Tag Archives: Crush It Challenge

CMIC-backed novel comminution technology hits commissioning milestone

The Canada Mining Innovation Council’s (CMIC) Conjugate Anvil Hammer Mill (CAHM) and MonoRoll platform technology project has reached a new milestone with hot commissioning of the MonoRoll at COREM’s testing facility in Quebec, Canada.

CAHM is a platform technology advancing two technologies in parallel where both designs break particles in a highly efficient thin particle bed. CAHM, according to CMIC, provides a more efficient alternative to high pressure grinding rolls and SAG mills, while the MonoRoll variant is designed for finer grinds and to replace inefficient rod and ball mills.

In a recent post, CMIC said hot commissioning of the MonoRoll at COREM’s testing facility, using some of the 300 t of ore contributed by Agnico Eagle Mines, was now complete. Although the MonoRoll is being tested using hard rock, there is also significant interest from the iron ore, cement and aggregate industries, CMIC says.

It added: “Fabrication of the CAHM machine is underway and if the optimised discrete element method modelling results hold, we are confident that the MonoRoll and the CAHM are on track to achieve the following significant benefits in ore grinding:

  • “Reduce energy consumption by an estimated 50% compared to best available technology;
  • “Eliminate grinding media;
  • “Increase ore feed reduction ratio; and
  • “Simplify the comminution circuits.”

CMIC is leading a consortium including experts in comminution, product development, engineering and testing as well as six major hard-rock mining companies guiding the effort and participating as potential first adopters. Included among the consortium is CTTI, Hatch, Glencore Canada – XPS (Expert Process Solutions), COREM, Teck, Agnico Eagle, Newmont and Kinross.

The MonoRoll technology is one of only six finalists in Impact Canada’s Crush It! Challenge. Launched in October 2018, Crush It! challenged Canadian innovators to deliver game-changing solutions for cleaner, more efficient rock processing.

CMIC said: “The MonoRoll project is the only finalist developing a novel grinding mill, and if the project wins the C$5 million ($3.9 million) Grand Prize, the funds would be used to engineer a large-scale machine to test in active mining operations.”

Two Crush It! Challenge finalists being guided by Glencore XPS team

Glencore’s XPS (Expert Process Solutions) is playing a role in Natural Resources Canada’s Crush It! Challenge by volunteering consulting services to two applicants recently named finalists in the competition.

XPS has much technical and operational expertise in the area of comminution and has been willing to impart its wisdom on the two teams.

The Crush It! Challenge was announced in October 2018 with the aim to realise an innovative breakthrough in the mining industry’s most energy-intensive and inefficient processes: crushing and grinding.

The primary objectives of the challenge are to fight climate change by creating innovative technologies that reduce energy consumption and pollution, increase competitiveness by developing world-leading clean technologies, and transform the mining cycle to establish a new “future in mining”.

Semi-finalists (up to 12) receive C$10,000 ($7,402) to help them pitch their ideas to the Challenge Jury, with up to six finalists being granted up to C$800,000 to build and test their clean technologies. The winner and innovator demonstrating the most superior energy breakthrough to crush and grind rocks is awarded a C$5 million prize to fully develop and roll out their solution.

On April 30, Natural Resources Canada announced the six finalists, which including two submissions that received consulting services from Glencore’s XPS.

Gillian Holcroft from the Canada Mining Innovation Council is representing a team in the finals for her Conjugate Anvil Hammer Mill (CAHM). “CAHM is a platform technology that has the potential to reduce energy consumption by 50% and replace several types of mills,” Glencore said. “Improved sustainability and lower costs could transform non-viable mineral development projects into new mines in Canada.”

Erin Bobicki of the University of Toronto is the project leader representing another finalist for her Microwave Pre-treatment and Ore Sorting technology. “This innovation combines microwave-assisted comminution and sorting to achieve energy savings of up to 70%,” Glencore said.

“A benefit of this innovation is that it is a scalable technology that can be easily integrated as a technology add-on for existing operations, therefore, it requires a small footprint as no additional infrastructure or utilities are required to support it. Given the sizeable energy savings, the innovation has the potential to transform non-viable mining projects into new mines.”

Now that the finalists have been announced, they are readying technical reports to showcase their clean-tech solutions submissions by the November 30, 2020, deadline. In March 2021, the final grand prize winner will be announced.

Paradigm Shifters qualify for round two of Canada’s Crush It! Challenge

A group of companies called ‘The Paradigm Shifters’ has made it to the next round of a challenge aimed at reducing the amount of energy that crushers and grinders use in the mining process.

The Crush It! Challenge is spearheaded by the federal government (Impact Canada), in cooperation with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), and Goldcorp.

Crushing and grinding account for upwards of 50% of mine site energy consumption and up to 3% of all the electric power generated in the world.

iRing Inc is the lead partner within The Paradigm Shifters and has coordinated the effort with proposal partners to respond to the challenge, it said.

The company explained: “Essentially the team proposes to bring together the processes and technology that could reduce or even eliminate the need for expensive primary crushers, and reduce the energy required by secondary crushing (potentially eliminating it as well) and grinders in both mines and quarries globally.”

The Crush It! Challenge has several qualifying rounds and, if successful in getting to Round 3, then the team will be eligible to receive C$800,000 ($605,397) in seed funding to further prove the concept over a one-and-a-half-year period. At the end of that period, if the team wins the chance to move forward, the project would be eligible to receive an additional C$5 million in funding to commercialise the products and concepts.

The Paradigm Shifters team consists of:

  • iRing Inc (North Bay) Challenge Project Lead – Drill and blasting software;
  • Nexco Inc (North Bay) – Producer of the energy-variable explosive product;
  • Boart Longyear (North Bay and global) – Global supplier of market leading drilling products and services;
  • Paige Engineering Ltd (PEL) (North Bay) – Design and fabrication of explosive manufacturing and loading equipment;
  • Seneca (Montreal) – Explosive plant engineering, design and build;
  • Maptek (Denver and Global) – 3D laser scanner/fragmentation measurement capabilities, and;
  • Bomon Capital (Toronto) – Long term financing should the team succeed.

The savings that could accrue to mines and quarries annually is C$12.8 billion (25% reduction) to C$25.6 billion (50% reduction), according to iRing.

“If all mines in the world adopted this solution, it would represent a reduction equivalent to 7-13% of all the carbon released in Canada, and 20-41% of Canada’s contribution to meeting the Paris Accord agreement.”

iRing will use its software, Aegis, to design the blasting patterns based on the fragmentation requirements. Boart Longyear will deploy recently developed high speed diamond drilling technologies and instrumentation solutions to quickly and accurately drill and validate high-quality blast holes, while using significantly less energy. iRing said: “Boart Longyear’s drills utilise drilling data logging to interpret rock density and strength etc, while drilling.”

The company continued: “With Seneca’s help, Nexco will build a demonstration plant that will produce an energy-variable explosive mixture that can be fuelled while being loaded into the blastholes, and the blast energy would be based on the ore strength information provided by Boart Longyear’s drills and iRing’s software.”

Troy Williams, Vice President of Development of iRing, said: “The challenge will provide a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to reach the mining industry and demonstrate that it is possible to produce consistent results from the blasting operations.”

PEL will design and fabricate the explosive manufacturing and loading equipment required to change the explosive’s energy during loading, according to iRing. Energy reduction is done by adding additional water content into the explosive formulation during loading. Maptek’s laser scanner, meanwhile, will be used to verify fragmentation results by scanning the muck pile and producing a 3D point cloud which can be analysed for a measured fragmentation distribution. Those results will be used by Aegis to further calibrate the fragmentation models.

Mark Sherry, President of iRing, said: “We are really excited by this opportunity as it is directly in iRing’s wheelhouse. The Paradigm Shifters bring together the best in the industry when it comes to drilling and blasting. By working together, we will create a paradigm that is more efficient, effective, cleaner, and safer”.

Canada Government asks miners to ‘Crush It’ with new challenge

Canada’s government, through Natural Resources Canada, has challenged the mining industry to come up with a new clean technology solution that cuts energy consumption for crushing rock.

The C$10 million ($7.6 million) “Crush It! Challenge” is aimed at tackling the disproportionate amount of energy used in mining to extract valuable minerals, NRC said, while helping the country transition to a low-carbon economy.

The process of crushing mined rock has not fundamentally changed in more than a century; consumes more than 50% of the total energy used in a mining operation; is the industry’s largest operational cost; and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions from mining, according to the NRC.

“Finding and advancing innovative solutions that reduce energy use for crushing and grinding mined rock will reduce pollution, improve productivity and help our mining industry become more competitive,” the NRC said.

The 25-month Crush It! Challenge, will see up to 12 semi-finalists selected to pitch their concept at Goldcorp’s #DisruptMining event in March 2019 – an event that coincides with the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada convention. A ‘Challenge Jury’ made up of key experts from the Canadian mining sector will select the top six finalists, who will each receive up to C$800,000 to build and test their cleantech solution. The Challenge Jury will, ultimately, choose the best breakthrough clean technology and award the winner a C$5 million prize grant.

“This initiative will mobilise new ideas from inside and outside the mining industry to modernise an important energy consuming process and will grow the cleantech sector to enhance Canada’s mining innovation ecosystem as part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to transition to a low-carbon economy,” the NRC said.

For this challenge, the NRC will be collaborating with Goldcorp and the Centre of Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), two industry champions who will spread the word on this unique initiative and enable its success.

The Crush It! Challenge is the fourth of five clean technology challenges under the NRC’s Cleantech Impact programme, part of Impact Canada. It is part of the government’s commitment to deliver meaningful results for Canadians through measurable economic, environmental and social outcomes. Cleantech Impact will invest C$75 million over four years in the five challenges.