Test and evaluation of mechanical tunneling with TBS

Attractive workplacesDecreased environmental impactMiningResource efficiency


Bergteamet AB


Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB, LTU, UU

Urban Holmlund



Purpose and goal
Mechanical tunneling will improve the competitiveness of the mining sector, as mechanical tunnelling is expected to enable a higher productivity, a more environmentally friendly production process and a safer working environment. The project will assemble and test a Tunnel Boring System (TBS) with the overall goal of introducing TBS technology into the Nordic market by creating a reference tunnel and demonstrating the benefits of full-scale technology at Äspö HRL. The project will evaluate both the pros and cons of the drilling and blasting technology as the reference method.

Structure and implementation
The project consists of the following seven main activities: 1. Transport and assembly. The TBS will be transported from Finland to Oskarshamn where it is assembled and tested above ground. 2. Full scale test at Äspö HRL with the goal of producing a 300m long test tunnel. 3. Progress report at Bergforskdagarna. 4. Analysis and evaluation: The results of the test are evaluated (productivity, work environment, tunnel quality). 5. The TBS will be dissembled and prepared for transport. Äspö HRL is restored. 6. The TBS will be transported from the area. 7. The project is evaluated and conclusions are documented in a report.

Expected results
The introduction of TBS technology in the Nordic region is expected to have the following effects: Increased efficiency with constant tunnel production of up to 12 m per day. Support the work towards automated tunnel production. Improved tunnel quality. Better work environment with minimised work at the tunnel front. Reduced environmental impact by minimising use of explosives. Mechanical tunneling creates a more stable rock environment with less risk of rock-fall. Better economy and production efficiency by minimising excess rock. Creates a more gender-neutral workplace.