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Epiroc’s autonomous drills have reached a significant milestone at Thiess’ Lake Vermont site in Queensland, drilling one million lineal metres without an operator on board.

Thiess was the first mining services provider to deploy an Epiroc Pit Viper drill fitted with an autonomous drilling system in 2019. Since then, the company has significantly expanded its autonomous fleet.

The milestone makes Thiess the first mining services provider to autonomously drill one million multi-pass lineal metres in the world.

The multi-pass drills operate remotely from the Lake Vermont office, working autonomously for up to 22 hours per day.

“It’s through our relationships with leading equipment manufacturers such as Epiroc, that we’re able to support our clients with innovative products and services to meet their sustainability and production goals,” Thiess Group chief executive officer (CEO) Michael Wright said.

Epiroc CEO Helena Hedblom joined Wright in celebrating the accomplishment.

“We are proud to celebrate a momentous milestone with our valued customer, Thiess, as we reach the remarkable milestone of autonomously drilling one million metres together,” she said.

“This achievement underscores our strong partnership and commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions in the mining industry and demonstrates the power of collaboration setting a new benchmark for the future of autonomous drilling.”

Thiess is exploring the application of this technology to its projects in the Americas.