Next-Generation Technology for Underground Mines of the Future
Many underground hard rock mines have progressed deeper to access ore reserves, resulting in more complex extraction, higher costs and declines in labour productivity. Additionally, with decreased head grades, the energy required to extract minerals has increased.
Continuous and automated underground mining, powered by electric and low emission technologies, will transform how ore is extracted and transported, reducing the industry’s overall environmental and energy footprint.
Specific technical challenges include identifying, developing and implementing new electric-based technology and heavy equipment to:
- Mechanically cut rock underground, replacing explosives
- Remove oversize ore in near real time, replacing the current batch process with a true continuous process
- Sort ore from waste continuously underground
- Transport ore to the surface
- Develop standards for the adoption of electrical equipment in Canadian underground mines.
- Develop a technology platform that allows for rapid implementation of real-time management and control of underground operations, complete with analytics capability to allow for rapid decision making
Project Progress to Date
- Contract with an expert in mechanical cutting to help consortium members learn the state of the art in mechanical cutting
- Visit OEMs of mechanical cutters and TBMs, and tour sites where mechanical cutting is currently being tested
- Identify ways in which consortium members can work together to leverage resources and share knowledge
- If feasible, design test / demonstration program at a member’s mine …. view project sheet
- Expand the 1st edition of the guideline for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) in Underground Mining to include new information that has been learned and new technologies that have been developed
- Add a new operations section to provide recommendations for emergency response, operation and maintenance
- Add a recommendation for charger standardisation ….view project sheet
- A series of workshops to help operators learn and share information about short interval control (SIC)
- Two key elements to the workshops: operators sharing information between each other about what they have done, what worked and what didn’t and selected technology companies presenting to the operators about their solutions …. view project sheet
- Produce a guideline outlining the current best practices for short interval control (SIC)
- As the technologies involved are immature and changing rapidly this will not be a definitive “how-to” but rather a presentation of options that can be considered …. view project sheet
Trevor Kelly joined CMIC as Innovation Manager, Mining in June 2018.
If you are interested in joining our Mining Portfolio working group, or if you would like to learn more, please contact us.