. “Even though Sandvik’s equipment is only one aspect of the mine, we’re here to do our part, to work with the mines to achieve our mission statements and secure access to cleaner, safer mining vehicles in the future.”

About the CEO advisory group

The ICSV programme is guided by a CEO advisory group comprising six representatives, three of whom come from ICMM company members, while three represent participating suppliers. They are:

  • Andrew Mackenzie (CEO, BHP)
  • David Garofalo (CEO, Goldcorp)
  • Nick Holland (CEO, Gold Fields)
  • Denise Johnson (Group President, Resource Industries, Caterpillar)
  • Max Moriyama (President, Mining Business Division, Komatsu Ltd)
  • Henrik Ager (President, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology)