Mining company Agnico Eagle is researching how it can integrate automated technology at its Kivalliq sites. By later this year or early in 2019, the company plans to start testing sensors that would eventually allow three or four driverless long-haul trucks, similar to tractor trailers, to follow a lead truck driven by a human, said Dominique Girard, Agnico Eagle’s vice-president of Nunavut operations.
Automated technology is also expected to be used for scoop loaders, which can be controlled remotely by joysticks, and possibly for drills, he said.
“To operate a mine in Nunavut is more expensive so we need to find a way to mitigate that… going into automation is a way to do it,” said Girard, who added that it will take several years before the technology is full adopted for day-to-day operations.
Asked what the Kivalliq Inuit Association’s response has been to this impending change in practices, Girard replied, “I did not have a discussion in detail with them about that.”
However, he said he has advised the Government of Nunavut that new skill sets should start to be developed to complement the advancing technology. The KIA, which has Inuit Impact Benefit Agreements in place with Agnico Eagle, including terms for 50 per cent Inuit employment at the Meliadine and Amaruq gold mines, didn’t respond to Nunavut News’ request for comment prior to press deadline.
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