Every year, Mining Magazine celebrates excellence in the mining industry by inviting our readers to nominate people, companies, projects and technologies that they feel have demonstrated outstanding commitment to advancing the state of play in mining over the past 12 months. The shortlisted candidates are then put to the vote.
Congratulations to this year's winners, who are listed below; and thank you to our readers, who took the time to nominate and vote for them.
And the winners are:
ESG Reduction & Monitoring Technology
Komatsu Greenhouse Gas Alliance
In 2021, Komatsu created an initiative to advance zero-emission solutions for equipment used in mining. Joining up with customers Rio Tinto, BHP, Codelco, and Boliden, the alliance works together from product planning and development to testing and deployment of this next-generation mining equipment and infrastructure.
First up for the alliance is to develop a power-agnostic haulage vehicle which can be powered by a variety of power sources, whether that be diesel electric, electric, trolley (wired), battery power and hydrogen fuel cells.
Founding members will be able to operate the first groups of the newly created zero-emission trucks once they are released commercially.
Komatsu created the alliance so that it could test its technologies with companies which understand best how mining works and what is required.
The alliance underlines Komatsu's commitment to environmentally conscious business practices. Komatsu has pledged a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from the use of its products and production facilities by 2030, and is pushing for carbon neutrality by 2050.
Founding member Rio Tinto will undertake pre-production trials of new equipment at its mine sites, and has worked with Komatsu since 2008 on testing and deploying autonomous haul trucks.
Mine Operations and Safety Technology
Copperstone Tech developed the amphibious HELIX robots to be uniquely mobile, with the robots having the capacity to float on water or scroll across all terrains, whether they are muddy, snowy, icy, or rocky.
The HELIX robots were initially built to withstand harsh conditions at mine sites in northern Canada, and could carry heavy loads across tailings ponds in a variety of weather conditions.
The HELIX robots have four-screw, skid-steer capacities, allowing them to manoeuvre heavy payloads to inaccessible terrains.
Its ability to float on water or saturated soils and muds, coupled with its large deck platform, allows mining companies to undertake water and mud samplings or geotechnical measurements.
The HELIX robot keeps mining workers safe, keeping workers out of dangerous situations. The robot can also be put to work towing a stranded boat and be modified to allow it to serve as a rescue vehicle.
Costs for the HELIX robots are also lower than conventional equipment and requires less labour and equipment maintenance hours. It also requires fewer safety training hours.
The robots are electrically operated and are emission-free.
Indigenous and Community Relations
Quebec-based Osisko Mining says that working with its host communities is a key priority. The company prides itself in maintaining ongoing communication and learning about the community's values and concerns, while working to address them.
It is also committed to hiring locally, favouring local purchases, and engaging in tax transparency and social development.
Ensuring that communities are informed about Osisko's activities means the company holds regular meetings with land users and officials, such as stakeholders or strategic committees. The company also presents to communities, schools, governments, land users and socioeconomic partners, as well as sending information letters to update key stakeholders.
Osisko also organises surface and underground site visits for stakeholders and for educational purposes. It also published documents about the Windfall project in English, French, and Cree to ensure that all community members were informed.
For its Windfall gold project, which is located on traditional Cree lands, Osisko held more than 170 communication activities since 2015. These include notifications on project activities, meetings, open house presentations, and committees, as well as employment and contracting opportunities.
In 2020, more than 100 First Nations workers worked at the Windfall site.
Drill & Blast
Orica's Design for Outcome
Orica's Design for Outcome to improve boost uses data collected at mining operations to rock and ore properties, with the aim of increasing the accuracy of blasts and limit the amount of blasting required. The product uses a predictive algorithm to the data sets, which then generate blastability domains.
The program then configures loading rules related to the domains to generate blast-by-blast designs.
The product marries machine learning to data both upstream and downstream from the blasting process. The data also attest to the geological hardness, and allow Design for Outcome to determine how much energy is required to achieve blasting outcomes for that specific rock.
Design for Outcome works with Orica's Mobile Manufacturing Units which obtains the information on energy usage from the Orica cloud.
The blasting plans are also captured in the cloud, creating a closed loop, which allows the machine learning systems to take in more information and its applications.
Orica's OREPRO 3D
OREPro 3D is Orica's solution that allows miners to optimise ore control in a 3D format. Using input data which includes post blast topography, blast design, and in-situ block model, algorithms will replicate the movement dynamics recording in the blast and calculate SmartVectors which transform the in-situ grade control into a post blast model.
It allows miners to use several data sets and also provides data pipeline automation to tailor production in plants.
The new software package uses mine data, including blast designs, in-situ block models, and post-blast muckpile surveys, as inputs.
Understanding where the rock mass has moved after the blast is critical to separating ore and waste.
OREPro 3D is offered as a standalone solution, but can also be integrated with other Orica products.
Production and Maintenance Technology
Haver & Boecker Niagara - Pulse Condition Monitoring
Haver & Boecker Niagara says its Pulse Condition Monitoring (Pulse CM) software enables companies to monitor the health of their vibrating screens to ensure smoother production. It features a wireless diagnostics tool that helps mineral processing operations be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to maintenance efforts. Pulse CM uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to provide accurate measurements and forecasts that are easy for users to understand while actively working to increase efficiency, decrease downtime and improve reliability.
Fleet and Equipment
Hexagon's Mine Automation - Launching of the autonomous mission management system
Hexagon says its autonomous mission management system is designed to improve safety and efficiency in mine traffic software. Its ultimate purpose is to deliver the next generation of mine automation and reduce dependency on on-site infrastructure. Launched in partnership with Liebherr at MineEXPO 2021, it is fully integrated with Hexagon's fleet management and enterprise analytics. Furthermore, it orchestrates autonomous fleet and unmanned mine traffic movements, which the companies say optimises haulage processes.
Service and Support Award
Metso Outotec - Upgrading TankCells at Constancia mine
Metso Outotec upgraded three e300 TankCells at the Constancia mine in Peru with a centre launder and achieved "significant recovery improvements and enhanced process control" as part of a collaboration with mining company Hudbay in November 2020. The challenge was the lack of overflow in the last cells of the rougher flotation circuit, which was having a negative effect on copper and molybdenum performance. The upgrade resulted in a weighted recovery of 0.7% for copper and 1.4% for molybdenum.
Bulk Handling Award
Dopplemayr - Development of RopeCon for bulk transportation
RopeCon is Dopplemayr's solution to improve transportation of bulk material on mine sites. The company says RopeCon provides handling capacities of up to 25,000 t/h while occupying a minimum structural footprint. It transports material on a flat belt with corrugated side walls. The belt performs the haulage function and is driven and deflected by a drum in the head or tail station. The belt is fixed to axles arranged at regular intervals to support the belt.
Load and Haul Award
Komatsu - Development and expansion of teleremote products to increase safety
Komatsu's teleremote operations are designed to assist with labour shortage issues in regions where mining is conducted in remote locations and eliminate live work in dangerous situations. The teleremote product portfolio includes the PC-7000 hydraulic excavator teleoperation system, which can be operated remotely with a console and screens that feed images from cameras and sensors. The ultimate objective, according to Komatsu, is to help miners achieve a zero-harm environment by reducing the risk of accidents.
Hugo Silva/Joaquin Barba - Fresnillo
Implemented a methodology for conditional simulation application on the resource and reserve estimation that detects more economical ore blocks than with the deterministic method.
Nouveau Monde Graphite - Matawinie
Nouveau Monde Graphite's Matawinie mine is in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, 150km north of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The operation is on track to become the first openpit, all-electric mine making it a leader for carbon-neutral operations and projects. NMG has established a vertically integrated business model at Matawinie that would bring battery anode material and advanced materials directly to the market.
The company has announced a partnership with equipment manufacturer Caterpillar for the development of a zero-emission solution for Matawinie. The goal is to have Caterpillar become the exclusive supplier of all the electric mining fleet at the operation by 2028.
Torex Gold says it has worked hard to build a strong safety and workplace culture based on genuine care and personal relationships with each other, people's families, and local communities. ‘No lives lost, and no lives changed' because of a workplace injury is how Torex defines the required precision to internalize zero harm for all. The company said it has focused on building robust and interconnected safety systems such as a strong incident reporting and ongoing field level risk assessments and inspections.
Emissions and the Transition
In 2021 Polyus switched 100% of its operating assets electricity demand over to renewables. This was achieved through a combination of switching electricity demand at its key operating assets to hydropower in February 2021 and the strategic decision announced in April 2021 to cover the remaining operating electricity demand not yet directly covered by renewables with green I-REC certificates, supporting demand for environmentally friendly electricity.
Lac Des Iles Mine, Impala Canada
Over the past five years, the LDI Mine has ramped up production to become one of Canada's largest, lowest cost and safest underground mines. Production has increased 125%: 4,000 to 9,000 tonnes of ore per day, and is expected to reach 12,000 tonnes per day by end of 2022. As production has increased, so too has our economic contribution to the region through contracts with 300 businesses in Northwestern Ontario. Over the last five years, $1.7 billion has been invested in capital and operating expenditures, with 77% of all goods and services purchased from Canadian suppliers, and more than half of that sourced in Ontario.
Metso Outotec - CycloneSense
Hydrocyclones are a fines classification technology that separate a feed slurry into a coarse product (underflow) and a fines product (overflow). One issue in hydrocyclone operation is being able to adjust and predict for common bottlenecks such as when the slurry flow into the hydrocyclone exceeds a maximum limit and the air core collapses. This is also known as roping and indicates poor classification occurrence. Operating conditions in the hydrocyclone process have a direct impact on plant availability and on grinding and flotation circuit efficiency. To help operations overcome challenges such as these, and to improve efficiency and process uptime, Metso Outotec launched the CycloneSense intelligent instrument in March 2021.
Editors Awards: Nouveau Monde Graphite, Orica, Torex, Hexagon (Selected by our editors, these entries will also receive a physical award.)