Project duration: 1 January 2016 – 31 December 2019


For securing future raw materials supply, new solutions are required to enhance economically viable mining operations. Especially in the currently challenging economic environment there is a need to improve the Net Present Value (NPV) of ore deposits. Compared to the drill & blast technology, mechanical cutting provides numerous environmental, safety and economic benefits and the continuous process would allow faster advance rates. As the technology of mechanical rock cutting is a core competence of Sandvik Mining and Construction in Zeltweg/Austria, continuous development work was performed in this sector. Numerous research projects, also on a European level, have been realized to improve the capabilities of cutting systems to allow economic excavation also in hard rock conditions. The objective of the project is to prove and make ready for marketing this new mechanical cutting machine which will at least double the excavation speed of underground roadway developments, compared to the present state of the art technology of drilling & blasting. The fast and safe mechanical excavation of the new Rock Vader system will enhance economic and safe mining for the future by increasing the development rate and by providing an accurate and smooth tunnel profile.

The solution (technology)

The advanced mathematical methods for optimisation will be published and be available for new projects in industrial control. The technological cooperation will strengthen the global competitiveness of the European mining industries. The “Rock Vader” prototype will be optimized for industrial commercialisation and also will be used for demonstrating the new technologies not only to the mining industry but also to universities and students. The developments aimed in this proposal fit well in the typical curriculum scheme of universities: Students will write bachelor and master thesis in the field of the developments done in this project. A researcher/student exchange for a defined project period between MUL and VTT will contribute to a knowledge transfer within the KIC community.


  • Sandvik Mining and Construction GmbH, Sweden (Lead Partner)
  • DMT GmbH & Co. KG, Germany
  • KGHM Cuprum sp. z o.o. Centrum Badawczo-Rozwojowe (KGHM Cuprum Ltd. Research & Development Centre), Poland
  • Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria
  • Teknologian tutkimuskeskus VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. VTT), Finland
  • Wolfram Bergbau und Hütten AG, Germany