The final round of voting is now open for the Mining Magazine Awards 2016. The details of the nominees are listed below – please cast your votes here.
Voting will close on November 30, and the winners will be announced in the January/February joint issue of Mining Magazine.
Earlier this year, Rajant partnered with Morehead State University in the US to develop a drone application for its kinetic mesh wireless network technology supported by InstaMesh networking software. The company now provides a quick-to-assemble drone kit, which exploration companies can use to extend communications to even the most remote project sites.
Investigator Resources, Paris project
Investigator discovered the Paris silver deposit in 2011, modelling it as epithermal-style alteration in a volcanic breccia setting, the company was on the receiving end of a degree of skepticism. Investigator has since drilled on a proposed porphyry target after re-mapping much of the exploration licence area, intersecting a significant alteration system with low-grade copper, to re-write the geology of the Uno Province in South Australia.
Roxgold Yaramoko mine
In record time, Roxgold has converted the greenfield Yaramoko gold project into a productive mine despite much political unrest in Burkina Faso (one popular uprising, one putsch and three governments). Mine development was completed within time schedule and budget without any community relations problems.
Dassault Systèmes Virtual Mine
Dassault showcased its Virtual Mine at MINExpo 2016. This is a platform that incorporates software suites from individual brands such as GEOVIA to allow mining customers to try out challenging ideas that could never be explored in real life due to risk of failure or cost. It offers immersive, 3-D simulation which allow all ideas, small and large, to be explored, so they can be proved and improved upon before being implemented in the real world.
Schneider Electric Ampla
In 2016, Schneider Electric redesigned its StruxureWare Plant Operation Ampla Manufacturing Execution System solution for the mining and metals industries. Ampla users can take advantage of real-time inventory visibility to reduce losses, improve recovery and maximise the efficiency of their assets.
ARANZ Geo & REFLEX
Software developers ARANZ Geo and REFLEX report continued success three years on from the launch of the link connecting their two products Leapfrog and REFLEX ioGAS.
The link allows users of the two software packages to visualise geochemical data analysis in real time in the 3-D space, further enhancing the dynamic nature of 3-D geological modelling and honing decision making. Boliden has seen particular success using the link at the Kevitsa mine in Finland.
Load and haul
In 2016, BELAZ finished the reliability field testing of its 75710 dump truck with a payload capacity of 450 metric tonnes. The volume of rock transported during the 1.5-year test period amounted to 1.5Mt per kilometre. Fuel economy of the truck during testing amounted to 190t of diesel fuel compared to 360t trucks, or 243.8t of diesel compared to 90t trucks by competitors.
MacLean Engineering Fleet Electrification Program
MacLean has introduced a battery propulsion system across its full suite of underground support, ore flow, and utility vehicles. The MacLean Fleet Electrification Program was initiated in mid-2015 and commercialised in 2016 with the sale of a fleet to what will become the world’s first all-electric/diesel-free underground hard rock mine – Goldcorp’s Borden project in northern Ontario, Canada.
Komatsu Autonomous Haulage Vehicle
Komatsu’s AHV was the star of MINExpo 2016. Unlike the 930E and 830E autonomous models, Komatsu developed this vehicle exclusively as an unmanned vehicle. By distributing equal load to the four wheels, both when the vehicle is loaded and unloaded, and by adopting four-wheel drive, retarder and steering, the vehicle will be able to shuttle in both forward and reverse travel directions, thereby eliminating the need for K-turns at loading and unloading sites.
Drill and blast
Sandvik launched the first battery-trammed mining jumbo, the DD422iE, in 2016. By using electric energy from an on-board battery during tramming, the DD422iE produces zero emissions while manoeuvring between headings. Using the mine’s existing electric infrastructure, Sandvik driveline technology enables the battery to recharge during the drilling cycle. The battery will even recharge while DD422iE is tramming downhill, using energy generated by the braking system. Less diesel usage in the mine can ease ventilation requirements while also reducing associated diesel logistics and maintenance expenses.
Dyno Nobel DigiShot Plus
Dyno Nobel recently implemented the DigiShot Plus electronic initiation system at two different underground mining sites - producing results that increased productivity, improved safety and decreased overall production costs.
The two underground mines were trying to improve overall productivity using a large blast system with a tough downline wire. One saw a 5% reduction in cost and 10–15% reduction in set up time. The other increased its tonnes per blast by 100%, while also achieving a 50% reduction in mucking time.
PETRA Data Science PRODFINDER
PRODFINDER’s statistical algorithms make it possible to conduct low-cost mine to mill type projects without site trials. Reducing intact rock strength through blasting is key to improving mill productivity and efficiency. Miners usually need to conduct months of full-scale trials to determine optimal blast designs.
PRODFINDER algorithms can automatically link 3-D geological, dispatch and blast data to mill historical data and simultaneously take into account geology, blast design and mill operating factors to reveal optimal blast designs.
OXON Medical Systems Charger oxygen system
OXON has developed an FDA-approved, next generation self-docking oxygen generating system especially for the underground mining industry. The Charger 10 and Charger 150 systems are non-explosive and can be used in hazardous areas. They are rechargeable and use a hybrid SCSR concept to protect users for very long periods of time without compromising safe, closed circuit breathing.
Heat Trap Solar’s Heap Trap Chiller
Heat Trap Solar developed a chiller to service eyebath safety showers which Rio Tinto has now installed in all of its coastal rail sites in Karratha and Cape Lambert, Australia.
The stand-alone chillers are attached to individual or groups of eyebath safety showers and eliminate excess water temperatures, reduce water borne bacteria by up to 95% to levels well within the safe risk level and stop potable water losses from anti scald valves.
The Heat Trap chiller was a finalist in the National Safety Council of Australia and received a Highly Commended award.
Peabody was the first US coal miner to achieve independent certification under the National Mining Association’s CORESafety system in September. The company was a leading voice in developing the programme and has an integrated safety and health management system aligned with the 20 elements of CORESafety. Key pillars include leadership, management and assurance.
Certification was achieved following an independent audit of Peabody’s safety and health system and implemented across Peabody’s global platform including operations in the US and Australia.
Synergen was nominated for development of its novel on-site production technology for sodium cyanide for the gold mining industry. This is helping to eliminate the need to transport this toxic substance to mine sites, across public infrastructure, and through towns and cities.
Shanta Mining Co
Consideration for the environment and the community in which it operates was a key driver for Shanta in adopting a hybrid power plant at its New Luika mine site in Tanzania. Solar hybridisation has enabled the mine to enhance shareholder value, reduce environmental impact and simultaneously reduce the cost and carbon emissions of its power plant, without compromising on the reliability of the electricity that the mine needs to operate.
Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance
Established in 2010, COSIA is focused on accelerating and enhancing the environmental performance of its 13 member’s mining operations through collaborative action and innovation. To date, COSIA members have shared 814 technologies and innovations that cost almost C$1.3 billion (US$1 billion) to develop.
Outotec VSFX Plant
Outotec introduced the VSFX plant for new modular solvent extraction in 2013. Since then four plants have been sold; the first is operational in at a major copper project in South America.
It is a fully modular solvent extraction plant that is based on pre-engineered modules, and can reduce the total capex of the SX plant by 5-20% and its implementation time by 20-40%. It has built-in safety aspects for both installation and operation, and it has a full recycling or relocation option.
GIW helped a customer by developing a mill pump that can run over 4,000 hours continuously; due to the size of the pumps and the severity of the mining conditions, this was an undertaking that had never been accomplished in the industry. GIW engineers developed a new material technology called Endurasite which is capable of resisting the effects of abrasion for extended periods. This processed, ultra-wear-resistant white-iron alloy vastly improves pump wear life and, in turn, extends time between shutdowns. Improvements to material developments in the MDX-750 slurry pump high wear wet end components will save this mine about US$6 million per mill line.
Metso Lokotrack LT200E at Altay Polimetally
This year, Metso successfully commissioned its largest, fully mobile jaw crusher, the Lokotrack LT200E with a mobile apron feeder, Lokolink system, and spreader at Polimetally’s Altay copper-gold operation in Kazakhstan. A fully mobile IPCC system that’s designed to crush both ore and waste in the pit, peak throughput has so far exceeded the design specification by more than 10%.
Service and support
Following the 2010 Copiapó mining accident in Chile, AEGIS developed a new insurance product for the industry that pays for the costs of locating and rescuing miners and contractors trapped underground in the event of a future catastrophe.
Key elements of the product include helping to save the lives of those trapped below ground, managing the logistics of the rescue and recovery and providing accommodation and living expenses for the families and rescue workers so that the mine can restore operations as quickly as possible. It fills the gaps in indemnifying the costs of rescuing and recovering mine workers as quickly as possible.
Kal Tire Innovation Hub
Kal Tire’s focus on innovation in tyre services has seen the development of several tools that decrease labour while increasing safety and productivity. This past year has seen the roll out of custom-designed ram mounts used to safely break the tyre bead, a rapid tyre deflator tool that decreased deflation time by up to 60%, service trollies with remote control functions to further improve productivity and safety, and a pilot project of a gravity assist system that allows tyre technicians to weightlessly and safely manoeuvre heavy tools and parts.
ARANZ Geo Expert Services
In October, ARANZ Geo launched ARANZ Geo Expert Services, a new team focused on applying the latest thinking to geological uncertainty. The consultancy QG, which was acquired by ARANZ Geo in 2014, will join resource estimation and production specialists from Bloy, acquired in 2016. Adding a third dimension, Leapfrog masters will provide advanced modelling services. The Expert Services team will provide consulting expertise in geology, geostatistics and geometallurgy from exploration through to mine production and reconciliation. Services will include consulting, training, mentoring and project assistance.
Taking inspiration from the food industry where milk bottles are filled by a bulk mechanism then trimmed to an exact fill, ImpRes’s POS is a patented post train load-out bogie axle weight trimming system that eliminates variability in bulk mineral handling. It measures variability, dynamically allows for bulk density / particle size distribution changes, and accurately dispenses the right amount of fill to the right spot (based on weight and volume) to maximise utilisation of mine rail infrastructure.
David Beaver, lead mechanical engineer at Jacobs Engineering
David Beavers is a young engineer who embraced the opportunity to make a real difference to the largest iron-ore project ever developed. Vale’s S11D project employs in-pit crushing and conveying for iron-ore handling with a very high throughput. Beavers worked on the truckless project since the concept of the design until the implementation phase, including two years working client-side in Brazil and looks forward to seeing the system fully commissioned.
FLSmidth’s IPCC coffer dam concept
FLSmidth has been developed a concept for semi-mobile crushing stations by adapting proven coffer dam technology. The concept is simple, low capital and OPEX cost effective, in that it eliminates the need for costly retaining walls.
The system consists of specially designed and fabricated steel panels that make up a floor and retaining wall that are erected within a key cut in a bench, and the earth is then backfilled and compacted around it. It is designed to support the associated loads of earth and trucks feeding a semi-mobile station that is moved in using a crawler transporter after the box retaining wall and floor have been assembled.
Caterpillar Rock Straight
The Cat Rock Straight system, a longwall-style cutting system for hard rock, was commercially launched in August this year. It features a number of cutting heads equipped with picks, and uses Cat Activated Undercutting Technology, which attacks the tensile strength of the rock using percussion. The system produces very little heat at the cutting tip, resulting in a long wear life for the picks, and it also produces sized material which simplifies processing. The cutting units can be staggered to accommodate different seam heights. The system doesn’t have the disadvantages of drill and blast, and that it has significant benefits regarding production cost and dilution.
Dundee Precious Metals, Chelopech mine
Dundee Precious Metals' team at the Chelopech mine in Bulgaria successfully developed a technology to extract the crown pillar left behind between the historical cave zone and the underlying orebodies where long hole stoping with fill was employed. The biggest challenge was to stabilise the roof of the planned production stopes in the pillar lying beneath 600m high cave full of unconsolidated rock.
The solution was to create an artificial roof above the stopes by consolidating and reinforcing the caved rock, ensuring safe and efficient extraction of 50% of the crown pillar. While there had been few examples of crown pillar extraction in similar underground conditions, the proposed design was a huge success ensuring excellent dilution and recovery at maximum safety.
Merger Mines laser technology
Merger is one of the global leaders in the development and use of laser technology for mining. By utilising lasers to drill blast holes in open pits, or for spalling (breaking) rock underground, lasers could eliminate conventional methods of drilling and blasting. Preliminary test work indicates that substantial savings can be realised in time, material costs, and operating costs. This new method involves the use of high optical power output lasers to cut or spall ore bearing material from the host rock. Because the spalled material is in the form of 'pea' sized chips, these chips can easily be moved from the working face to the surface. A milling advantage is that these small chips do not require crushing and can be discharged directly to the ball mill or leach pad.