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Sandvik has launched a landmark project that will enable mining operations to recycle their used carbide drill bits.

The scheme will recycle up to 90 per cent of Sandvik carbide bits used in Australia by 2025.

In a bid to encourage more recycling efforts, the scheme will also accept carbide drill bits made by other manufactures. 

Processing of the bits will be done in Australia, reducing the energy and emissions required to create new carbide componenets. 

“The tungsten and cobalt required to make carbide drill bits are finite resources, with reserves for both expected to be depleted over the next 40 to 100 years,” Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions rock tools, business line manager, Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea Darren Male said. 

“By pioneering a circular approach to the use of carbide in Australia, we can help local miners to reduce indirect emissions, reduce waste and to ensure they have access to carbide components for many years to come.” 

The scheme is a part of Sandvik’s commitment to transform circulatory within the mining sector’s use of carbide. 

“Our breakthrough opt-out program supports our customers’ drive to mine more sustainably and demonstrates our commitment to delivering on Sandvik’s ambitious sustainability goals to halve CO2 emissions by 2030,” Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ Rock Tools president Jens Holmberg said. 

Carbide drill bits are made through a process that includes blending tungsten carbide particles with powders made from metals such as cobalt.  

They can significantly increase uptime and productivity due to their high strength, high wear resistance, high abrasion and impact resistance, and durability. However, once their working life has passed, many bits are discarded. 

 “We need to transition our industry at an unprecedented speed,” Holmberg said.

“Our recycling program is one of many new initiatives you will see from Sandvik’s Rock Tools division moving forward. We are an industry leading supplier in mining globally, and we need to do everything in our power to support and push the industry forward.”