Vale touts collective future of mining – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – October 5, 2018)

Company executive gives update on progress of technology upgrades focusing on Sudbury operation

The hive mentality is coming to mining, with the intention of making the industry more efficient, safer and ultimately sustainable. Vale Canada’s progress in that area was the subject of the season opening meeting of the Sudbury chapter of the Canadian Institute of Mining on Sept. 20.

Samantha Espley, Vale’s general manager of mines and mills, technical services department in Sudbury, gave the featured presentation on the company’s road map for its operations.

The physical and technological changes are part of a grander plan to change the behaviour of how different sections work in the mines, bringing them together to work as one large hub, all sharing data to make operational decisions in real time.

“We have invested billions in our base metals operations over the last 10 years and most of this investment has been in the surface operations,” Espley said. She listed the innovations to be executed over the next three years and how they fit into the digital technology transformation.

Totten Mine in Sudbury has been the testing ground for many of these investments, Espley said. Improvements include, what are known as, enabling technologies, such as fibre-optic backbone, wireless communications systems and ID tags for tracking personnel and equipment.

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