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 European Union (EU) research and innovation program. Designed to drive sustainable economic growth, the program has the political backing of Europe’s leaders and the EU parliament.

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 organizations 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 the public. 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,” said Mikael Ramström, Atlas Copco’s manager of global strategic projects and alliances, who is now taking on the role as project coordinator of SIMS.

With new advances in low-emission, battery-powered equipment, as well as telematics and automation, Atlas Copco is one of the companies driving the technology that will shape the future of sustainable mining. Their strong foundation within the industry, combined with forward thinking, were two of the reasons they were selected 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 startup of the SIMS initiative,” said Andreas Nordbrandt, president, Atlas Copco Underground Rock Excavation Division.

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.

“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,” said Morgan Rody, Atlas Copco’s project manager for SIMS.