Shedding light on deep mining – by Staff (Sudbury Star – July 9, 2015)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Cambrian Innovates, the applied research arm at Cambrian College, will receive $190,000 to support applied research through a Voucher for Industry Association R&D Challenge grant from the Ontario Centres for Excellence and its partner, the Ultra-Deep Mining Network. These grants will allow students and faculty to develop commercially-viable new technologies that aim to enhance the safety of underground workers.

“Ultra-deep mining poses some unique challenges,” said Dr. Tom Corr, OCE’s president and CEO in a release. “We have had many successes working with Cambrian Innovates, and we welcome the opportunity to make advances in mining safety and productivity.”

Cambrian Innovates will collaborate on two projects with two industry partners.

The first, with Rock-Tech, a manufacturer of equipment engineered specifically for underground mining, aims to improve rock-breaking. During this process, ore is collected and passed through a steel screen, while a person operating a rock-breaker crushes the ore that is too large to pass through the screen. It is expensive, time-consuming and poses inherent safety risks. Rock-Tech and Cambrian Innovates aim to build a new customizable steel screen system that will be able to better handle ore chunks of various sizes. The goal is to make deep-mining safer and more efficient.

The second project, with Jannatec Technologies, aims to develop the wiring system for a wearable piece of technology to be used in a heavy-industry setting. It will integrate and streamline technologies such as displays, digital voice communication, position tracking and collision avoidance. This technology could improve overall safety and protect the health of personnel as they go deeper underground.

In the future, Jannatec Technologies would like to integrate other features, including a biofeedback mechanism, to monitor a user’s state of health, which could assist in evacuation or rescue efforts, if necessary.

“Industry-college collaborations are a win-win for everyone involved,” Stephen Gravel, Cambrian Innovates applied research developer, said in a release. “The students receive paid working experience, faculty members keep their industry-specific skills current and the industry partner connects with bright, upcoming thinkers. They may also find solutions for specific challenges using fewer in-house resources.”

Both projects will be completed in the dedicated applied research lab at Cambrian College’s Glencore Centre for Innovation.

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