Atlas Copco Rock Drills AB has been named coordinator of the European Consortium on Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems (SIMS).

This mining industry initiative is funded by Horizon 2020, the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever. Designed to drive sustainable economic growth, Horizon 2020 has the political backing of Europe’s leaders and the EU Parliament.

Atlas Copco answers the challenge to help advance the EU mining industry

To encourage job growth while improving mining practices around the world, Horizon 2020 put out a call for innovation action within the European mining industry. Those who answered the challenge now make up a consortium of 11 organisations from Sweden, Finland, Germany and Poland.

As coordinator of the initiative, part of Atlas Copco’s role will be sharing information with the project consortium members and external stakeholders such as customers, politicians, and society in general. In addition to Atlas Copco, the SIMS consortium consists of ABB, Agnico Eagle, Boliden, Ericsson, KGHM Cuprum, K+S KALI, LKAB, Mobilaris, Luleå University of Technology, and RWTH Aachen University.

"Stakeholder expectations are high, but with such a strong consortium, we are sure to deliver," says Mikael Ramström, Atlas Copco’s manager of global strategic projects and alliances, who is now taking on the role as project coordinator SIMS.

Shaping the future of mining

Atlas Copco provides equipment for drilling and rock excavation through a global network. With new advances in low-emission, battery-powered equipment, as well as telematics and automation, the long-established Swedish firm is a key driver behind the technology shaping the future of sustainable mining. Their strong foundation within the industry, combined with forward thinking, made Atlas Copco a clear choice to coordinate this consortium, with a total budget of €16 million over three years.

"We are very proud to lead this consortium. It has been extremely exciting to develop this winning project proposal together with the rest of the group members. We are looking forward to the next phase, as we prepare for the start-up of the SIMS initiative," says Andreas Nordbrandt, president, Atlas Copco Underground Rock Excavation Division.

Changing public perception of the mining industry

The SIMS consortium is working to not only support economic growth, but also positively change the perception of the mining industry as a whole. With innovative solutions that focus on safe, efficient and ecologically-sound mining, SIMS members will demonstrate that sustainable practices are not only desirable, but essential to the transformation of profitable mining operations.

Each SIMS consortium partner will demonstrate their new advancements in working mines located around Europe. Technology demonstrated will include Ericsson’s 5G communication, ABB’s 800xA process control, Mobilaris’ underground positioning system, and Atlas Copco’s battery-power and automation technology for mining.

Atlas Copco is proud to take a crucial role in the advancement of the state-of-the-art innovation being developed by all the SIMS partners. "SIMS is a fantastic opportunity and we look forward to working closely with our established partners to further innovation and safety within the mining industry," says Morgan Rody, Atlas Copco’s project manager for SIMS.

To further advance progress in sustainable mining, the work of the SIMS consortium will be well documented, and the data will be shared with stakeholders in the European and global mining industry. The results are sure to demonstrate how innovators from the EU are making the future of global mining possible.