Voting has now closed.
These annual awards recognise outstanding new technologies, initiatives and equipment performance in the mining sector over the past year across a range of categories.
Votes are limited to one choice for each category per person, and voting will close on December 9.
The winners will be announced in the January/February joint issue of Mining Magazine that comes out on Friday January 25, 2019 and will be announced on the same day on MiningMagazine.com.
Each winner will be presented with commemorative brass miners' lamp and a certificate.
See below for more information on the nominees.
Dr Graham Carman, Tinka Resources
Under Dr Carman's leadership, Tinka Resources has identified and delineated one of the largest undeveloped zinc-silver (tin-lead-indium) deposits in South America at the resource stage at Ayawilca, central Peru. More than 35,000m drilling has been completed in the last two years, and Dr Carman, together with Tinka's Exploration vice president, Alvaro Fernandez-Baca, and his team, revised the geological interpretation of the district, successfully targeting duplicated horizons and new zinc and tin resource zones. The Ayawilca project recently initiated a preliminary economic assessment (PEA), and resources stand at 11.7Mmt @ 8.1% zinc equivalent (ZnEq) (indicated category), 45.0Mmt @ 6.7% ZnEq (inferred category), plus 14.5Mmt @ 0.70% tin equivalent inferred category).
Goldcorp and IBM Canada: IBM Exploration with Watson
The IBM Exploration with Watson solution applies artificial intelligence to predict the potential for gold mineralisation and uses powerful search and query capabilities across a range of exploration datasets.
At Red Lake, IBM Exploration with Watson provided independent support to drill targets planned by geologists via traditional methods and proposed new targets which were subsequently verified. Drilling of some of these new targets is ongoing, with the first target yielding the predicted mineralisation at the expected depth.
Seequent and IMDEX: 3-D visualisation solution
Seequent, a developer of visual data science software, and IMDEX, a global provider of real-time subsurface intelligence solutions, have announced an ongoing partnership to deliver a real-time 3-D visualisation solution for the mining and exploration industry that aims to dramatically improve the speed and accuracy of decision-making for drilling projects.
MICROMINE: machine learning
MICROMINE has embraced the concept of machine learning and automation in the mining industry through targeted research and pilot test trial studies. Its Pitram solution has been able to use data sources such as cameras attached to a piece of, in this case, an underground loader. MICROMINE has through research and development built a model which can analyse the loader's performance and then determine how best to adjust the operating parameters of the loader to optimise its performance efficiency - without human interaction. In September this year MICROMINE initiated a new machine-learning project/challenge, titled "Automated value recognition from an image of an LCD display", which is also being undertaken by third-year students from the UWA Computer Science Faculty. The challenge is centred around streamlining the integration between geological data collection devices and geological data management software.
Customers using OptiMine to optimise productions are reducing downtime, hauling more tonnes, and keeping their people safer. OptiMine is a powerful, OEM-independent suite of digital tools for analysing and optimising mining production and processes. It integrates all relevant data into one source, delivering both real-time and predictive insights to improve operations. OptiMine is open and scalable, with flexibility to build and incorporate other equipment, systems and networks.
OptiMine Analytics is the next generation of OptiMine, transforming data into process improvements via predictive insights and actionable dashboards embedded into operation management systems.
Sandvik's ever-growing digital ecosystem incorporates its decades-long experience and footprint with IoT expertise from partners including IBM and Newtrax, making this the most comprehensive process optimisation suite in the industry for underground hard-rock mining.
Komatsu Analytics Platform
Komatsu's third-generation Analytics Platform is a cloud-based solution that enables customers to become more in tune with their day-to-day operations, providing near real-time insights on important aspects affecting total cost of operation, including operator performance data, global benchmarking and machine downtime. Leveraging the latest and greatest capabilities from Silicon Valley and applying best practices for the mining industry, Komatsu's third-generation platform vastly expands the ability to create unique and sanalytics, specific to each customer's challenges, at a faster pace than ever before. Through the platform, machine and sensor data is enriched with decades of OEM engineering product knowledge that unlocks untapped capabilities within operating equipment.
Category: Drill and Blast
Steve Piercey, Orica
Steve Piercey pushed the boundaries of underground blasting, developing a new mining method with Orica's truly wireless initiation technology - WebGen at Goldcorp's Musselwhite mine. The initiative saw a remarkable 93% reduction in dilution and 33% fewer days mucking of an average of 27% more tonnes per day. Due to better fragmentation, trucks hauled 15% more tonnage per load compared to trucks loaded at conventional stopes. This is a game-changing technology that opens up immense possibilities for operations around the world.
The Aegis software pushes the boundaries of predictive models with its new break analyser package. The break module allows a mine to use its own measured rock properties, shockwave attenuation characteristics and explosive properties to predict an optimal blasting pattern underground that is suitable for that particular combination of rock, explosive and pattern dimensions.
Mining3: alternative explosives project
Toxic fumes produced by detonating explosives in both surface and underground mining could become a thing of the past if Mining3's alternative explosives project continues to present impressive results.
Research is underway at Mining3 to deliver a hydrogen peroxide-based explosive, which is non-toxic and presents a far safer and environmentally friendly alternative to current blasting materials.
Safe-halo: remote worker management system
Developed in Australia, Safe-halo is a remote worker management system that uses a mobile phone app to report an employee's safety status and location back to a cloud-based management system. Leveraging off the latest digital technologies, the Safe-halo application is able to enhance a user's smart device, enabling the GPS signal to still be sent from the very outer fringes of network range. Safe-halo can now be integrated with personal satellite trackers such as Spot 3, offering 100% coverage for lone or remote workers. Safe-halo has been seamlessly implemented within South32, Centennial Coal and Peabody Energy, giving them visibility, security and peace of mind when their remote workers are undertaking environmental field works.
Mark Chapman, Itafos
Utilising a continuous slope-monitoring program in real time. Shortly after deploying a continuous slope-monitoring system in a high-risk area at the Itafos open-pit phosphate mine in Idaho, US, the system detected an increase in the velocity of a moving slope in the middle of the night. A surveyor working that shift saw the velocity change in real time - thanks to a new monitoring system - and pulled crews out of the pit.
Global Mining Guidelines Group: Autonomous Mining Working Group
The Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) has commenced a mobile automation technologies project that will help create a new guideline regarding functional safety requirements for automated equipment.
The group said that the Autonomous Mining Working Group, one of several focused groups it hosts, has been developing outlines for implementing autonomous systems for the past year. Then, last August, it identified functional safety as a topic needing significant independent consideration.
Category: Service and Support
Metso Mining Wear Lining and Screening Media team: Hammerless Attachment System
Metso's new, innovative Hammerless Attachment System for Screening Media makes screen maintenance much safer and faster for the employees at mine sites. This innovation was originally developed as a custom solution in collaboration with a mine in Australia but has since been made available as a standard option for all Metso screening media customers globally.
Komatsu Mining: BNI Coal dragline rebuilds
BNI Coal's dragline equipment was purchased in 1979 and designed to last for 25 years. Now in its 38th year of service, the machinery was failing regularly, causing downtime and lost productivity. The customer challenged Komatsu's team to get these machines running consistently, so that the site could continue operating and remain profitable. This was a problem that had two realistic options, purchase brand new equipment, which would be incredibly expensive and take a great deal of time to manufacture, or try to figure out a way to repair the current equipment and extend its life cycle. New equipment would have cost this operation roughly US$120 million and would not account for the lost production that would continue while using the current machines. The team liked the idea of rebuilding the machine and extending its life cycle. After a site visit, the team determined that it would be feasible to extend the life of the equipment for a significant period of time by installing a new tub, new rollers, new rack segments, new rails and a new upper girder. In addition, they would also need to add reinforced steel to the front of the machine and perform heavy crack repairs. After the repairs, the machines saw significant improvement in availability and performance, as well as reduction in unscheduled maintenance. This project was a huge win for BNI Coal and Komatsu's engineering and service teams. The team added an additional 30-40 years to the machines' life cycle. By allowing Komatsu to custom tailor a repair plan for them instead of purchasing new machines, the customer saved roughly US$100 million.
Ausdrill acquires Barminco
Barminco is a specialist underground hard-rock mining contractor with operations predominantly in Australia as well as in Africa (through the AUMS joint venture with Ausdrill), Egypt and India.
Ausdrill stated that the acquisition is strategically, operationally and financially compelling as it would create Australia's second largest mining services company. It is also expected to strengthen Ausdrill's position in the S&P/ASX200 index and to result in a lower capital intensity, higher return business.
Minnovare Production Optimiser
Minnovare's Production Optimiser system, suitable for installation on all production underground drill rig makes and models, can substantially reduce blasthole drilling deviation - which in turn reduces average dilution and downtime (including reduced secondary drill and blasts), while improving overall fragmentation and ore recovery.
LlamaZoo and Maptek: data visualisation and VR
Mining technology developer Maptek and augmented reality specialist LlamaZOO are teaming up to bring digital twinning and advanced 3-D data visualisation to the mining industry.
Airobotics: data-driven automated drones
Airobotics has developed a fully automated drone platform, certified to fly without human operators - a world-first precedence. Airobotics eliminates the need for skilled and expensive drone operators. Airobotics is revolutionary within the commercial drone industry, as the company enables clients to run automatic flight missions for monitoring, inspecting, surveying, and securing mine sites. Airobotics' solution includes a drone, software and a robotic docking station. Airobotics is an innovative and agile company, with the most cutting-edge and only data-driven, fully automated drone solution in the market today.
Category: Mineral Processing
Rhosonics: SDM Slurry Density Meter
Rhosonics has introduced the latest generation non-nuclear density meter, the SDM Slurry Density Meter. This instrument is suitable for real-time density measurement in all kinds of slurries. The product uses sustainable ultrasonic technology and is specifically designed for dredging and mineral processing applications.
MineSense Technologies Limited
The technologies owned by MineSense form a complete hardware and software system, enabled by proprietary algorithms, that measures and reports ore grade and ore characteristics. It produces results in real time with no interruption of the production cycle. The system is extremely fast, ensuring measurements are precise and accurate. MineSense is the only system that can work with run-of-mine (ROM) material.
Weir: Synertrex IIoT platform
Weir has launched Synertrex, an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform for the mining industry, which allows operators to monitor how their equipment is performing.
Category: Load and Haul
Komatsu America Corp: FrontRunner Autonomous Haulage System
Komatsu America Corp's FrontRunner Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) achieved the unprecedented milestone of more than two billion short tons of surface material moved autonomously as of late 2018. More than 130 trucks in operation have led to the achievement of hauling more than all other commercial mining autonomous haulage systems combined. The FrontRunner system paves the way for effective mine management as more operations transition from manned to unmanned fleets.
Fortescue Metals Group: autonomous fleet
Fortescue Metals Group has converted about 100 haul trucks at its Chichester Hub Christmas Creek mine with autonomous haulage technology and has become the first iron ore operation in the world to have a fully autonomous fleet.
Goodyear: EMTrack monitoring system
Tyre maker Goodyear has unveiled its enhanced version of the EMTrack OTR tyre monitoring system to help its global customers optimise performance. Now available worldwide, the system is completely updated and offers faster and even more accurate critical data collection including tread depth, inflation levels and other factors.
Category: Environmental Excellence
Minera Zaldívar: renewable energy
By 2020, Minera Zaldívar will be the first Chilean company to use 100% renewable energy sources to produce copper, thanks to a long-term contract signed between Zaldívar and Colbún.
Minera Zaldívar is owned equally by Barrick Gold Corp and Antofagasta Minerals, which is the operator. Located at more than 3,300m above sea level, in Chile's Antofagasta region, it produced 103,000t of copper cathodes in 2017.
The International Council on Mining and Metals: mine closure
The International Council on Mining and Metals' (ICMM) member companies have committed to include sustainable development in their decision-making, including responsible mine closure.
Newmont and the International Union for Conservation of Nature
Newmont has partnered with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to identify ways the miner can meet its global targets to achieve no net loss in biodiversity and to share ideas.
Category: Bulk Handling
Fenner Dunlop: Ashton Coal conveyor system
Fenner Dunlop has redesigned a rockbox transfer system and modified the conveyor system at Yancoal Australia's Ashton Coal underground mine to improve conveyor availability and minimise the potential for shutdowns usually associated with mining a narrow seam.
Mining3: DAS (distributed acoustic sensing) & conveyor monitoring team
Mining3 developed a game-changing technology in conveyor monitoring for the global mining industry. It will revolutionise the way conveyors are monitored for roller failure, being able to isolate the specific noise resonating from the conveyor and being able to translate it to a dashboard at a control centre that pinpoints the exact roller that is failing.
Todd Swinderman (independent consultant)
Todd Swinderman has dedicated his 35-year career to making bulk materials handling safer and more productive. He has served the mining industry as a product engineer, chief technical officer, president and CEO of Martin Engineering, currently holding 140 active patents in 12 different countries related to components for bulk handling, including safety innovations, fugitive material control, sealing systems, material impact management and industrial vibration. His expertise and experience have been instrumental in engineering and redesigning a wide range of traditional components to improve safety, facilitate maintenance and minimise risk.
As an engineer and inventor, Swinderman has conceived and commercialised products that have been applied in mining applications across the globe. He is currently an independent consultant, teaching courses on conveyor safety and design, providing training and advising bulk-material handlers on fugitive material control, guarding and other conveyor safety issues. He is qualified as an expert witness on these topics through CEMA's Expert Witness Program. In recent years his interest has focused on the challenges of wide, high-speed belt conveyors as seen in large mining operations and overland conveying.