Canadian Mining Journal


DRILLING: Epiroc delivers first autonomous rig to BHP

AUSTRALIA – Swedish supply company Epiroc has delivered the first autonomous drill rig to BHP Group’s South Flank iron ore project in the Pilbara. The rig, an Epiroc Pit Viper 271, is operational and marks the beginning of autonomous production drilling at the mine.

The first fully autonomous production drill at BHP’s South Flank iron project is an Epiroc Pit Viper 271. (Image: BHP)

BHP plans to operate a total of five autonomous drills at South Flank. All the drills will be remotely controlled from BHP’s integrated remote operations centre (IROC) in Perth.

Epiroc has worked with BHP to provide autonomous drilling technology to other Pilbara mines. The company now has 20 fully autonomous drills at Yandi, Mining Area C, Jimblebar, Mt. Whaleback and Eastern Ridge.

The Pit Viper 271 boasts productivity in rotary tricone and down-the-hole drilling in diameters of 170 mm to 270 mm. It features single pass performance, a standard electronic air regulation system, and a design that will last.

Learn more at