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The first Sandvik DL422iE longhole drill has arrived in Australia to work at IGO’s wholly owned Nova Operation.

The Nova Operation is located 360 kilometres south-east of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. It is operated by Barminco, a contract miner.

In the 2022 financial year, Nova achieved a total production of 26,675 tonnes of nickel, 11,483 tonnes of copper, and 982 tonnes of cobalt at a cash cost of $1.95 per pound of nickel.

Nova has now become the first mine in Australia to roll out Sandvik’s electric DL422iE longhole drill, as part of IGO’s commitment to cleaner and safer mining.

The Sandvik DL422iE is a fully automated, battery-powered top hammer longhole drill designed for underground mass mining in 4 x 4 metre or larger production drifts.

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions business line manager Nathan Cunningham said the benefits of battery electric equipment underground extend beyond a better working environment.

“We’re seeing considerable customer interest in Sandvik BEV solutions that help remove diesel from underground mines,” Cunningham said.

“If a miner is able to achieve a fully electric underground operation there can a be a flow-on effect for the ventilation capacity calculations. For new mines, in particular, this can reduce bring a double benefit – better worker health and a reduction in the work required to meet ventilation requirements.”

IGO head of technical services and acting general manager of the Nova Operation Chris Carr said the company believes in a clean energy future, which extends to its underground mining operations where the electrification of the fleets will create a safer, greener, and more productive operation.

“The arrival of the new Sandvik drill is an important step towards our commitment to be net zero across our direct operations and projects by 2035, if not sooner,” Carr said.