The Goldex mine is part of the chain of operations and properties that Agnico Eagle Mines owns in the Abitibi region of northwestern Quebec. Like many underground mines, Goldex saw an opportunity to improve the visibility of maintenance and operations of their underground mobile equipment. Their objective was to find a way to better prevent vehicle maintenance downtime and become ultimately more efficient in their operations.
One of the big challenges that most underground mines face is the difficulty in gathering data homogeneously when dealing with a mixed fleet of mobile equipment. Most mines will have fleets of multiple different OEMs that either don’t gather data or that do in very different ways, which makes it difficult to see the overall picture of what is really going on underground. Ultimately, having limited visibility on the data of the overall fleet can interfere with operations and the mines overall productivity. Goldex was looking for a solution that would help to bridge that gap, and in 2015, enlisted the help of Newtrax and began implementing Mobile Equipment Telemetry Solutions (MET). Over the last two years Goldex has seen improvements in their productivity and accurate maintenance predictions.
MET solutions provide mine operators with essential data that can be pulled directly from any mining equipment. In the case of Goldex, this meant that they were able to attach sensors to their underground mining vehicles that could then communicate with the dashboard systems above ground. MET systems are used to collect massive amounts of data, and having the capability to access the data empowers the workers to make better decisions. Once mining companies collect the right data to analyse, they can then begin to understand the precise manner in which their machines are being used, how well each individual machine is functioning, and can offer predictive suggestions to increase both productivity and lower their costs.
Most operational mine keeps detailed reports and logs of day-to-day data. However, these reports have typically looked more like excel spreadsheets which are filled in manually. What Newtrax wanted to provide was a more visual way to collect and analyse data. To do this, Newtrax integrated an easy to use dashboard within the MET system. This provided mining operators the ability to navigate and control the collected data. The importance of visualisation is amplified when working with big data. Many people find the massive amounts of data to be intimidating and overwhelming. Having a simple interface that is user-friendly allows for better comprehension of the gathered materials.
Goldex now has access to four different kinds of reports, these include:
- Microsoft PowerBI Dashboards
- Summary Reports
- Detailed Event Logs
- Detailed Graphical Reports
These four reports make up the high-performance dashboard and take the big data that is collected and simplify the information down into understandable content.
Newtrax was also able to create alarms that would appear on the dashboard in the event of an issue. The dashboard monitors and allows for visibility in the following areas:
- Tyre Pressure
- Shift Start and End Times
- Operator Practices Reports
- Payload Reports
- Standard Production Time
As an example, Newtrax installed Payload Monitoring Systems that were attached to each haul truck and worked in-sync with the MET system. The Payload Monitoring System would monitor and weigh each load that was carried up by the haul trucks. This system was implemented when mining operators realised that haul trucks, on average, were only carrying up about 60% of their load capacity. Since it has been in operation, the Payload Monitoring System has increased payloads and therefore can result in increased productivity.