Canadian Mining Technology

first_imgThe old Afton open pit. NewGold’s New Afton coppergold block cave will enter full production this yearThe mining industry in Canada has gathered a lot of pace since the 2008/2009 economic downturn, with many significant projects now under advanced development or being commissioned, particularly in copper/gold at New Afton, Copper Mountain, Mount Milligan, Westwood and others; but also in other areas, such as with a new phase of expansion in the Alberta oil sands, where Imperial Oil’s Kearl is due to enter production soon and Joslyn, Jackpine, Fort Hills and Frontier are also in the fray. Other new mines being developed include molybdenum, potash, diamond, lithium, graphite, zinc and uranium operations.From exploration tools and technology, through feasibility, engineering work and specialist consultancy on tailings and environmental issues to full production mining and processing, Canada has numerous home grown players that have seen success not only at these new domestic mining operations, but also globally.Software solutionsIn exploration software tools, Geosoft recently introduced VOXI Earth Modelling, a geophysical inversion software service that generates 3D voxel models from airborne, ground gravity and magnetic data, at PDAC 2012. Ian MacLeod, Geosoft Chief Technologist comments: “One of the important benefits of converting gravity or magnetic data into a 3D earth model is that the visual end product allows explorers to see and understand the subsurface using now common 3D viewing platforms. VOXI produces a model of rock properties, which can be directly integrated with other surface and subsurface geologic observations.” Integration is important, because no one technique provides all the answers. He adds: “Geophysical models often need to be constrained by geological and geochemical observations in three dimensions. Our aim as explorers is to develop the most complete subsurface picture of geology and mineral systems that we can.”The technique of modelling the earth through inversion has been used successfully within the mineral exploration industry for well over a decade, and the benefits have been well documented. The ability to convert geophysical measurements directly into 3D images of the subsurface that can be integrated with other exploration information in three dimensions has enabled resource explorers to extract significantly more insight from their geophysical data.Abitibi model generated with VOXI Earth ModellingWithin mineral exploration, inversion modelling has aided in developing exploration potential within the iron ore and nickel belts of Western Australia; the Stuart Shelf and Olympic Dam in South Australia; iron oxide-copper-gold in Africa, South America and Australia; copper in Mongolia; and nickel laterite in Colombia. The results have been impressive, however at present inversion remains largely in the hands of expert modellers, and the ability to generate an earth model that a geophysicist can have confidence in is out of reach for most. It is estimated that less than 20% of mineral exploration projects use inversions despite the availability of advanced, high end inversion services and systems. With its VOXI Earth Modelling solution Geosoft says it is targeting speed, usability and accessibility to remedy this.  Behind VOI Earth Modelling’s speed and agility is cloud technology engineered by Geosoft to conduct the complex geo-computing via the internet, with minimal drain on the explorer’s personal computer systems.  The VOXI Earth Modelling cloud service is powered by Microsoft Windows Azure.  And included in the first release of VOXI Earth Modelling is Geosoft’s Magnetisation Vector Inversion (MVI) modelling technique. MVI allows the magnetisation direction to vary within the model and thus take into account the combined effects of remnance, demagnetisation, anisotropy and induced magnetisation. The result is a more realistic representation of rock magnetisation, which is the fundamental rock property measured with the magnetic method. Geosoft VOXI Earth Modelling is being offered as a software service extension accessible within Geosoft’s Oasis montaj 3D mapping and analysis platform. Once market availability is announced in April 2012, Geosoft customers will be able to use the VOXI Earth Modelling service on a pay as you go or subscription plan.Four Leaf Solutions’ MineTracker will now be marketed globallySudbury-based Four Leaf Solutions provides mine technology and communication solutions that are aimed at integrating software and hardware while increasing productivity. The core product is MineTracker, which is a centralised software solution for underground mine fixed/mobile assets, diagnostics, communications, location tracking (real-time or zone), safety and reporting. Having installed the MineTracker system in existing mines in Ontario, Quebec (including Agnico-Eagle), Yukon and most recently in Saskatchewan; the company told IM that it is now branching out to the global market, with plans to offer the systems to mining operations in the US, South America, Africa and India. The group’s Bob Lavergne comments: “This is a really exciting time for us here at Four Leaf Solutions,” says Bob Lavergne, “We’ve proven our MineTracker product and are moving to a global market.” Lavergne also stressed that there is still a major focus on ongoing development. The team is actively working on new modules based on client feedback and their product roadmap including ‘working alone’ and ‘electronic tag board‘ for increased reliability and safety.Vancouver-headquartered Gemcom Software reports that it has been seeing significant uptake with its InSite mine production management system. Recent adoptees of the system include Straits Resources’ Tritton copper mine and Exxaro Resources’ Tshikondeni Coal.  Tritton has been in operation since 2004 and opted for InSite to provide a single solution to the operation’s data management requirements.  The software’s data integration and data reconciliation functionalities have removed a reliance on time consuming, manual entry spreadsheets and provided a centralised database for the entire site.Consolidating data tracking into one central repository has streamlined Tritton’s processes and will increase productivity across the operation. The ability to track material movements and stockpiles ensures accurate reporting of actual production activities against targets. Additionally, InSite’s production system links data throughout the mining system, significantly simplifying reconciliation and reporting processes.Tshikondeni Coal is an underground coal mining operation employing over 750 people and producing over 400,000 t/y of coking coal.  Implementing InSite has provided a single, integrated solution for the operation’s data management requirements, eliminating the need for time consuming manual data entry and simplifying their monthly reconciliation process.  Additionally, InSite’s Standard Reports provides a real-time view of production and coal quality, ensuring the mine can respond quickly to any issues that arise. Gemcom states: “End-of month processes, including reconciliation, are an important part of Tshikondeni Coal’s business. The previous system used numerous spreadsheets that were time intensive to manage and prone to errors. InSite captures underground production data, surface material movements and plant production data, and where possible, captures it automatically. This provides an integrated method to perform fast and accurate end-of-month reconciliation.”Training, planning and servicesHaul truck operator training at mining operations in developing countries poses particular workforce development challenges, as faced by the Canadian company Kinross Gold at their Tasiast mine in Mauritania, where training candidates have little or no prior driving experience at the controls of a motorised vehicle.Although commercial operations began at Tasiast in 2008, Kinross only recently acquired the mine in late 2010 through its buyout of Red Back Mining, so is now working to triple mining production by purchasing much additional mining equipment. Recognising the need to prescreen training candidates for the necessary psycho motor, sensory/perceptual, and cognitive abilities in an objective and efficient way, Kinross Gold looked to the simulator specialist Simlog, based in Montreal. The resulting “Simulator Lab” at Kinross Gold’s recruiting offices in Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital, features five Mining Truck Personal Simulators.A member of Kinross Gold staff trying out the Simlog simulator stationEach simulator “station” consists of Simlog’s Mining Truck simulation software, USB-ready simulator controls, a desktop PC, an LCD display, speakers, and headphones. Simlog’s Simulation Manager, installed on a sixth PC (all the PCs are networked), is used to create an account for each training candidate with a unique login name and password. Simulation results from each candidate are then saved in the Simulation Manager’s data-base, indexed by user. For each training candidate, a Kinross Gold supervisor demonstrates the basic simulator functionalityand presents an introductory Simulation Module. Then with the help of the supervisor, the candidate performs a single trial (exercise).  After that, the candidate is accorded two simulator “sessions” of 30 minutes each to revisit the same Simulation Module, but now with no help. Altogether, each training candidate spends a little more than one hour at the controls of a Mining Truck Personal Simulator.Once the simulated work is completed, the Kinross Gold supervisor analyses the simulation results for the two sessions, looking for relative improvement. Two Performance Indicators are studied in detail: Execution Time (the time to navigate a corridor from the starting position to the ending position) and Number of Collisions (when the truck makes contact with the barriers that define the corridor). Where there is noticeable improvement and when the average values for the final session exceed minimum targets, the training candidate is judged to have sufficient aptitude for training as a haul truck operator. Otherwise, no such training is possible.Since pre-screening began in July 2011, Simlog states that its Mining Truck Personal Simulator has “proven itself to be an objective, efficient, and extremely cost-effective way of evaluating training candidates for haul truck operator aptitude.” As of December 2011, a total of 211 training candidates have been evaluated and about 40% were judged to lack enough aptitude to be trained as haul truck operators.Building upon this pre-screening success, Kinross Gold is now preparing a second simulator lab at a new training facility, also located in Nouakchott, for the day-after-day, week-after-week, drill and practice to help the carefully selected training candidates learn what Simlog calls “core skills.” After that, they will move on to the controls of real trucks to be operated in the Nouakchott area, as the final step in becoming “truck-ready” trainees for the Tasiast mine. Since the simulator-based prescreening and training, and seat-time, take place in Nouakchott, Kinross Gold avoids all of the transportation and accommodation costs associated with getting truck ready at the mine itself, making the process even more costeffective.Golder Associates new C3D centre in the heart of TorontoThrough an industry partnership, Golder & Associates, along with the Mining Innovation Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO) has opened a Collaborative 3D (C3D) Centre, located in the heart of Toronto’s financial and mining district. The facility’s large 16 ft screen leverages advanced True 3D technologies by providing seamless three dimensional stereographic images. True 3D technology provides next-generation tools for collaborating on engineering, environmental and financial information for key stakeholders and decision makers in the mining industry.  According to Golder, the centre allows the combining of multiple datasets into a single comprehensive viewing environment for efficient property and technical assessments; supports effective analysis of complex data for improved stakeholder communication; enhances evaluations on mining projects to make appropriate investment decisions; reveals new opportunities through more informed decision making; and creates value from data for more profitable resource development. Mining applications could include mineral exploration targeting, geological modelling, mineral planning and design, stakeholder communication and investor relations.Dumas Contracting and Tercon Investments have combined to create a new company providing a “diverse and integrated suite of specialised services to the international mining and energy sectors.” The newly enlarged company will operate under the globally recognised Dumas name. This complementary combination provides clients immediate access to a broad range of services, covering the complete project lifecycle, from concept to completion, including specialty engineering, site development and infrastructure, construction and production mining.“The combination makes Dumas one of the few contractors able to provide both underground and surface mining services,” said Milan Soucek, President of Tercon. “Pooling the resources of Dumas and Tercon brings together two safety-focused cultures with highly skilled and experienced workforces, capable of proactively anticipating client needs during projects of any size or complexity.” Additionally, with the combination, Dumas now has an extensive, high-quality production equipment fleet. The fleet includes an extensive array of production trucks and equipment, as well as a wide range of mobile, shaft and stationary equipment suitable for any underground or surface project. The company has a dedicated maintenance facility to ensure the continued quality and reliability of the fleet and is ready to mobilise equipment to international and domestic projects at short notice.Ventilation and communicationsSmartEXEC (Smart Expandable Energy Control) from Simsmart Technology in Brossard, Quebec, has been selected to provide Ventilation on Demand (VOD) for Xstrata’s Nickel Rim South mine in Sudbury, Ontario. Since implementation, the system has been incrementally delivering the much anticipated benefits of increased energy efficiency while maintaining the mine’s production performance. In order to ensure adherence to ventilation requirements, underground mines will often ventilate more than what is required because the airflow demands have to be satisfied repetitively for different parallel circuits. For example, as a vehicle moves within the ventilation circuit from one parallel section to another, the total airflow demand is doubled to compensate for the same vehicle travelling between two different locations. Such an occurrence leads to significant energy costs or limits the daily production of the mine. Similarly, auxiliary fans for headings face a similar issue as it is not common practice for miners to shut off a fan when work has terminated. Both situations result in a significant waste of energy that can be averted. Settings at the controllers of the booster fans and/or regulators could be modified as vehicles or personnel move from one section to another; thus automatically adjusting the air as needed avoiding the aforementioned energy inefficiencies. The concept of VOD is a solution to these operational challenges. VOD can be defined as the adjustment of ventilation equipment settings according to vehicle and personnel current status and location. The main infrastructure required to implement a VOD system is mainly composed of remote control ventilation equipment, a communication system to surface and a vehicle and/or personnel tracking system. Software must then be installed to execute the VOD logic. This software determines air requirements depending on the tracking system data and sends specific commands to control the ventilation equipment. SmartEXEC was specifically developed to deploy VOD at underground mines. It has a userfriendly HMI interface designed to be used by workers, technicians or engineers to control ventilation at underground mine sites.The software communicates to the PLC (s) or any other control hardware interface with the use of an OPC server. During the implementation of VOD, equipment with remote control capabilities is configured on the system. The SmartEXEC system will then permit the user to control this equipment manually as well as from scheduled control events as required. The scheduling feature is easy to use and can be utilised for energy savings purposes (shutting down fans, decreasing rpm in between shifts, pre-blast, post-blast) but can also be very useful to provide the mine with fast emergency response to a given event. For example a number of events can be set up in case of a fire at any given location (fans shutdowns, doors closing, reverse of fans etc).  Events can also be used for blast clearing purposes, as it is at Nickel Rim South.  As long as basic ventilation automation is available (via OPC), the user can add a starter, VFD or regulator actuator and control the equipment attached to it. Such an update in the system is all performed while the system is operating; there is no need to shutdown the system when new equipment is added, all changes are dynamically active when applied.Similarly, without requiring any automation skills, the HMI interface can display any information such as equipment settings and flow rates within a configurable user defined summary page. The SmartEXEC also has the ability to combine flow or VOD control with other parameters such as gas concentration or temperature. A single piece of ventilation control equipment (such as a regulator) has the ability to perform simultaneous control based on six different variables. It has also the capability to control other equipment such as pumps and compressors.Commissioning of the VOD system at Nickel Rim South mine is approaching significant completion and it is on its way to being the first mine in the world to achieve a full scale multilevel VOD mine operation. All SmartEXEC control levels were successfully tested, and several control levels are already in use 100% of the time. The completion of the tracking system installation will lead to its full potential being realised. The mine has three main levels and numerous sub-levels which have regulators at the outlet of each access drifts. The fresh air comes from the main shaft and is discharged on the main levels, it is then carried through the ramps and each sub-level, the foul air then reaches the regulators to flow into a raise connected to the return air drifts located within the main levels. There are three supply axial fans (550 hp each) and two large centrifugal exhaust fans (4,000 hp each). The five surface fans are all equipped with VFDs. The exhaust ventilation shaft is located at proximity of the main shaft.The control of the supply fans is based on the airflow between the adit and the main shaft collar, an airflow sensor is installed at that location. The control ensures that there is no air downcasting from the main shaft collar during the cold periods as it could freeze the shaft and the service water pipes. During summer, air downcast is permitted to decrease the power consumption of the intake fans as the overall resistance of the system is reduced. The exhaust fans and regulators are controlled based on the strategy described earlier. Each regulator is equipped with a ventilation monitoring station including ultrasonic airflow sensors and CO, O2, and NO2 gas sensors. Each regulator has several modes of operations which can be easily set and viewed.At the mine there are presently 113 auxiliary fans under remote control within the SmartEXEC system: 58 service fans and 55 stope access fans. Eight stope access fans are presently operating under VOD control (activated by vehicle or personnel presence). Daily schedules are in place to shutdown all 113 auxiliary fans at the end of each shift. Service fans are rescheduled to start at the beginning of the shift. The service fans’ start-up schedules are divided into two different categories; preoperational services and operational services.  The preoperational services fans are started earlier than the operational services fans to optimise the energy savings.The current savings provided from the implementation of the SmartEXEC system mainly consist of the following areas: exhaust fan speed reduction during shift change (scheduling); shutdown of all auxiliary fans at the end of each shift (scheduling); supply fans flow control; VOD control in selected auxiliary zones; and VOD full scale primary network control strategy (surface fans energy optimiser).Mine Radio Systems (MRS), the global designer and manufacturer of underground mine communication systems, has recently completed phase one of its installation at the Boleo deposit on the east cost of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.  Boleo required a one of a kind communication solution that allowed for constant contact between underground mines, surface mine sites and main operational centres; could be expanded quickly and stand up to a very harsh environment. “The remoteness of the mine coupled with the extreme heat became a major obstacle when it came to providing power to the two surface repeaters and main operation building” says Wisam Farjow, MRS Vice President of Engineering. MRS’s solution provides Baja Mining’s Boleo site with a complete scalable system that features two surface repeater sites to provide voice communication coverage between the mine sites and main buildings; microwave linking of all sites; eight TDMA voice communication channels; automatic channel roaming between repeaters; MRS Centrian system integration for the underground mines; GPS functionality; and a dispatch console for the system.The surface communication infrastructure is connected to and communicates with the MRS underground Centrian Leaky Feeder System to provide “seamless and constant” coverage from surface to underground and visa versa. MRS says it will continue to work closely with Baja Mining over the next few months training its onsite employees at Boleo, as well as working on future expansion plans as the site continues to grow.Power, drilling and processingElectrical equipment specialist Adria Manufacture, based in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, is expanding its global presence with the addition of two new distributors. Burkina Fasobased distributor Satel is now offering Adria’s products and services to West Africa, while Moscow-based Technocomplex Rockmine has been granted Russian territory distributorship.Adria’s portable substation can be tilted vertically for slinging in a mine shaftAdria recently completed a project at Centerra Gold’s Kumtor mine, which is located at more than 4,200 m above sea level, in Kyrgyzstan.  Because of the high altitude, electrical equipment needed to be specially designed for the lack of oxygen and air density. Overheating problems and dielectric strength are highly affected in this type of environment and standard equipment is likely to fail over a short period of time. Adria designed and built 6.3 kV portable substations that would work properly in a low oxygen and high altitude mine-site. At the other end of the scale, Adria has also been supplying other versions of portable substations for some of the world’s deepest gold mines, at more than 2,800 m deep. These units are designed for a high ambient temperature, low air quality and high humidity. They typically contain a high voltage load break switch, a mine duty power transformer and a secondary low voltage distribution. The mine power centre can be equipped with many options, such as ground fault protection, ground pilot wire monitoring, neutral grounding resistor and monitoring, infrared inspection viewports (for thermography inspection), and an arc flash detection system.Winnipeg, Manitoba-based longhole drilling leader Cubex is currently building a third track driven Wassara production drill, the Scorpion, for Cameco’s McArthur River Uranium mine. This unit is unique from the others as it will have the ability to access ore bodies that are presently unreachable without developing the mine further and greatly increasing costs. To access the ore with the existing mine layout a solution is needed to drill to greater depths. Cubex is engineering a solution to improve the design of the standard mast used on all of its in-the-hole production drills to double feed force. The feed force on the redesigned mast sets a new benchmark for the industry at 267 kN (60,000 lb).In block caving applications this new mast design would enable the drill to produce accurate pre-conditioning holes at lengths exceeding 500 m. Units with this capability are expected to be in the field in the second half of 2012.Quebec-based Fordia has announced the introduction of HERO 9, a new diamond tool, that further develops the HERO series. The company tells IM: “HERO 9 offers an exceptional penetration and lifespan ratio as does all the HERO series. However, this bit facilitates drilling in hard to very hard ground like granites or syenites. The HERO 9 matrix offers the perfect equilibrium of components to allow easy sharpening and long lasting life. It also offers a great lifespan, even under the most demanding drilling conditions like high feed pressure.”WS Tyler’s Haver Hydro-Clean washing system effectively cleans deleterious material from aggregate, industrial minerals and metallic ores while reducing water consumption by up to 75% and energy costs by up to 15% over traditional washing systems. In addition to the energy and environmental concerns, some materials aren’t washable in conventional systems, such as materials caked with heavy clay. The Hydro- Clean high-pressure design allows virtually any material to be washed. The unit removes silt and clay particles as small as 63 microns from mineral mixtures and, with its short retention times, can process up to 400 t/h, depending on model size and application. Material is continuously fed to the unit by a conveyor belt.  Two adjustable water jets located above the hopper create a low pressure downstream current, which helps clean off impurities, particularly sticky material, and allow it to flow into the washing chamber.Material height in the hopper is constantly monitored by a laser level indicator that provides exact data to the PLC unit. The PLC reads the data, then regulates the material flow accordingly. It controls how fast the machine works so that consistency in production is achieved. Material is washed by high-pressure water nozzles, located on a washing head.  Utilising up to 90% recycled water, the nozzles rotate at 100 rpm and spray the material at impressive pressures, up to 2,900 psi (200 bar).  Featuring an angled design, the nozzles create a shovelling effect, which spreads out the material and helps to ensure every angle of the material is touched and every side washed. While most traditional washing systems only wash the material’s surface, the Hydro-Clean’s highpressure jets are able to penetrate every pore and wash the material completely. The washed material works its way down the drum and exits onto a discharge conveyor. The conveyor takes the material to a standard rinse screen, which removes any remaining dirt or clay as it fractionates the material. Meanwhile, the resulting dirty water flows through polyurethane screen panels installed in the sides of the washing drum and is collected by a waste water system. The dirty water is then sent through the rinse screen and into a fines hopper, which directs it to the plant’s water treatment system for recycling.Traditional washing systems can use up to 900 gpm of water to clean material. The Hydro-Clean only needs 200 gal/min, using as much as 75% less water. In addition, due to its compact size and weight, overall operating and structural costs are considerably lower than with traditional washing systems that also require more equipment and a greater footprint. The standard Hydro-Clean weighs only 8 t.  More than 50 Hydro-Clean units have already been delivered, including to gypsum, gold and diamond operations.Vehicle and haulage solutionsSaskatoon-based PapaBravo Innovations recently announced the availability of a line of heavy duty 4 x 4, 1 t electric mining utility trucks in 2011. The company believes that the vehicles offer a safe, clean, emissions free alternative to the current diesel trucks operating in most underground environments. All the vehicles have certified ROPS protection and can be outfitted with certified FOPS protection. The product line has been expanded from 0.25 t personnel carriers to 1 t work trucks. The full line is designed specifically for underground potash mining conditions. They have the capability to travel 120 km per charge, and are powered by lithium-iron-phosphate batteries which require no maintenance and do not have any gases present during charge or discharge. The vehicles can be charged in less than an hour giving them the capability to work up to 500 km per day.An RDH Muckmaster 2500 LHD before shipping to a Barrick operationRDH Mining Equipment in northern Ontario has equipment working underground in some of the world’s toughest locations both in Canada in extreme climates in Nunavut, Quebec and Saskatchewan but also in African and Siberian mines. Claude Resources’ Seabee gold operation is some 150 km northwest of Flin Flon, Manitoba and operates an RDH fleet. Equipment and heavy supplies are trucked to the site from January through March via a 60 km winter road.  Beyond logistics comes the right approach to training, supplying parts and providing service. RDH states that it has an established global network of shipping and logistics specialists, ensuring rapid delivery of parts and equipment.  It also keeps an extensive stock of spare parts and uses common components across its product lines to minimise part supply requirements. The parts supply network is backed up by a group of highly trained technicians who can be on-site within 24 hours if necessary. Seabee operates a range of RDH machines including three Drillmaster 200 DEH two boom jumbos; two Drillmaster 100 DEH – one boom jumbos; a Liftmaster 600R scissor lift; Loadmaster 600R boom truck; along with various units that have been remanufactured by RDH for the mine.The Argo Centaur 8 x 8 has a range of possible mining and exploration applicationsIn Timmins, Ontario, ARGO and its dealer Timmins Rent All have been developing mining/exploration specific utility vehicle solutions. To meet rough terrain and around the clock operating requirements, they developed customised accessories for mining companies.  The vehicles of choice for carrying this specialised equipment are the ARGO Centaur 8 x 8 DT and the ARGO 750 HDi. In addition, ARGO itself is now offering these custom mining and exploration packages worldwide. The Centaur has a tough 3-cylinder Briggs & Stratton/Daihatsu Turbo Diesel rated at 34 hp.  The fuel tank is sufficient for the vehicle to run for 8-10 hours before re-fuelling, permitting numerous core samples to be carried from offroad locations back to a base site. Heavyduty twin tracks on each pair of the eight wheels offers low ground pressure and good flotation.  There are no grease points anywhere on the Centaur, and it is capable of fording streams as deep as 26 in. Besides the heavy-duty diesel engine and enclosed cab for added comfort in inclement weather, the Centaur’s major advantage is its utility bed that can be customised for many critical mining needs. One company using the Centaur is Mallette Drilling in Timmins. Marc Mallette commented: “The Centaur is a great vehicle for initial set-up of an exploration site in a wetland, because of its low impact. We use our Centaur to carry in fuel drums, core boxes, rods and casing rods.”  Centaurs from ARGO Chile in Santiago are also working in Chilean heap leach copper mines.  Traditionally, the workers have had to walk the leach pads on foot and move all of the material and dripping hoses by hand because heavy equipment compacted the heaps and did not permit the acidic solution to filter through. But the low PSI of the Centaur allows one employee with an assistant to care of 5 – 6 sub-module s on the leach pad in the time that it took five employees walking on foot to take care of one previously. The mining company also uses Centaurs to transport employees back and forth to the ore heaps, to carry tools, and also to work on the very irregular ROM ore piles.Industrial Fabrication Inc (IFI) believes that adapting vehicles, like pick-ups, originally designed for surface use into underground vehicles has inherent challenges and limited success in mining applications. The group comments: “Our research and experience led us to our engineering philosophy that the ‘adaptation’ of surface vehicles simply won’t make the cut. That’s because the underground work environment is extreme.” The new Minecat UT99C builds upon the Minecat 100 Series and incorporates the latest in braking technology with wet disc brakes and SAHR (Spring Applied Hydraulic Release) brakes. The model also has an increased frame capacity. Many pickup truck frames are designed to be lightweight and flex easily under load but this reduces their ability to adapt various attachments to the rear of the machine such as crane booms, aerial booms or scissor lifts. The Minecat UT99 has the ability to have these attachments without stressing the frame and components. The frame has also been designed so that it can easily split in two halves for transport in cages, eliminating the need to cut the machine in half using torches. Cummins engine technology meets EPA Tier 3 emission standards as well as MSHA and CanMet requirements.Storage and work spacesSEI Industries Arctic Shield fabric is used on the Insta-Berm offeringMost mineral exploration takes place in remote locations where temporary above ground fuel storage bladders and drums are a common sight. Around those bladders and drums, berms protect the environment in case of an accidental spill. It is now common for inspectors to request that operators provide secondary containment around fuel drums and other bulk fuel storage sites and, depending on the location, some regulations may also require spill prevention equipment in fuel transfer areas. One of the most advanced berm fabrics on the market today is a proprietary material called Arctic-Shield.Developed by Delta, British Columbia-based SEI Industries, the Arctic Shield fabric was purpose-built specifically for above-ground secondary containment of fuels in Arctic climates at remote sites. Arctic-Shield fabric has a high strip tensile and adhesion strength, a low cold crack temp below -50°C and low diffusion rates because it was designed specifically for long duration fuel exposure that may occur if a fuel spill were to happen at a remote site that is unmanned for the winter. SEI offers Arctic-Shield fabric on its Insta-Berm (framed and L-rod models) as well as its smaller Mini-Berm.Based in Saskatoon, Norseman Structures supplies modular maintenance buildings – massive open work space that can be used for mining equipment maintenance, storage of mining equipment and warehousing. The design provides a clear-span structure with no columns to get in the way of moving equipment around.  The company recently completed a seven building project for a major oil sands operation.  The project includes a custom T series building on rails, three additional T-Series and three FSeries buildings.Norseman Structures F-Series building in Canadian oil sands, AlbertaThe T-Series ‘Rail’ building is used for a variety of fabrication purposes while the TSeries buildings are used primarily for warehousing. The F-Series buildings were used by the customer in a first-of-its-kind, pilot project allowing construction of three civil projects (water treatment plant, oil treatment plant and a steam generation plant) to proceed, without costly delays during winter months.  Typically, piles are driven into place during summer months, with the next stages of construction put on hold, due to frost penetration once winter arrives. The Norseman Structures F-Series building was chosen as it provides shelter from the elements, but also creates a controlled environment. Inside the structures, temperatures above freezing are maintained, allowing excavation around the piles and pouring of concrete throughout the winter.Inspection, testing and scanningCanadian engineering, automation, software development and energy management group Bestech has recently introduced RopeInspector, a system that automates regulated visual rope inspection by providing 360° coverage at full hoisting speed. By providing a 360° coverage rope inspection while defect analysis is performed offline, RopeInspector increases available maintenance time, hoisting production time and worker safety. Bestech comments: “It will provide early detection of rope failure, which also reduces equipment damage. Implementation of the system improves efficiency while meeting legislation requirements.”The RopeInspector system automates regulated visual rope inspection by providing 360° coverage at full speedIn 2003, the original research project for RopeInspector was completed with initial funding from INCO (Vale) and C-CORE in conjunction with SEER Technologies. The following year, additional Canadian and Australian sponsors joined the research group to realise the software and hoist monitoring system. The year 2006 marked the launch of the RopeInspector with Xstrata Copper installing the first generation system on a double drum hoist at Kidd Creek. The success of this initiative encouraged the Phase 2 development of technology for friction hoists, such as Koepe types, the following year. In 2008, Phase 3 involved installations at Newcrest Telfer (Koepe) and BHP Leinster (double drum) in Australian mines. The economic downturn of 2008 forced SEER to seek a partner to invest in RopeInspector technology and by 2011, the RopeInspector technology was acquired by Bestech, where it continues to be maintained and further improved.The Occupational Health and Safety Act depicts strict requirements pertaining to the examination of the exterior of each hoisting and tail rope of a mine hoisting plant “immediately before the hoisting plant is used…and at least once each day thereafter that it is in use” to detect the presence of kinks or other damage.  Usually, these legislated inspections are performed manually and require a temporary cease in operations. Manual examinations of the rope involve workers located near moving ropes, suspended at various heights.Installed under the sheave wheels, RopeInspector captures potential rope defects by capturing images and then presenting them electronically to a physical rope inspector who is tasked with validating and confirming impending rope defects. The system is capable of scanning wire ropes at speeds of up to 20 m/s and can identify potential defects less than 10 mm in size. The system is also equipped to detect necking, nicking, bulging (birdcage) and fraying, as well as track the locations of these defects on the wire rope. Defect analysis can be performed at any time from any minesite computer using the web enabled user interface.  Daily visual rope inspections with RopeInspector allow mine hoist supervisors to convert inspection time to more productive uses since the production process is no longer halted or delayed in order to perform the mandated daily visual inspections. Production is consequently increased due to the reduction in skip (ore) or hoist (personnel and equipment) down time.  Workers are able to inspect the rope by reviewing computerised photos, shaving hours off the original inspection time and eliminating the need for traditional manual inspections. The technology not only accelerates the process, but also provides auditable and retrievable stored images for later review.Ontario-based Optech is a leader in the development, manufacture and support of advanced LiDAR and imaging survey instruments. Its sensors are used in a broad range of applications, including mining, metallurgy and exploration. The Optech CMS (Cavity Monitoring System) is an autoscanning laser that collects thousands of accurately located points that are used to determine a cavity’s size, orientation and volume, and to create detailed engineering drawings. Mine safety is key to its design and operation, which ensure that the user can extend the  scanning head deep into hazardous or inaccessible areas while mining personnel stand clear. Universally adopted data formats also ensure that CMS data can be used in any software workflow. The system is easy to transport and set up, and is fully programmable, allowing the user to define scan parameters.The Optech ILRIS (Intelligent Laser Ranging and Imaging System) is a fully portable laserbased ranging and imaging system for commercial survey, engineering, mining, and industrial markets. A compact and highly integrated instrument with digital image capture and sophisticated software tools, ILRIS is about the size of a motorised total station, with an onboard high-resolution digital camera and large format LCD viewfinder, ILRIS has a visual interface similar to that of a digital camera.  ILRIS is deployed by a single operator. In operation, the scanner is controlled via a wireless handheld PDA or laptop computer. The target area and scan status are displayed locally on the screen, and data is written directly to removable media. Measurement area and spot density are user-definable. The system’s large dynamic range and compact size allow high accuracy surveys to be completed quickly and safely.Global Inspections-NDT provides advanced non-destructive testing in the mining and mineral processing sectors. It has three Canadian offices located in Kelowna, Calgary and Quebec. One of the key elements of mineral processing facilities that use gear driven SAG and ball mills, is the integrity of the critical gear unit that drive the mill. For the maintenance team, condition monitoring on the gear unit is crucial for preventative maintenance. Conventional gear inspection methods for surface inspection, such as Magnetic Particle or Dye Penetrant rely heavily on operator interpretation. At best, these methods can determine whether a discontinuity exists but are unable to provide information on the severity. Global Inspections-NDT offers the Gear-Pro system, which it states can detect 100% of all gear tooth surface discontinuities, providing comprehensive data, and has the ability to size cracks accurately. Gear-Pro also does not require the gear teeth to be wiped down by hand after cleaning as in Magnetic Particle, Dye Penetrant or Ultrasonic inspection methods. With 2D and 3D displays, the discontinuity can be seen electronically, as some are missed with visual inspection methods. All of the data is electronically generated and can be archived for future reference.  Not only can the discontinuities be identified – any cracks found can be sized accurately and as a result, inspection times are reduced.Frag-Assist helps provide more accurate rock fragmentation resultsMotion Metrics International provides advanced monitoring solutions designed to improve safety, efficiency, and productivity in the mining industry. Its LoadMetrics, RadarMetrics and ToothMetrics systems have been covered in previous issues. ToothMetrics as an example constantly monitors the shovel bucket teeth while the shovel is in operation, and alerts the shovel operator when a missing shovel tooth or adaptor is detected. Once detected, the tooth or adaptor can be located and prevented from reaching the crusher. However, new for 2012 is the addition of Frag-Assist for the Motion Metrics FragMetrics shovel bucket-based automatic rock fragmentation collection and analysis system. Frag-Assist is a cutting-edge toolset that integrates four features to provide greater flexibility and precise control of the fragmentation results. These new tools include: Segmentation Control, Fine Detection Control, Region Merge, and Rock/Fines Classification. The results of these adjustments are immediately shown on the FragMetrics user interface so that they can be quickly fine-tuned. With the new Frag-Assist tools, FragMetrics provides highly accurate rock fragmentation results with less time and effort.The acquisition of its Canadian technical and distribution facility has been completed by UKbased laser measurement technology specialist, Measurement Devices Ltd (MDL). MDL is a global market leader in the design and development of robotic laser surveying and mapping technology for mining. It has acquired 100% of Thomas Engineering (TEC) Manotick in Ottawa, as part of its strategy to create a global laser measurement, manufacturing and distribution and services business. The acquisition enables MDL and TEC to launch a new business, MDL Canada, which will focus on sales and service to the fast-growing Canadian mining, quarrying and surveying industry.  MDL mining and quarrying industry products, already widely used in Canada include the Quarryman, Boretrak, C-ALS (Cavity Auto Scanning Laser System), Void Scanner (VS150) and the 3D mobile mapping system Dynascan. TEC has built up a significant Canadian business with twelve staff by providing services using MDL laser systems to many uranium, gold, nickel, and zinc mines throughout Canada including those operated by Goldcorp, Vale, Xstrata and Cameco. IMlast_img read more