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Epiroc Canada and Vale Base Metals (VBM) subsidiary Vale Canada have joined forces to strengthen safety processes and drive innovative mining solutions.

The companies have entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding to develop, test and utilise potentially ground-breaking mining techniques and equipment.

Under the agreement, the two organisations will collaborate to apply and adapt Epiroc’s solutions in automation, electrification, and digitalisation across the underground mining cycle.

The partnership will focus on areas from long-hole drilling to blasting, face drilling, bolting, mucking and hauling.

“We are excited about our shared commitment with VBM to accelerate the transformation of the mining industry through innovation that will keep pushing the benchmark of safety for workers, without compromising on productivity,” Epiroc underground division vice president sales and marketing Sarah Hoffman said.

VBM plans to use Epiroc’s technology and digital advances in underground technology to remove employees from the rock face, production drilling areas and ground support locations in support of safe and efficient mining activities.

This includes remote operation of Epiroc and mixed fleet original equipment manufacturer (OEM) equipment in isolated zones.

The companies will also evaluate innovative electrification technologies such as charging, equipment usage, operational efficiency, as well as potential partnerships on novel technologies with potential for more widespread application.

“Safety is a central pillar of our operations so we’re excited to develop solutions that strengthen our suite of available technologies to keep workers safe and drive overall efficiencies,” Vale interim chief technical officer Luke Mahony said.

“This partnership with Epiroc will be an important step on our journey.”