MineSense, having continued the introduction of its transformative technology into mines in 2020, says it is well positioned to dramatically ramp up commercialisation of its sensor-based ore data and sorting solutions in 2021.
The company’s solutions are focused on improving mine profitability by taking advantage of the maximum heterogeneity at the face to increase ore recovery and minimise waste processed, it says. “This profit improvement is even more critical as mines work to recover profits lost due to COVID-19 impacts in 2020,” it said.
MineSense started the year by closing a $25 million equity financing led by BDC’s Industrial Innovation Venture Fund to ramp up commercialisation and further expand operations globally.
It followed commercialisation at Teck’s Highland Valley Copper mine, with commercialisation of three new ShovelSense® systems at Copper Mountain Mining’s Copper Mountain mine, in British Columbia, Canada, in 2020. MineSense said it has been embedded into the mine’s operating practices and is included as an enabling technology in their latest NI 43-101 Technical Report.
In this report, Copper Mountain said the system’s primary goal is to direct the right material to the right destination; that is, ore to the primary crusher and waste to the waste dump.
It said the two-year evaluation period with MineSense hardware and software on three of its five loading units at Copper Mountain Mine had accomplished two objectives:
- Selective recovery of economic copper ore from defined non-economic rock – approximately a 4% improvement; and
- Selective rejection of non-economic rock from defined economic copper ore – approximately a 4% improvement.
MineSense’s global growth has been supported by local field services teams who normally work at mine sites. COVID-19 presented new challenges including restricted site access, but the MineSense team overcame this, executing the first remote installations of ShovelSense systems this year.
“The flexibility and innovation by our field services and customer’s operations teams was instrumental for us in going live with multiple operating systems in Chile and Peru,” MineSense’s EVP Business Development, Claudio Toro, said.
The MineSense ShovelSense System improves orebody visibility bucket by bucket in real time during the loading process, according to the company. Trucks are then automatically diverted to the correct location, increasing value and revenue realised during the mining process. The technology also creates reductions of CO2 emissions per tonne of ore produced, consumption of processing chemicals and reagents, energy and water, while maximising metal recovery.
Frank Hoogendoorn, Chief Data Officer at MineSense, said: “We are excited to provide mines with new, data driven capabilities for sorting ore and waste. Our sensors and on-board machine learning based algorithms provide real-time bucket grades at the earliest point in the extraction processes, which enables mines to extract ore more precisely and optimise downstream processes at a resolution that previously was out of reach.”
To support mine site operations and their ore decision making, MineSense now provides 24/7 data room technical support for continuous monitoring of all elements of system performance. To track value creation, customers access their data through MineSense’s Client Portal. “This consists of data- rich visualisations of ore/waste diversions, real-time grade data and operational diagnostics,” the company says. “This information assists grade control engineers and metallurgists in mine planning, downstream operations, and overall reconciliation.”
MineSense President and CEO, Jeff More, said the mining industry was undergoing a transformation in technology and, “through its technological innovation, MineSense is able to build upon the digital and data ecosystem and create visibility where it didn’t exist before”.