By Eimear Dodd Journalism MA student, @TheCity_Dublin editor, @Irish_TechNews

VIST Mining Technology has signed a new investment agreement with global technology venture fund, I2BF Global Ventures, and VTB Capital Asset Management.

The deal will fund research and development of autonomous mining equipment and the company’s further expansion into international markets. VIST Mining is a subsidiary of the Russian VIST Group.

The company’s mining technology is designed to reduce operational costs for enterprises by increasing productivity. The use of autonomous equipment to robotize mining operations is a global trend which can help to improve safety in open pit mines.

Dmitry Vladimirov, VIST Group CEO, said: “Investment in robotized technologies is a key trend in global mining. Leading raw producers as well as machinery manufacturers, such as Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton or Komatsu spend billions of dollars on creating and promoting autonomous solutions.

I’m sure that with the support of the Fund we will be able to create world-class technologies and implement them at Russian enterprises. Part of investments will be used to enter foreign markets in Africa, Indonesia, India, Latin America, where we can provide most innovative and effective solutions for our customers.”

VIST Group expects the first robotized mining trucks will begin operations in late 2017. The Intelligent Mine project was the first unmanned technology developed in Russia for the exploration of raw materials. The company has completed industrial testing of robotized trucks BELAZ and KAMAZ. Further tests will take place during 2017 on the loading of raw materials while in autonomous mode.

Alexander Korchevsky, I2BF Global Ventures partner, also commented on the investment. He said: “VIST team was creating robotized solutions and products long before it became a general investment trend. The company was well-performing both in Russia and Kazakhstan as well as entering the international markets.

So we consider it an attractive investment opportunity and we are happy to welcome VIST in our portfolio of companies implementing robotized and autonomous technologies for increasing productivity in the industrial environment.”

I2BF Global Ventures is an international technology focused venture capital firm that focuses on investments in technology businesses that can deliver disruptions in the areas of cleantech, life sciences, information technology and aerospace. I2BF manages a portfolio of over 30 companies and total of $400 million in assets across five funds.

VIST Group is one of the leading Russian companies in integrated IT management systems for mining. Its clients include EVRAZ, Mechel, SDS, Severstal, POLYUS, EuroChem, and Polymetall. The investment will be used to fund international expansion into markets including Kazakhstan. VIST systems have already been installed at the mines of Moroccan potash producer OCP Group. The company’s technology is currently in use in South Africa, Indonesia, Mongolia and Iran.

The Group has also entered into a strategic partnership with the largest Russian coal producer SUEK.

VIST Group is a resident of Skolkovo Foundation, the Russian centre for the development and commercialization of advanced technologies. The Skolkovo Foundation acted as an advisor on the deal.


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