Each year we celebrate excellence in the mining industry by inviting our readers to nominate people, companies or groups that they feel have demonstrated outstanding commitment to advancing the face of mining over the past 12 months.
Readers can nominate their clients, colleagues or even themselves for a variety of reasons. It could be for the development of a new technology, or the innovative application of an existing one. It can be for their involvement with a particular project that has seen amazing results, or for an initiative that has helped to change the industry's mind-set towards a certain challenge. It can be for their research efforts into areas such as safety or energy efficiency, or for their approach to environmental stewardship. The reasons are endless and extremely varied.
Congratulations to all of our winners, who are listed below.
And the winners are...
Exploration WINNER: Chris Drenth, Boart Longyear
As Boart Longyear's director for engineering, Chris Drenth has been instrumental in rod and wireline development for 22 years. He is the inventor of 21 designs and 25 inventions that Boart Longyear has pursued patent protection for, including the RQTM thread and the XQTM rod thread. Drenth is respected in the industry as a leading rod expert, and is also known for mentoring young talent within Boart Longyear. As a valued contributor and innovator to the industry, he is often referred to as the ‘Rod Father'.
Software WINNER: Dingo Trakka 4.5
Dingo's Trakka is a powerful, cloud-based condition management software system designed to house all of a mine's asset health data under one roof. In September, Dingo launched Trakka 4.5 to help customers maximise their sensor data. By enabling customers to capture and run powerful analytics on this high-frequency data, this version of Trakka is helping mines cut through the noise and turn a sea of sensor data into actionable intelligence that drives results.
Load and haul WINNER: Newtrax Mobile Equipment Telemetry
Newtrax's system for payload monitoring continuously monitors the payload in the bucket and analyses the variation of this payload curve over time to detect: the loading event time stamp for LHDs and trucks; the number of bucket loads dumped in the truck; and the tonnes stuck at the bottom of the bucket after dumping. The ability to monitor payload activities in real time from the surface eliminates erroneous data and wasted time due to operator input both over radio and through manual log sheets.
Drill and blast WINNER: Paul Bird, ArcelorMittal (Canada)
In the face of persistently low iron ore prices, Paul Bird made the commitment in 2016 to implement autonomous blasthole drill operation at ArcelorMittal's Mont Wright site in northern Quebec, Canada. This technology has proven capable of delivering significant savings through a reduction in production variability. These autonomous machines pave the way for further technology deployments to aid profound business transformation at Mont Wright.
Safety WINNER: Fabien Kritter and Mzwandile Buthelezi, Hexagon Mining and Kumba Iron Ore
Mzwandile Buthelezi of AngloAmerican Kumba Iron Ore and Fabien Kritter of Hexagon Mining were instrumental in the 2017 launch of HxGN Mine VIS, a vehicle intervention system that automatically slows or even stops a haul truck if an imminent collision is detected. Both worked together to develop a solution that would create an additional layer of safety around the collision avoidance system currently protecting vehicle operators at AngloAmerican Kumba Iron Ore's Sishen mine in South Africa. HxGN Mine VIS is now being installed at the mine, well ahead of government regulations compelling mine operators to install vehicle intervention technology on vehicles by June 2019.
Environmental excellence WINNER: Haver & Boecker Hydro-Clean 1000 Wash Plant
With water restrictions and energy costs increasing, authorities are imposing water limitations across North America, pushing manufacturers to seek ways to improve component life, boost efficiency and create environmentally friendly solutions. Haver & Boecker introduced the Hydro-Clean 1000 wash plant in March 2017. It reduces water use by 75% and energy use by 15% over traditional washing systems and can use recycled water. The plant's high-pressure water jets turn what would otherwise be waste into saleable material.
Mineral processing WINNER: Eriez Flotation Division Coarse Particle Flotation Technology
Eriez Flotation Division's HydroFloat recovers coarse particles up to 6mm by applying flotation in a fluidised bed, and the company says it offers a paradigm shift in copper sulphide processing. The primary benefit is the flotation of very coarse material that is lost using conventional methods. HydroFloat combines the advantages of froth flotation and gravity separation and produces higher throughput capacity and reduces reagents and air consumption.
Bulk handling WINNER: Superior Industries
Superior Industries has undergone a huge expansion in the last few years, transforming from a conveyor supplier to a company that supplies a range of bulk material processing and handling systems including crushers, screens and washers. At Conexpo 2017, the company said it had launched 95 products in the three years since Conexpo 2014, with "the largest single new product display at a booth in the history of Conexpo". Since then it has also expanded its conveyor components accessories line with the release of the Impact Cradle.
Technology WINNER: Don MacLean, MacLean Engineering
As an underground miner in Sudbury in the 1960s, Don MacLean saw first-hand the rapid replacement of electric tram cars with diesel-powered mobile equipment. Now almost 50 years later and in his retirement year, at 80 years old, he is at the forefront of bringing battery-electric mobile equipment alternatives to the underground mining environment. MacLean Engineering was chosen to supply a fleet of battery-powered mobile underground mining equipment to begin development and eventual production at Goldcorp's Borden gold project in Ontario, Canada.
Service and support WINNER: Metso Life Cycle Services
Metso's Life Cycle Services (LCS) can help mines by supplementing their current team or taking complete responsibility for key activities and offering a commercial model aligned to the mine's business goals. Anglo American's Los Bronces copper mine in Chile entered a LCS mechanical maintenance contract with Metso for the mine's primary crushing plant in 2010. Under the LCS contract, equipment availability proved much better in 2016 than in 2015, with a 0.6% improvement on crushing line 1 and a 2.1% increase in availability on line 2. This is equivalent to a 22% cut in corrective maintenance time in 2016 compared with 2015, and a 69% reduction in total maintenance time. The improvements were achieved with zero accidents.
Editor's award WINNER: FLSmidth and Goldcorp Ecotails
FLSmidth and Goldcorp are co-developing EcoTails, a system for co-mingling dewatered tailings with waste rock in a continuous process that produces a new type of waste called GeoWaste. Designed for large-scale mining applications, the system is expected to be environmentally safer for managing tailings and waste rock storage and has the potential to eliminate conventional slurry tailings dams completely. The system is also designed to increase water recovery and reuse by as much as 90-95%.