In the last two years, North American Palladium’s (NAP) Lac des Iles mine, located 106 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario, has made a complete technological turnaround – beginning with its first fibre-optic installation in 2015 up to the launch of real-time mine management in 2017.
Advanced as part of a broader improvement program, the rapid succession of new technologies found acceptance because it came with careful attention to the needs of the mine’s workforce. Management at Lac des Iles hopes that investing in these technologies will improve its production efficiency and set an example among Canadian mines.
“Our mine site’s really been on a constant change since 2013, when we went from a ramp access mine to a shaft access mine,” said general manager Bryan Wilson.
That was the same year that Jim Gallagher moved into NAP’s corporate office in Toronto as COO with a vision of a world-class palladium mine that would produce safely at low-cost and for a global market. In 2015, Gallagher took the reins as president and CEO.
Over the last four years, Lac des Iles has transitioned to a different mining method (sub-level shrinkage), which NAP credits with a 30 per cent increase in daily underground production in 2017. The company hopes to increase daily production by another 20 per cent by continuing the mining method changeover, but also by bringing in real-time mine management.
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