Tag Archives: Goldcorp

Anaconda Mining ready to disrupt narrow vein mining sector

Anaconda Mining’s goal of finding a technology to economically extract gold from the Romeo & Juliet deposit at its Point Rousse operation in the Baie Verte region of Newfoundland, Canada, has gained a global audience since it was named a finalist at the Goldcorp-backed #DisruptMining event earlier this year.

The company’s technology-focused subsidiary thinks a combination of drilling and imaging techniques already proven in the oil & gas industry will provide the technical and economical means to mine the steeply dipping narrow vein mineralisation at the deposit.

The process, Sustainable Mining by Drilling (SMD) is divided into two campaigns: drilling the pilot holes and accurately mapping the vein, then enlarging the pilot holes to predetermined sizes to recover the ore. Using an inclined mast drilling rig, an inclined pilot hole is drilled along the centre line of the vein (equidistant between the hangingwall/footwall) with a directional drilling system.

Steering the pilot holes live with a survey tool will determine the current orientation and refine the 3D model of the vein used to plan the pilot hole enlargement, Anaconda says, adding that once the pilot has been drilled, a large hole-opener can be used to open up the hole’s trajectory up to 2 m in a single pass.

While Anaconda is focused on using SMD to mine its own problem deposit, as with many innovations in the mining sector, the technology looks like having global applications, and not just within mining.

Ahead of IM’s annual focus on narrow vein and low profile mining – to be published in the July issue – editor, Dan Gleeson, spoke with Dustin Angelo, President and Director of Anaconda Mining, to find out, among other things, how SMD can: reduce the cost to extract ore by 50% over conventional underground narrow vein mining techniques; increase operator safety by locating personnel above ground; access areas not open to conventional mining; reduce the environmental footprint of an operation; and bypass the crushing and grinding circuits by moving the +/-2 mm drill cuttings in a slurry direct to the mill.

IM: Anaconda says the technology that has gone into SMD is proven in other industries: what are these industries?

DA: We’re basically adapting technologies that have been used in the oil & gas industry for quite some time; directional drilling and sub-surface imaging. Even though we are dealing with new technology and a new process, what we’re working with, fundamentally, has been used elsewhere in other industries. We’re not reinventing the entire wheel; we’re just adding to that wheel.

We have got patent-pending inventions within SMD related to two key areas – the drilling and imaging. From the drilling standpoint, one of the key considerations we need to address is being in ore right from surface. We have developed some inventions that are added to a pile top drill rig to be able to get the required torque and thrust immediately from surface. We have also created a component that enables a drill string to be more flexible than normal to allow for course change during the hole opening phase.

In terms of sub-surface imaging, we are looking at ground penetrating radar (GPR), which is right off the shelf, but we’re adding some surveying tools to it in order to be able to improve visualisation and more clearly orient ourselves when steering.

IM: How flexible is that drill string? Are there limitations in terms of angle and depth?

DA: We’re looking at a 1 degree change every three metres in the work we are planning to carry out at Romeo & Juliet. And, right now, the depth is down to about 300 m. What we’re using is RC airlift assist to bring the cuttings back up, so the technologies that are out there allow us to go to that depth. Yet, one of the drill manufacturers we are talking to is experimenting with getting down to 400 m; this is all dependent on the angle of the hole. In our field test, we intend to initially go down to 50-100 m depending on how much drill string we want to acquire.

IM: Speaking of your field test, what application are you looking to test SMD on?

DA: The deposit we are looking at trialling this on – called Romeo & Juliet – is, so far, measuring around 3.5-4 g/t Au, which is roughly three times the grade we have been mining in the area at Point Rousse. This is significant for us in terms of grade.

What we’re trying to do with the trial is test the imaging technology and the ability to steer; the ability to put the pilot hole down the hole, roughly half way between the hanging wall and footwall of the vein, and then bring the pile-top drill rig in to enlarge that pilot hole. It is a proof of concept from that point of view.

We’re going to try and select areas of the deposit to test where the dip angle and width of the vein is representative of where we want to be mining. The drill rig we are proposing to use right now for the trial is smaller in diameter to what we propose you can ultimately use SMD for. It’s a 1-1.3 m diameter drill rig, so we are looking for a portion of the vein at Romeo & Juliet with that thickness for the trial.

IM: Aside from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland, are there any other partners you are working with on SMD?

DA: Because of the notoriety we got from being a finalist of #DisruptMining, it has accelerated development of this technology in the sense we have had a lot of interest from gold producers and drill manufacturers – we are talking to them about potential partnerships, strategic investments and field trials.

The common theme among all these conversations is that SMD makes a lot of sense and many companies could see it being applied at their sites.

While we haven’t signed any specific agreements with drill manufacturers, if this is a concept that takes off and there is lots of demand for it, it would make sense for them to be involved. They want to sell drills and we’re not going to manufacture drills, so it is an opportunity for them to have another product to sell. We want to licence our technology and the SMD process while providing services to optimise the system by end users.

IM: Have you been surprised by the industry response to SMD since it has been more widely publicised?

DA: It’s not surprising to us that there is global interest, as there are narrow vein deposits all over the world – we’ve had interest from Russia, South America, South Korea, Ghana, the US, Australia, all over the place. We’ve been focused on gold deposits, but it is certainly applicable in other deposits where there is narrow vein mineralisation, too.

One of the interesting things to come out of this exercise, which we didn’t necessarily foresee, is that the imaging technology could also be applicable in mineral exploration, especially with the imaging and GPR capabilities.

IM: Because the technology is new and unproven within a mining context, how do you see companies modelling resources based on SMD to a 43-101-compliant status?

DA: We’re not sure, from a regulatory perspective, how this technology could impact that. I would imagine, at this point, we would need a longer track record to prove its ability to transform uneconomic mineral resources into economic reserves. Once you start to build a history, companies can use that as a legitimate way to delineate reserves that they previously had to leave behind.

That’s the whole purpose of SMD; there are mineral resources in the ground, whether it is whole deposits or certain zones of existing mines that cannot be mined by conventional methods. You can use this methodology in certain cases to extract the ore. If you can do that economically, by definition, it should be a reserve.

Up to this point, most exploration has been about trying to find orebodies to match conventional mining methods; your risk factor here is finding the ore. With SMD, we’re flipping it round; you know where the ore is because you’ve already outlined a mineral resource. It just so happens that it is not economic using conventional mining methods. So, you just need to find a technology that can mine it, which we think we have for narrow vein deposits and zones.

From an exploration standpoint, you can use that image and extrapolate out better than with a conventional drill hole, so, in theory, you can carry out less drilling. Depending on the bandwidth and the GPR, you can look out five metres from where you are currently drilling. This allows you to get a better representation of the orebody and model it more accurately with less drilling.

IM: What is the timeline on SMD demonstrations? And, will the first trial take place at Romeo & Juliet?

DA: It would be Romeo & Juliet first, and we’re targeting late-August/September with the trial lasting around two months.

Sun shines on Newmont Goldcorp’s sustainability efforts

Newmont Goldcorp has published its 2018 sustainability report, which has shown why the company continues to rank near the top of several indices measuring mining companies’ global footprint.

The company, which completed the acquisition of Goldcorp only last week, shared several insights into its sustainability goals and achievements in the report, with its solar energy success notable.

Last year, the company installed a new solar plant at its Akyem gold mine in Ghana. The 120 kW plant, which has four of Cambridge Energy Partners’ Nomad solar PV trackers included, will power the camp and mess hall during daylight hours, Newmont Goldcorp said.

“It has a 25-year asset life and is redeployable, so it can be disassembled and moved to another location at closure,” the company said.

Initial data has shown measurable cost, environmental and social benefits, according to the gold miner. Over five months, the plant produced more than 75,000 kWh of solar energy, resulting in a reduction of more than 32,000 kg of CO2, it said, adding that the plant is expected to produce energy at half the cost of grid power.

On top of this, the miner said it was negotiating with Ghana’s Volta River Authority on a purchase power agreement for 8 MW of solar power.

In Nevada, US, meanwhile, the company’s Phoenix mine installed solar arrays that will generate a total of 10 kW of power for two wireless communications sites.

Additional solar projects are under evaluation at Tanami (Australia), which completed the construction of a natural gas project recently, and the Merian mine in Suriname, the company said.

These current projects are just some of the initiatives the company has put in place at its operations.

As of the end of 2018, the company said it had reduced our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 11.7% compared with its 2013 baseline. This is around 70% of its public target to reduce GHG emissions intensity by 16.5% (compared with 2013) by 2020. These numbers do not include any data from Goldcorp.

Completion of the Tanami power project in Australia is expected to reduce its GHG emissions intensity over the next two years, the company said. “We also continue to evaluate fuel switching (from coal to natural gas) at our TS Power Plant in Nevada.”

MacLean focused on Borden, battery-electric milestones and automation

MacLean Engineering says its near-term focus in the first half of 2019 is the completion and delivery of its first battery-electric Ore Flow unit to Goldcorp’s Borden gold project in Ontario, Canada.

Reflecting on a year of developments in 2018, the production support vehicle specialist said this unit – made up of an EV BH3 Blockholer with MacLean remote control – would bring its electric vehicle fleet at the site, near Chapleau, to 15 units. This comprises six bolters and nine utility vehicles.

Borden, which currently has 950,000 oz of reserves, is scheduled to begin commercial production in the second half of 2019.

The year 2018 was a significant one for MacLean. Not only did it acquire Anchises Equipment and the former MTI test facility in Sudbury, it also filled out its order book and completed fleet orders for new mining regions such as Nunavut, Labrador, Ecuador, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, Don MacLean, Chairman and Founder of MacLean, said.

As fleet orders have continued to come in, the company has increased the size of its Owen Sound, Ontario, plant – which is now handling mining equipment as well as municipal vehicles – and expanded the size of its existing facility in Queretaro, Mexico, he added.

“This investment in MacLean Mexico will bring us closer to our Latin American customer base while also helping to alleviate production bottlenecks at our Canadian plants,” Don MacLean said.

During 2018, the company was able to put one of its electric vehicles to the test at an underground ramp trial at a gold mine in Val d’Or, Quebec.

A battery-electric boom truck (BT3-EV) was run alongside its diesel equivalent, carrying out the same work on the same section of the underground mine ramp. The results were compelling.

“The key finding was that the battery-electric truck used 88% less energy than the diesel truck and, it did so with greater operator comfort (zero emissions, less noise, less heat, less vibration), and higher speeds up-ramp with the unit fully loaded,” Don MacLean said.

He added: “We can now say with confidence, over two years into our fleet electrification programme launched officially at MINExpo, back in 2016, that our battery bolter and battery support vehicles (boom truck, cassette truck, scissor truck) are proven, high-performing, lower total cost of ownership options for companies looking to make the switch to emissions-free mining.”

And, while the Sudbury-based firm has been successfully making inroads into the battery-electric vehicle space, it also said it has big plans when it comes to automation.

Last year, MacLean acquired Anchises Equipment and hired its design team to deliver MacLean “a proven remote-control technology, along with in-house R&D and remote-control circuit board manufacturing capacity”, the company said, in 2018.

In its latest report, Don MacLean said: “This team is now driving MacLean’s progressive rollout of semi- to fully-autonomous operation product offers, all designed and built within our own manufacturing ecosystem.”

MacLean Engineering’s Jeff Anderson will be appearing in a joint talk on the Borden gold project at The Electric Mine conference, in Toronto, next week. To hear more about the event and secure one of the last remaining delegate places, click here.

Fatigue Science equips Goldcorp’s Peñasquito workers with Readiband

Fatigue Science says it has been selected by Goldcorp to enable the proactive monitoring and mitigation of worker fatigue risk across the Peñasquito polymetallic mine in Mexico.

Goldcorp is deploying Fatigue Science’s predictive fatigue management solution, Readiband™, to more than 1,000 employees at Peñasquito, the global leader in fatigue and readiness management technology said.

“The initiative will enable Goldcorp to proactively monitor for fatigue and support workers who present acute or chronic fatigue and is part of Goldcorp’s broader Health & Safety vision: ‘Safe Enough for Our Families’ – a portfolio of programmes which support the safety and health of their people at work, at home and in their communities,” Fatigue Science said.

Mine employees will be equipped with Fatigue Science’s wrist-worn Readiband and its mobile software application so they can manage their personal readiness and fatigue levels in advance of and during their shift ahead, the company said. In the interest of worker safety, management will use a fatigue prediction dashboard prior to the start of each shift to proactively assess and intervene with those mine operations personnel projected to become at risk of experiencing high levels of fatigue during their upcoming shift, it added.

Andrew Morden, CEO of Fatigue Science, said: “The scale of this deployment across more than 1,000 workers validates our vision that by providing accurate, actionable and predictive fatigue data to organisations like Goldcorp, we can positively impact the well-being of workers and organisations as a whole and concurrently deliver value.”

The company said: “Effective fatigue and readiness management requires more than simply measuring the prior night’s sleep so Goldcorp has chosen to rely on the world’s best readiness and fatigue model, which was developed by the US Army Research Lab for Fatigue Science, to make sense of it all. Available only from Fatigue Science, the SAFTE™ Biomathematical Fatigue Model analyses a full spectrum of personal sleep patterns captured by the Readiband to empower workers to measure, manage, and reduce their fatigue levels.”

Victor Vdovin, Mine Operations Manager at Penasquito, Goldcorp, said: “We understand that monitoring and addressing worker readiness and fatigue has substantial economic benefits including the reduction of injuries and lost time, while increasing worker satisfaction and productivity.

“Through close collaboration with Fatigue Science, we have also obtained full support of Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros, Metalúrgicos, Siderúrgicos y Similares de la República Mexicana which represents our mine employees, in deploying the Readiband fatigue management programme. We want to ensure that every one of our people goes home safe at the end of every shift, and we’re confident that Readiband will help enable that.”

Goldcorp’s Éléonore gold mine cleans up its act with novel wastewater treatment

The latest winner of Goldcorp’s Global Excellence Awards 2019 to be featured in its online blog is the Éléonore gold mine and a novel system that proved its worth removing ammonia and residual cyanide by-products at the company’s Éléonore gold mine in Quebec, Canada.

Goldcorp said: “For any mining operation, effective wastewater treatment to remove contaminants is an indispensable step needed to minimise environmental impacts and maintain the mine’s social license to operate.

“When elevated concentrations of ammonia and residual cyanide by-products were detected in mill effluent at Éléonore, in 2014, the mill and environmental team took decisive action by introducing a novel wastewater treatment process that rectified the problem and secured Éléonore a Global Excellence Award for Sustainability Stewardship.”

Following Éléonore’s mill start-up in 2014, the new process water bleed (discharge) to water treatment plant (WTP) and paste backfill process resulted in increased concentrations of contaminants in water effluent, according to Goldcorp.

Even though the cause of the ammonia and residual cyanide toxicity couldn’t readily be identified, the Éléonore team immediately notified all major stakeholders, such as the Quebec Environment Ministry, Environment Canada and the Cree Nation Government – Environment Committee of Opinagow Collaboration Agreement, informing them on the extent of the problem and plans to rectify the situation.

France Trépanier, Environmental Coordinator at Goldcorp, said: “From the outset, we wanted to be very open and transparent with key stakeholders on steps we were taking to identify the source of the toxicity and plans to resolve the problem. Through ongoing dialogue and regular reporting, we were able to maintain a collaborative climate and establish strong partnerships based on mutual trust.”

During 2015 and 2016, the Éléonore team developed an action plan, investigated various water treatment options, and executed a series of projects including cyanide detox and leaching circuits optimisation to reduce effluent contamination, the company said.

The team also worked on mill water balance through its zero-bleed project with the objective of reducing contaminant process water discharge to the WTP, which involved reducing fresh water consumption by replacing water-sealed pumps used in the mill with mechanical seal pumps. “These projects increased control of process water contaminant concentration but didn’t resolve toxicity issues,” Goldcorp said.

A consultant working on the toxicity problem recommended the Éléonore team consider zeolite treatment and a Moving Bed Bacteria Reactor (MBBR) system to process wastewater effluent. Zeolite is a mineral well known for its ability to absorb a variety of heavy metals and ammonia. MBBR, more commonly used for municipal water treatment, is an activated bacteria aeration system, where bacteria collected on porous plastic carriers breaks down organic matter from wastewater, according to Goldcorp.

A pilot project found that zeolite treatment removed ammonia but did not eliminate the toxicity. MBBR, on the other hand, could remove ammonia and cyanide by-products delivering non-toxic results at low water temperatures (8°C).

In Spring 2016, the Quebec government granted approval for Éléonore to expand its water treatment plant by adding MBBR treatment while continuing to reduce its process water discharge to reach a zero-bleed operation.

Construction got underway in the fall of 2016, and the MBBR treatment plant was commissioned in May 2017.

“Energy efficiency was one of the critical plant design considerations to minimise heating requirements in winter,” Goldcorp said. “The addition of a heat exchange system and an insulated water circuit ensured that process water could feed the MBBR to keep the bacteria-activated treatment as stable as possible during cold winter months. Now, at the second winter, treatment is achieved without any heating at a temperature around 5°C.”

From concept to completion, Éléonore workers were kept up to date on the project’s progress through regular on-site presentations and stakeholders informed of the mine’s plans through monthly reports, quarterly presentations and site visits, the company said.

Trépanier said: “Consistent communication really enabled us to demonstrate how serious we were about solving this problem, which was essential in helping secure support for this project among stakeholders and regulators.”

Following the MBBR ramp up, Éléonore reduced ammonia and cyanide by-product concentrations in its effluent by more than 90% and was designated 100% in compliance with water quality regulations in October 2017. Since MBBR has been in steady operation, mandatory effluent sampling frequency returned from weekly to monthly.

The Éléonore team recently shared its experience in implementing this novel water treatment technology at a symposium on mining and the environment. Since then, it has received numerous enquiries from other mining companies and have hosted site visits to demonstrate the water treatment process, according to Goldcorp.

“There was a lot of people from different departments working on this project over the last two-and-a-half years,” Trépanier said. “It’s very gratifying to be recognised both externally and by our peers at Goldcorp for a successful outcome. We’re very happy to share what we’ve learned with other mining companies to help improve the industry’s environmental performance.”

Barrick and Newmont agree on Nevada gold joint venture

Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining have signed an implementation agreement that should see the two companies’ Nevada mining operations, assets, reserves, and talent combine under a joint venture.

The joint venture will, according to the two companies, allow them to capture an estimated $500 million in average annual pre-tax synergies in the first five full years of the combination, which is projected to total $5 billion pre-tax net present value over a 20-year period.

“The joint venture is an historic accord between the two gold mining companies, which have operated independently in Nevada for decades, but have previously been unable to agree terms for cooperation,” they said.

Barrick Gold had previously made an offer to take over Newmont, which itself is in the middle of trying to complete the acquisition of fellow gold miner Goldcorp. The company has agreed to withdraw this offer, in addition to proposals for the Newmont annual general meeting that it submitted on February 22. These included, according to Newmont, an amendment to Newmont’s by-laws to lower the share ownership threshold necessary to requisition shareholder meetings to 15% from the current 25% and to repeal all by-law amendments implemented since October 24, 2018.

Barrick President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Bristow, said the Nevada agreement marked the successful culmination of a deal that had been more than 20 years in the making. “We listened to our shareholders and agreed with them that this was the best way to realise the enormous potential of the Nevada goldfields’ unequalled mineral endowment, and to maximise the returns from our operations there.

“We are finally taking down the fences to operate Nevada as a single entity in order to deliver full value to both sets of shareholders, as well as to all our stakeholders in the state, by securing the long-term future of gold mining in Nevada.”

Gary Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer of Newmont, said the logic of combining the two companies’ operations was compelling. “This agreement represents an innovative and effective way to generate long-term value from our joint assets in Nevada, and represents an important step forward in expanding value creation for our shareholders. Through the joint venture, we will also continue to pursue the highest standards in safety, along with responsible and meaningful engagement with our employees, communities, and other stakeholders,” he said.

Following the completion of the joint venture, the Nevada complex will be the world’s single-largest gold producer, with a pro-forma output of more than 4 Moz in 2018, three Tier One assets, potentially another one in the making, and 48 Moz of reserves.

The establishment of the joint venture is subject to the usual conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to be completed in the coming months.

The joint venture will exclude Barrick’s Fourmile project and Newmont’s Fiberline and Mike deposits, pending the determination of their commercial feasibility.

ANDRITZ hopes to bring autonomous plant operation to mineral processing

After being crowned the winner of #DisruptMining 2019, ANDRITZ is now ready to negotiate a contract or investment of up to C$1 million ($750,480) with Goldcorp.

The live finale of the 2019 #DisruptMining, the innovation accelerator that offers entrepreneurs a platform to bring disruptive and exponential technologies to the sector, took place last night on the sidelines of the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada event in Toronto, Canada.

Sohail Nazari (second from right), Business Development Manager, ANDRITZ, and Arthur Gooch (second from left), Director of Innovation, ANDRITZ, said: “We thank Goldcorp and KPMG for their tremendous leadership driving innovation and digitalisation forward in mining. We are excited to be part of Goldcorp’s success to bring autonomous plant operation to mineral processing and we look forward to getting to work.”

David Garofalo (left), President and CEO, Goldcorp, said: “Innovation doesn’t stop or start with one idea, one technology, or one company. For the mining industry to reach the demands and potential of the 21st century, every company must step up and innovate. We must all be safer, more efficient, and responsible and we’ll get results faster through collaboration and the kind of break-through thinking the #DisruptMining platform is meant to uncover for our industry.”

ANDRITZ, a supplier of machines and automation solutions worldwide, developed a unique and continuous way of training artificial intelligence to operate a mineral processing facility using ANDRITZ’s digital twin as part of its award winning concept, Goldcorp said. “The AI is trained to respond to a variety of situations, making it capable of adapting to changing inputs and improving recovery time. The trained AI’s ability to quickly process information and recommend data-driven solutions will allow for the improvement of the operation, such as start-up and shutdown, and assist operators to achieve plant-wide optimisation.”

Deciding the fate of the three finalists was a panel of industry judges including Ian Telfer (Chair of Goldcorp), Katie Valentine (Partner at KPMG Australia and Global Head of Mining Consulting), Sue Paish (CEO of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster), Jacob Yeung (University of British Columbia student and #DisruptMining UBC Captain) and Wal van Lierop (President and CEO, Chrysalix Venture Capital).

Net proceeds of C$200,000 from the #DisruptMining live finale will be granted toward mining, innovation and technology scholarships to the University of British Columbia, Garofalo announced.

Goldcorp’s Peñasquito mine seeing benefits of fully-autonomous drilling

Goldcorp says it is seeing the multiple benefits of autonomous drilling at its Peñasquito gold mine in Mexico, with the company set to ramp up the use of this technology in the next few years.

In a site visit presentation, the company said using a fully-autonomous drill solution – where the drill is given instructions that it carries out automatically supervised by an operator in a safe and climate-controlled area – has been beneficial to the amount of metres drilled, the quality of drill holes and safety.

In 2017, Peñasquito pursued the use of automation by fitting two drill rigs with autonomous technology for a trial as it looked to reduce its workforce’s exposure to potential hazards associated with drilling in the open pit.

The company now has multiple rigs installed with this technology. In 2018, it retrofitted two Epiroc Pit Viper PV-351 rigs with autonomous features and it is set to retrofit another two this year, according to the site visit presentation. In 2019, it also intends to bring in two automation-ready Pit Viper PV-271s (pictured), and has another scheduled for delivery in 2020.

These are supervised in a control room where up to 12 rigs can be monitored.

The company’s current drilling fleet includes nine Pit Viper PV-351s, one Pit Viper PV-271 and four Flexiroc D65s, according to the presentation.

On the technology itself, Goldcorp said: “The drill can now operate through blasting and other interruptions, providing opportunities for additional drilling hours.”

In addition to this, the autonomous drills can achieve a consistent higher penetration rate, while improving metres per operating hour and reducing operating costs.

Goldcorp said operating hours per calendar day per drill had increased 25% since the introduction of fully-autonomous drilling, while the metres drilled per operating hour had risen 12%. This has amounted to a 40% productivity gain in metres per day, plus improved fragmentation, it added.

Just this week at an SME Annual Conference & Expo press briefing, Matthew Inge, Business Line Manager, Drilling Solutions for Epiroc, said companies were also achieving significant maintenance benefits from the use of autonomous drilling solutions.

Goldcorp narrows down finalists for #DisruptMining PDAC showdown

Goldcorp has announced the three finalists selected to pitch to a panel of judges at the #DisruptMining 2019 live finale taking place around the PDAC event in Toronto, next month.

The trio includes companies looking at a new drilling approach that can unlock the value in narrow vein deposits; a unique way of training artificial intelligence (AI) to autonomously operate a mineral processing facility; and an Internet of Things application that increases the intelligence of belt conveyors used to transport material at mine sites, according to Goldcorp.

Todd White, Goldcorp Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Operations, said: “#DisruptMining continues to represent the best of innovation in the mining industry. These finalists demonstrate break-through thinking and help build digital momentum in mining. The industry needs to help accelerate the development of these kinds of technologies.”

After a technical review by a group from the University of British Columbia, shortlisted submissions were reviewed by senior Goldcorp representatives to determine semi-finalists and finalists for #DisruptMining, Goldcorp said. The three finalists pitching their disruptive technology to the panel of judges are:

  • Anaconda Mining, a TSX-listed gold mining company operating in Atlantic Canada, has developed an innovative, two-stage drilling method that enables economic mining of narrow-vein deposits, according to Goldcorp. The technology, known as Sustainable Mining by Drilling (SMD), was developed in collaboration with Memorial University of Newfoundland. Goldcorp said: “SMD has the potential to unlock value in existing deposits that were previously thought to be uneconomic to mine using traditional underground or surface mining methods. The developers also expect this technology could extend the life of current operations by allowing safe excavation to occur beyond the limits of current designs”;
  • ANDRITZ, a leading supplier of machines and automation solutions worldwide, has developed a unique and continuous way of training artificial intelligence to operate a mineral processing facility using ANDRITZ’s digital twin, Goldcorp said. “The AI is trained to respond to a variety of situations, making it capable of adapting to changing inputs and improving upset recovery time,” Goldcorp said. The trained AI’s ability to quickly process information and recommend data-driven solutions will allow for the improvement of the operation, such as start-up and shutdown, and assist operators to achieve plant-wide optimisation, and;
  • Voith Turbo, a division of Voith GmbH & Co KGaA, whose IoT application BeltGenius (pictured) creates a digital twin of belt conveyors which provides real-time insight into the behaviour of the operation. “Resulting from a constant learning system, this information is used to identify potential risks and inefficiencies, allowing for greater uptime, more efficient energy use, predictive maintenance and optimisation of weight and speed,” Goldcorp said. With BeltGenius, mine sites can operate their belt conveyors with greater control and consistency, increasing their savings on repairs and material transportation costs while reducing the environmental impact of traditional haul trucks.

Deciding the fate of the three finalists will be Ian Telfer, Chair of Goldcorp; Katie Valentine, Partner at KPMG Australia and Global Head of Mining Consulting; Sue Paish, CEO of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster; Jacob Yeung, University of British Columbia student and #DisruptMining UBC Captain; and returning #DisruptMining judge Wal van Lierop, President & CEO, Chrysalix Venture Capital.

Co-hosted by KPMG, the #DisruptMining live finale will take place on Sunday, March 3, 2019 at the Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto during the PDAC convention. Each finalist will present a short pitch video followed by a Q&A with the judges, in front of a live audience of nearly 600 people, demonstrating how their concept or technology has the potential to #DisruptMining.

In addition to finalists, six semi-finalists will showcase their technologies at the #DisruptMining Innovation Expo. The Expo will take place on Sunday March 3, 2019, at the Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto.

 

Goldcorp and Orica looking at further WebGen applications at Musselwhite

Following successful trials of Orica’s WebGen™ 100 at the Musselwhite gold mine, Goldcorp says it is looking at further drill and blast geometries and mining methods using the wireless blasting initiation system at the Ontario mine.

Goldcorp said these blasting tests underground at Musselwhite indicate “a decisive step on the path towards full automation of drill and blast operations in the future”.

In 2016, in collaboration with Orica, Musselwhite began testing WebGen, a system which fires primers through hundreds of metres of solid rock. “The wireless system has been designed to fully integrate with a mine’s existing blasting systems and improves safety by removing people from harm’s way,” Goldcorp said.

The project was recently announced as an award winner, which recognised the development of the temporary rib pillar (TRP) mining method using WebGen.

“The TRP is a revolutionary mining method that uses WebGen technology to extract ore pillars that previously could not be recovered in underground operations,” Goldcorp said. “Using this new method, the main ore of the panel can now be blasted and extracted while the TRP holds back the waste rock backfill. The inaccessible pillars can be blasted, delivering reduced dilution, increased truck fill factors and improved overall productivity.”

The system tested at Musselwhite enables groups of in-hole primers to be wirelessly initiated by a firing command that uses an ultra-low frequency magnetic induction wave to communicate through rock, water and air, according to Goldcorp. “This removes constraints often imposed by the requirement of a physical connection (wires) to each primer in a blast,” the company said.

The magnetic induction wave is transmitted by an antenna at around 1,800 hertz, and received by disposable receivers in each borehole, according to Goldcorp. Each 51 mm-diameter, 320 mm-long disposable receiver has a tri-axis antenna array to receive the signal, supporting any blasthole orientation.

Goldcorp said: “Following the blast plan, each disposable receiver is encoded with the Group ID for its blast, and each detonator with a delay time, just prior to being loaded into the blastholes. A standalone Code Management Computer (CMC) – a tablet wiped of other software – is uploaded with a CSV file from Orica’s blast design software. The CMC assigns the encrypted firing codes and delay timing into a preload blast file. A handheld encoder takes the data from the CMC and encodes each disposable receiver and detonator.”

Three separate codes make up the Group ID, and all three must be received from the transmitter to initiate a blast, according to Goldcorp. First, a wake-up code activates the appropriate disposable receiver from sleep mode. Next, the activated disposable receiver receives an arm code, which calibrates and synchronises the units. Finally, following the mine central blasting protocol, the fire signal is sent, firing each detonator according to its programmed delay time. Other disposable receivers, having not received their wake-up code, remain dormant in their blastholes, ready for subsequent blasts.

Following these tests, further drill and blast geometries and mining methods using WebGen are being explored at Musselwhite, Goldcorp said.

Musselwhite’s Chief Engineer, Billy Grace, said: “Since starting the TRP trials with WebGen in late 2016, our level of comfort with the technology has reached a point that discussing possible wireless applications is an integral part of our mine planning process. The entire team is excited by the possibilities that WebGen opened up, and the new opportunities they are allowing for us to increase our productivity and safety.”

At Orica’s 2018 AGM, Alberto Calderon, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Orica, called WebGen “the most exciting development our industry has seen since bulk explosives in the 1960s”.