FLANDERS awarded the contract to automate drills at Iron Bridge magnetite mine

FLANDERS awarded the contract to automate drills at Iron Bridge magnetite mine.

FLANDERS Asia Pacific has been awarded the contract to automate the drill fleet at Fortescue Metal Group’s (‘FMG’ or ‘the company’) multi-billion dollar Iron Bridge magnetite mine south of Port Hedland.

The contract means that the FLANDERS Autonomous Drill Control system (ADS) will convert the mine’s CAT MD6310 production drill fleet from manual to autonomous operations.

The conversion means that drill operators can safely operate the drills from a remote location, away from blasting, and increase the efficiency of drill operations.

The Iron Bridge mine is a joint venture involving Fortescue Metals Group Magnetite and Formosa Steel.

”Securing the Iron Bridge contract underlies the strength of FLANDERS partnership with FMG, with this being the fourth Fortescue Metals Group site to benefit from using our Autonomous Drill Control system,” says Mike Lane, General Manager of FLANDERS in Western Australia.

“This will be the 16th drill conversion, and by the end of 2022, we will have converted 26 platform drills across all four sites — which is more than half of the total number of drill conversions in Australia to date.

“Through our collaboration, Fortescue Metals Group’s drill operations have seen increases in production, utilisation and, most importantly, safety at each of Fortescue Metals Group’s iron ore operations.”

The FLANDERS autonomous drill system integrates into the existing fleet management systems at all Fortescue Metals Group sites. All drill data is provided to FMG for interpretation and use in downstream processes.

As part of the Iron Bridge contract, Fortescue Metals Group’s mining automation team will have direct access to the FLANDERS Asia Pacific development team in Perth to allow Fortescue Metals Group to tailor the system through enhancements and improvements to suit their needs.

FLANDERS facilities in Perth, Western Australia, are an innovation hub and a centre of excellence for autonomous mining systems. With our drill automation retrofits, we can transform a fleet of manually operated drills into a fleet of state-of-the-art synchronised, remotely operated machines. Typically, FLANDERS drill systems can increase the productivity of our customers’ operations by 30 per cent, with greater drill accuracy and the ability for one person to operate eight drills.