Tag Archives: Don Duval

HARD-LINE expands into new NORCAT underground facility

A long-time partner of NORCAT, HARD-LINE says it is evolving its remote-control systems in a new space at NORCAT’s surface facility at the former Fecunis mine site in Onaping, Ontario.

HARD-LINE, a global technology company specialising in remote and tele-remote-control solutions, uses drift space at NORCAT’s underground site.

Inside HARD-LINE’s new office is a TeleOp control station that allows the tele-remote operation of heavy machinery and, in this case, an underground LHD at the test site.

“This new space is a welcomed addition to an already impressive site,” HARD-LINE’s Senior VP of Technology, Ryan Siggelkow, says. “The bigger space will allow for more people to meet in our office and ultimately let us test products in a more efficient manner, including new tech like our TeleOp Assist.”

The Assist system is new to market and equips the TeleOp base system with intelligent steering assistance and collision detection to keep LHDs off walls. It also increases tramming speeds, and no pre-scan of the drift is required, according to HARD-LINE.

HARD-LINE’s Supervisor of Technology Implementation, Jim Doyle, is often at the new facility and underground site testing different types of mining equipment. Doyle credits the NORCAT partnership in advancing HARD-LINE’s technology.

“Our relationship with NORCAT is really beneficial,” he said. “We’ve seen growth and improvements in our products over the years because of it.”

The partnership dates back to 2012 when HARD-LINE helped formulate the Underground Centre’s strategy and customer value proposition.

NORCAT CEO, Don Duval, said: “We are excited to build on our existing relationship and support HARD-LINE as they expand into our new surface facilities at the NORCAT Underground Centre. With HARD-LINE’s TeleOp control station, we have seen operators given the ability to control underground heavy machinery from the safety of an office at the Underground Centre. This technology is not only enhancing productivity and safety but also it is transforming the definition of work in the global mining industry.”

Just last month, NSS Canada announced a new partnership with NORCAT and the addition of a new NSS Canada office in the NORCAT Underground Centre.

FedNor pledges funds for NORCAT’s surface facility, technology hub

FedNor, the Government of Canada’s economic development organisation for Northern Ontario, has pledged C$519,000 ($393,468) of investment to help the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (NORCAT) continue to deliver its services to local entrepreneurs as well as implement an important new technology development project.

As part of this total, C$429,000 was provided through FedNor’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund to assist NORCAT in bridging the financial gap caused by COVID-19. Specifically, the funding is helping to keep the organisation’s staff working and construction on track for the innovation centre’s state-of-the-art surface facility at its Underground Testing Centre, in Greater Sudbury.

The remaining C$90,000 will help NORCAT establish a technology hub to accelerate software, gaming, and app development in Greater Sudbury, FedNor said. Once fully operational, the new incubation space will help local tech entrepreneurs start-up, scale-up and access new markets.

Back in July 2019, FedNor agreed to invest C$1.4 million in the surface facility.

“Innovation centres are important hubs of technology, research and subject-matter expertise where knowledge is shared, and ideas and concepts can transform into viable business ventures,” FedNor said. “As our economy recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, the Government of Canada is working hard to ensure Northern Ontario innovation centres and the entrepreneurs they support, are well positioned to take part in our nation’s economic recovery.”

Don Duval, CEO, NORCAT, said: “NORCAT is proud to partner with the Government of Canada, through FedNor, to ensure technology, innovation and skills training can continue to thrive in the region.

“As Northern Ontario’s largest innovation centre, we are thankful that the investment from the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund will allow us to maintain our operations, keep our community members working and allow us to continue building on our strategic initiatives to accelerate the growth of innovative companies that will drive future economic and social prosperity for Canada.”

Vale partners with NORCAT for mining innovation challenge

NORCAT and Vale have teamed up to launch the NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge to, they say, facilitate and enhance Vale’s capabilities to bring new, state-of-the-art technologies into its mining operations and accelerate the rate of technology adoption in the global mining industry.

As current global events disrupt regular business operations and the global mining industry continues to undergo a digital transformation, mining companies around the world are looking to become more agile and resilient by embracing digitalisation and investing in technologies related to safety, sustainability and operational efficiency.

The NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is looking to identify technology-enabled solutions to three common problem areas identified by Vale. Specifically, the NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is focusing on the issues of smelter acid management, underground operator alertness and excessive water and run of material in underground mines.

“As the global ‘one-stop-shop’ for all that is the future of mining technology, our goal is to facilitate and encourage innovative and disruptive thinking within the mining technology ecosystem,” Don Duval, NORCAT CEO, says. “As the mining industry continues to transform, it requires new levels of openness, innovation and collaboration. Challenge-based initiatives have proven to be effective in uncovering new ideas and different points of view, and we are excited to partner with Vale to further the acceleration, adoption and deployment of emerging technologies that are poised to transform the global mining industry.”

The NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is open to innovative start-ups, entrepreneurs and problem solvers from across Canada. Successful applications must have the capacity and confidence to develop and deploy a proof-of-concept inside one of Vale’s operations in Sudbury, Ontario, by March 2021. As part of the process, Vale will provide technical oversight and feedback to winning entries over a four-month period to prepare for product development and testing prior to completion.

Anthony Downs, Manager of Digital and Information Technology for Vale’s Base Metal Operations, said: “At Vale, we are obsessed with safety and risk mitigation. Open innovation is a key enabler that allows us to rapidly identify and trial novel risk management solutions. When they prove effective, we move them to implementation within our operations at an accelerated pace.

“Vale is pleased to partner with NORCAT on this challenge and looks forward to reviewing the innovative solutions the challenge inspires.”

As part of its mandate, NORCAT continues to identify and engage with mining technology companies from around the world to support the development and adoption of innovative technologies poised to transform the global mining industry.

This is not the first time NORCAT and Vale have teamed up. Earlier this year, the two announced plans to develop and deploy an innovative blended learning program that, they said, would transform how the global mining industry trains and educates its workforce.

Canada Government backs plans for new NORCAT surface facility

The Government of Canada, through FedNor, has agreed to invest C$1.4 million ($1.07 million) in a new “state-of-the art surface facility” at NORCAT’s Underground Centre in northern Ontario.

The government said this facility will provide innovative mining businesses and entrepreneurs in northern Ontario with “a new space to share ideas, build partnerships, conduct research, and bring new technologies to market”.

NORCAT’s Underground Centre already provides companies with a place to innovate and enhance the productivity, safety and competitiveness of the mining industry. The company, earlier this year, announced plans to expand the centre in response to the forecasted demand of the global innovation ecosystem.

This new facility will further bolster its industry offering.

“The new 12,000 sq.ft (1,115 sq.m) facility will be used by innovative mining technology companies to develop, test and demonstrate innovative and emerging technologies in an operating mine environment,” the government said. “It will offer shared spaces, offices, meeting rooms, on-site personal protective equipment, first aid rooms, workshop, lunch room, changing rooms, showers and personal storage amenities.”

The announcement was made today by Paul Lefebvre, Member of Parliament for Sudbury, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for FedNor.

Lefebvre said: “Supporting Canadian innovation is a key priority of our government, which is why we made it a pillar of our Innovation and Skills Plan and Prosperity and Growth Strategy for northern Ontario. This strategic investment in NORCAT will help shape the future of innovation and technology in the mining industry, and further strengthen Canada’s reputation as a global leader in mining.”

Don Duval, CEO of NORCAT (pictured), said: “A longstanding supporter and partner, the Government of Canada continues to recognize the value of NORCAT and the work we do to spur innovation, support skills training and help businesses develop and adopt new technologies and processes.

“As northern Ontario’s largest innovation centre, we are thrilled to add this new above-ground facility to our Underground Centre that will help cement our reputation as a global destination for mining research and innovation.”

NORCAT is focused on developing and providing world-class programs, services, and resources to reduce injuries, save lives, and enhance productivity in the mining industry and beyond, the government said. In addition, it is the only non-profit regional innovation centre in the world that has an operating mine designed to enable start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, and international companies to develop, test, and showcase new and innovative technologies in an operating mine environment.

NORCAT readies Underground Centre for expansion

NORCAT has announced plans for the growth and expansion of its Underground Centre.

The planned expansion will enable NORCAT to respond to the forecasted demand of the global innovation ecosystem and demonstrates NORCAT’s commitment to continuing its position as the world’s ‘one-stop shop’ for all that is the future of mining technology and innovation, the company said.

NORCAT owns and operates an underground mine (the Underground Centre) in Sudbury, Canada, focused on the development, testing, and demonstration of innovative technologies in an operating mine environment.

Don Duval, NORCAT CEO, said: “Over the last three years, we have seen significant growth in NORCAT’s portfolio of mining technology companies using our state-of-the-art operating mine as an ‘active laboratory’, creating an ecosystem like no other in the world. By expanding the NORCAT Underground Centre, we continue our proud role anchoring one of the world’s leading mining technology and innovation clusters, while concurrently supporting the commercialisation and adoption of leading-edge technologies that will make the global mining industry safer, more efficient, and more productive.”

To coincide with investments into the NORCAT Underground Centre, NORCAT has also developed an array of training, technology, and innovative service offerings to meet the growing and diverse skilled labour training and development needs of global mining and mining technology companies focused on competitiveness, shareholder and stakeholder value, productivity and health and safety, the company said.

Jason Bubba, NORCAT’s Director of Training and Development, said: “The global mining industry has continued to build momentum and prepare for a remarkable transformation, and the continued investment in and deployment of new technologies are redefining what it means to have a career in mining.

“By continuing to develop state of the art technologies for a ‘new world of training’ for a ‘new world of work’, NORCAT remains at the forefront of innovation as a market leader in skilled labour training and development for the global mining industry.”

NORCAT is debuting new learning technologies at the NORCAT experiential booth in the Northern Ontario Pavilion at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada annual event, currently taking place in Toronto, Canada. The live demonstration will include the latest in mine skills training including augmented reality, virtual reality, interactive multiplayer avatar-based training, incident re-creation and digital safety systems, according to the company.

NORCAT and Glencore launch technology innovation programme

NORCAT and Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations have launched a technology and innovation programme to facilitate and enhance the mining company’s capabilities to bring new, state-of-the-art technologies into its operations and accelerate the rate of technology adoption across the industry, NORCAT has reported.

NORCAT, which calls itself a global leader in the development and provision of skilled labour training and innovation services, is the only innovation centre in the world that owns and operates an underground mine designed to “enable start-ups, small/medium enterprises, and international companies to develop, test, and demonstrate innovative technologies in an operating mine environment”, it says.

This facility has seen NORCAT become a global destination for mining companies to “see and touch” emerging technologies poised to transform the industry, it said.

Kevin McAuley, Director Sustainability, Technical Services and Innovation at Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations, said: “We are excited to partner with NORCAT to implement this technology and innovation programme. This partnership not only provides us a unique opportunity to access a wide range of emerging technologies that will help us deliver on our broader business strategy, but also it continues to support the vibrant mining technology ecosystem at the NORCAT Underground Centre.”

Don Duval, NORCAT’s CEO, said the company was working hard to continue its leading role in “all that is the future of mining”.

“NORCAT’s portfolio of mining technology companies using our state-of-the-art operating mine as an ‘active laboratory’ has created an ecosystem like no other in the world,” he added. “We are excited to partner with Glencore and continue to build and support Canada’s global reputation as a market leader in the mining industry.”

NORCAT says it will continue to identify and engage with mining technology companies from around the world to support the implementation and demonstration of their products at the Underground Centre. “By doing so, NORCAT helps to connect and broker relationships between mining technology companies (the ‘builders of innovation’) and global mining companies (the ‘buyers’ of innovation), creating a vibrant tech ecosystem unique on the global stage.”

NORCAT’s Don Duval will be presenting a paper titled, The NORCAT Underground Centre – the world’s one-stop shop for the future of mining technology, at The Electric Mine conference in Toronto, on April 4-5, 2019. For more information on the event, please click here.