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Introduction of Komatsu underground hard rock products.

The Komatsu WXO7 loader.

According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), reaching the clean energy goals of the Paris Agreement by 2040 will require a quadrupling of mineral resources. An even faster transition to hit Net Zero globally by 2050, will require six times more mineral inputs in 2040 than today.

Moving to a cleaner energy system requires an exponential increase in the scale of sustainable mining operations and the extraction of minerals including copper, silver, nickel, manganese, cobalt, chromium, molybdenum, zinc and rare earths.

This surge, says Komatsu General Manager: Mining Operations, Herman Hollhummer, represents an opportunity for Africa and Komatsu.

“The journey to net zero by 2050 cannot be reached at the expense of other environmental, social and governance considerations – which means that when assessing new projects, mining companies will increasingly look towards underground methods to mitigate their impacts on the natural environment and host communities,” comments Hollhummer.

Complete mining solution

Komatsu, traditionally a manufacturer of opencast mining equipment, expanded its portfolio to include underground soft rock mining with its acquisition of Joy Global in 2017, and is now introducing underground hard rock mining equipment to Africa. It views sub-surface hard rock extraction on the continent as an integral part of its sustainable strategy to offer customers a complete mining solution, in both the surface and underground mining environments.

The Komatsu single boom ZJ21 jumbo drill and the Komatsu ZB21 medium class bolter.

The Komatsu single boom ZJ21 jumbo drill and the Komatsu ZB21 medium class bolter. Images supplied by Komatsu

“We’re committed to playing our part in helping the world find solutions to achieve the energy transition it needs and look forward to bringing customers in the underground hard rock mining sector the same quality of equipment, service and support associated with surface mining equipment in the Komatsu range,” says Hollhummer.

With its entry into hard rock mining on the continent, Komatsu will help the African mining industry contribute to the world’s urgent demand for minerals and the global shift to renewables.

“We see Mining Indaba, the largest minerals event on the continent, as the ideal stage on which to introduce new and existing customers to products that have achieved success in other mining territories, but are yet to be debuted in Africa,” he adds.

The frontrunners in Komatsu’s hard rock range

The first products to be introduced to the African market will debut at the African Mining Indaba in 2024. They are the Komatsu WXO7 loader, the Komatsu single boom ZJ21 jumbo drill and the Komatsu ZB21 medium class bolter.

The innovative drill and bolter products share a common platform – extending from rear skirt to outer boom – and enable operators to easily convert drill to bolter and vice versa. This high degree of commonality extends to control systems and operator platforms.

The introduction of these Komatsu underground hard rock products will offer sustainable mining solutions in the future.

Source: Komatsu