Archive | Mining Education and Innovation

The Mining Industry Could Strike Gold With Automation – by Charles Towers-Clark (Forbes Magazine – October 31, 2019)

https://www.forbes.com/

The mining industry is facing a tough decision. A staunchly traditional industry, mining is now at a critical juncture in which it will either adopt new technologies or be left behind. The mining industry was actually one of the first industries alongside defense to adopt automation technology, but since that first step, there has not been much progress.

Over the last few years, the mining industry has faced increasing environmental, social, and resource-based pressure to change the way it operates. As an indirect result of being so set in its ways, widespread automation may be the only way to bring the mining industry up to date.

Tectonic shifts

The mining industry has been dominated by a handful of companies for decades, and these companies are understandably reluctant to change the way they do things. Continue Reading →

Robotics stepping up safety in underground mine inspections – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – November 1, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Combining old technology with modern robotics has resulted in a new safety innovation for underground mines that’s expected to reduce risk and improve efficiency.

The MRC Rail Runner, developed by SafeSight Exploration Inc. of North Bay, is a utility robot clamped onto a mechanized rail climber (MRC), which is sent up into a raise to do an inspection.

The robot is designed to replace humans who are required to visually inspect the raise for look for risks like potentially loose rock. In underground mining, a raise is a vertical underground excavation, running between various levels, that’s used for ventilation to the surface or for transporting ore and waste rock. Continue Reading →

The world beats a path to Sudbury: International delegations dig the Nickel City for its mining expertise and regreening story – by Len Gillis (Northern Ontario Business – October 16, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

The City of Greater Sudbury has rolled out the red carpet no less than 10 times this year for international trade delegations coming to see the city’s expertise in mining and hear the story of the environmental remediation of its once-devastated landscape.

The payoff has been low-key but still very significant, according to organizers who have worked to entice these groups by teaming up with government, the mining and supply companies, and post-secondary educators.

“The key word is ‘partnerships’ because these are happening from many different partners from all levels of government,” said Scott Rennie, a business development officer with the city, who is also the project manager for Northern Ontario Exports. Continue Reading →

New manager of Centre for Smart Mining at Sudbury’s Cambrian College wants to take applied research to the next level – by Colleen Romaniuk (Northern Ontario Business – October 2, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

The mining industry is notoriously slow to adopt new technologies. Steve Gravel, the new manager of the Centre for Smart Mining (CSM) at Cambrian College in Sudbury, said that this happens for a number of reasons.

“There’s a baked-in risk inherent in the commodities market,” he said. “The economics are not really in favor of trialing new technologies in a very nimble way because of the capital intensive nature of doing it.” That’s why Gravel hopes that the centre will help to demystify new technologies for mining companies and their employees.

As part of the college’s applied research department, the CSM is tied into a larger national network of 30 Technology Access Centres (TAC) across Canada, which help companies access expertise, equipment, funding and provide the facilities to solve innovation challenges. Continue Reading →

Vale’s digital evolution takes shape: Sudbury nickel miner moving to world’s largest underground wireless network – by Len Gillis (Northern Ontario Business – September 19, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Vale Canada Ltd. is charging forward to provide LTE communications in its Canadian underground mining operations. In some cases, this will be an all new level of wireless communication, while in other cases it will mean switching away from existing Wi-Fi.

Vale said this means the company will soon be operating the largest privately owned underground LTE network in the world. LTE, or long-term evolution, is a higher form of wireless communications that most people associate with their cellular phones. In the mines, LTE will support a host of wireless devices and live connections to people and mobile equipment.

Vale described their new LTE system as an enabler, something that will allow the company to carry out significant changes for integrated operations scheduling, autonomous and tele-remote mining machines and huge efficiencies and cost savings for underground mine ventilation systems. Continue Reading →

Sudbury: Federal Green Party pledges investment in sustainable mining (CBC News Sudbury – September 18, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Platform includes a promise for $40 million for the proposed Sudbury mining innovation cluster

The leader of the federal Green Party of Canada is clarifying some misinformation about the party’s stance on mining. In the party’s platform, there is a line that states that “no new pipelines, or coal, oil or gas drilling or mining, including offshore wells, will be approved.”

The platform also states that the party plans to “support the transition of the mining sector to an innovation hub for greener technologies.”

It also pledges $40 million for the proposed Sudbury-based mining innovation cluster. Some have questioned what the promises mean for the mining sector. Continue Reading →

Project imagines mining without the need for blasting – by Staff (Sudbury Star – August 8, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Imagine building a new underground mine — or expanding an existing one — without using explosives.

That’s the goal of a new project unveiled in Sudbury on Wednesday. And while the announcement was made in here, the money — $1.5 million — will go to McGill University of Montreal to test cleaner methods of mining.

“Today’s announcement is a great example of how we can use intelligent, targeted investments to ensure Canada remains at the forefront of mining practices,” Sudbury Paul Lefebvre said in a release. “By investing in projects like rock fragmentation research, we will ensure that Canada remains a leader in environmental stewardship, while creating a more prosperous mining industry.” Continue Reading →

How pulling frozen mud ‘Popsicles’ from N.W.T. lakes can help make mining cleaner – by Priscilla Hwang (CBC North – August 6, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/

An Ottawa researcher developing new technology to pull up and analyze frozen mud samples from N.W.T. lakes says it will give regulators and mining companies a better tool to do their jobs.

“It’s a technology that’s going to allow mining companies to … better plan how they’re going to use the area around the lake, and make sure that their work is done sustainably,” said Tim Patterson, professor of geology at Carleton University.

“That’ll allow them to do better to protect the aquatic ecosystems.” Currently, mining companies have to follow strict cleanup protocols when planning to mine in the N.W.T. Continue Reading →

EDITORIAL: Mining industry has role to play in carbon capture – by Marilyn Scales (Canadian Mining Journal – July 24, 2019)

http://www.canadianminingjournal.com/

The carbon neutral mine is on the horizon. That’s the aim of a collaborative program to test immobilizing carbon dioxide in mine tailings. Lab scale tests are promising, and now the research is moving into the field.

The technology could reduce – if not eliminate – greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at mines and result in the world’s first carbon neutral mining operation.

The research is headed by the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, Trent University, and Institut national de la recherches scientifique. The program is financially supported by Geoscience BC, Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, De Beers Group, FPX Nickel, Giga Metals, and the governments of British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Mining Innovation: CEMI, Sudbury, Ontario and CEDC, Thunder Bay, Ontario sign memorandum of understanding to co-develop capacity of the mining innovation ecosystem (July 8, 2019)

In an effort to help strengthen collaboration across Ontario and leverage resources within the mining innovation ecosystem, the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) and the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) are pleased to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The Doug Murray, CEO of CEDC said that “Mining and further mining innovations are important aspects for the continued growth of the Northwestern Ontario Economy and thus appreciate CEMI’s support to make this happen.” and his words aligned with CEMI’s President Douglas Morrison who said “CEMI has always undertaken to help promote mining activity in the north-west of Ontario, and this is another way to recognize our collaborative relationship.”

The purpose of this MOU is to promote a collaborative strategic approach to all aspects of mining, through mining research, technology development and the commercialization of mining innovation. Continue Reading →

Steel contributes $225K to research – by Mia Jensen (Sudbury Star – June 29, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

The United Steelworkers announced Friday that they are committing $225,000 over the next three years to Laurentian University’s Centre for Research in Occupation Safety and Health.

As the only centre for occupational health and safety research in Northern Ontario, CROSH’s goal is to partner with workers, workplaces, communities and governments to tackle relevant workplace challenges.

The centre uses a field-to-lab-to-field approach to their research. Researchers engage with industries and communities in the field to understand the problems they are facing. Then they bring their findings to the lab at Laurentian University to troubleshoot evidence-based solutions, before bringing those solutions back to the workplace to be tested in the field. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Cambrian College Named National Centre for Mining Applied Research

SUDBURY – Cambrian College’s reputation for applied research has reached new heights. Today, the Government of Canada announced that Cambrian has been designated as a national Technology Access Centre (TAC), for its expertise in mining.

Cambrian’s TAC, to be known as the Centre for Smart Mining, is made possible through renewable funding of $1.75 million over five years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Making the announcement on behalf of the government was Nickel Belt Liberal MP Marc Serré.

“With its wealth of experience, infrastructure, expertise and existing relationships with industry partners, Cambrian is extremely well-positioned to advance entrepreneurial activity in mining technology,” says Marc Serré. ”We can confidently expect that through its Centre for Smart Mining, Cambrian will become an even greater resource for mining technology developers and producers in Nickel Belt/Greater Sudbury, Northern Ontario and around the globe.” Continue Reading →

Nevada’s Mackay, Newmont partnership 50 years old – by Adella Harding (Elko Daily Free Press – June 6, 2019)

https://elkodaily.com/

A partnership between the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno and Newmont Goldcorp is marking its golden anniversary of helping students, the Mackay School, the mining industry and Newmont recruitment all these years.

“Both Newmont and Mackay get something out of the partnership,” said Melissa Harmon, general manager of Newmont’s Twin Creeks Mine in Humboldt County.

Newmont has donated an estimated $8 million to the Mackay School and UNR since 1969, Harmon said. Newmont also was the first mining company to reach the philanthropist level in 2011 for giving $5 million to the university. Continue Reading →

How should universities introduce more closure training into classrooms? – by Jax Jacobsen (CIM Magazine – May 27, 2019)

http://magazine.cim.org/en/

Mining engineering grapples with how to integrate more closure and CSR into the curriculum

Following a series of high-profile tailings dam failures, the waste management and closure practices of the mining industry are under increasing scrutiny. Canadian universities for their part are questioning how they should adapt their curriculum to better prepare the next generation of miners to work in this new reality.

Leading mining educators in Canada have mixed feelings about shaking up the curriculum to incorporate more mine closure-focused coursework.
“We cannot [spend] the time on courses related to these fields without having an impact on other fields,” said Bruno Bussière, a professor at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) and the scientific director of RIME UQAT-Polytechnique (Research Institute for Mines and the Environment).

“We have very dense programs with a lot of courses,” he said, adding that incorporating new course requirements would mean removing something else from the curriculum. Continue Reading →

Africa: 4th Industrial Revolution Disrupts Mining Sector – by Mthulisi Sibanda (All Africa.com – May 2019)

https://allafrica.com/

Johannesburg — THE South African mining industry is undergoing an extensive transformation amid the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) taking root in what is among the major sectors of the continent’s most advanced economy.

Mining forms the backbone of the South African economy and is responsible for a third of the country’s commodity exports. It is indirectly responsible for employment in associated industries, through its vast supply chain.

“The industry that everybody currently knows will be unrecognizable in five to seven years,” said Tony O’Neill, Technical Director at Anglo American. He was speaking ahead of the first 4IR in Mining Seminar in South Africa. Continue Reading →