The companies said the state-of-the-art research and knowledge centre played a role in the development and implementation of innovative step-change research and technology development for underground mines, designed to minimise delays and create value through speed and geo-risk mitigation.
Since it was established in December 2010, the RTC-UMC interacts and collaborates with academics, consultants and representatives from a consortium of Rio Tinto operations worldwide. The centre has engaged a globally networked solution team including: Itasca Consulting Group; Golder Associates; SRK Consulting; Aker Wirth; Atlas Copco; MIRARCO; Laurentian University; Queen’s University; Universities of Arizona and Toronto; University of British Columbia, Delft University; The Federal Technical University of Zurich, and many others.
The RTC-UMC is focused on three core areas essential to the success of large-scale mining operations: ground control in mechanised excavations; characterisation of rock mass quality and strength in deep, massive, veined orebodies; and the development of efficient and effective support systems for increased footprint reliability.
The three most outstanding geotechnical achievements with high impact potential are related to rock mass strength determination, deformation-based support design and cave loading for pillar design.
Douglas Morrison, president and CEO of CEMI reflected on the importance of the RTC-UMC at CEMI stating: “Rio Tinto’s significant investment in RTC-UMC continues to put Canada on the map for innovation in underground mining. I would like to applaud the contribution of the team leaders: Dr Peter Kaiser as start-up director, Matthew Pierce, director, Dr Erik Eberhardt, associate director and thank Rio Tinto for their continued support of CEMI in helping to create innovative solutions to some of the most challenging underground mining issues. We look forward to continuing our work with Rio Tinto.”
William Forsyth, director of operational and technical services at Rio Tinto Copper & Diamonds, added: “Rio Tinto recognises that our mines are becoming deeper, with lower grades and increasing limitations on accessing water and power. CEMI’s projects aim to address these challenges and as a result Rio Tinto Operations in North America, based in Salt Lake City, is currently developing the next phase in our relationship with CEMI to work on these issues.”