Tag Archives: MacLean

BluVein’s underground dynamic charging developments accelerating

BluVein, after officially receiving agreement and project approval from all project partners, has initiated the third phase of technology development and testing of its underground mine electrification solution, BluVein1, it says.

BluVein is a joint venture between Australia-based mining innovator Olitek and Sweden-based electric highways developer Evias. The company has devised a patented slotted (electric) rail system, which uses an enclosed electrified e-rail system mounted above or beside the mining vehicle together with the BluVein hammer that connects the electric vehicle to the rail.

The system, which is OEM agnostic, provides power for driving the vehicle, typically a mine truck, and charging the truck’s batteries while the truck is hauling load up the ramp and out of an underground mine.

The underground-focused development under BluVein is coined BluVein1, with the open-pit development looking to offer dynamic charging for ultra-class haul trucks called BluVein XL. This latter project was recently named among eight winning ideas selected to progress to the next stage of the Charge On Innovation Challenge.

The purpose of the third phase of the BluVein1 technology development is to:

  • Conduct a full-scale refined hammer (collector) and arm design and testing with a second prototype;
  • Execute early integration works with mining partners and OEMs;
  • Provide full-power dynamic energy transfer for a vehicle demonstration on a local test site; and
  • Confirm a local test site for development.

IM understands that the company is close to sealing an agreement for a local test site where it will carry out trials of the dynamic charging technology.

James Oliver, CEO, BluVein, said the third phase represents an essential final pre-pilot stage of BluVein1.

“It excites me that the BluVein solution is becoming an industry reality,” he said. “The faster BluVein1 is ready for deployment, the better for our partners and the mining industry globally.”

BluVein recently entered a Memorandum of Understanding with Epiroc, where the Sweden-based OEM will provide the first ever diesel-to-battery-converted Minetruck MT42 underground truck for pilot testing on the slotted electric rail system from BluVein.

“This MoU also ensures that we are designing and developing the system into a real-world BEV for full-scale live testing and demonstration on a pilot site in 2023,” BluVein says.

In addition to Epiroc, IM understands BluVein is working with Sandvik, MacLean, Volvo and Scania, among others, on preparing demonstration vehicles for the BluVein1 pilot site.

The BluVein1 consortium welcomed South32 into the project in May, joining Northern Star Resources, Newcrest Mining, Vale, Glencore, Agnico Eagle, AngloGold Ashanti and BHP, all of which have signed a consortium project agreement that aims to enable final system development and the construction of a technology demonstration pilot site in Australia.

The project is being conducted through the consortium model by Rethink Mining, powered by the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), which CMIC says is a unique collaboration structure that fast-tracks mining innovation technologies such as BluVein and CAHM (Conjugate Anvil Hammer Mill).

Carl Weatherell, Executive Director and CEO, CMIC/President Rethink Mining Ventures, said: “With the urgent need to decarbonise, CMIC’s approach to co-develop and co-deploy new platform technologies is the way to accelerate to net zero greenhouse gases. The BluVein consortium is a perfect example of how to accelerate co-development of new technology platforms.”

Oliver concluded: “The BluVein1 consortium is a great reminder that many hands make light work, and through this open collaboration with OEMs and mining companies, we’re moving faster together towards a cleaner, greener future for mining.”

MacLean details battery-electric vehicle order for Glencore’s Onaping Depth

With the Onaping Depth Project in Ontario, Canada, advancing towards production, MacLean has announced that its battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) have been selected by Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (Glencore Sudbury INO) as one of the mobile equipment suppliers for this deep mine under the existing Craig Mine in Onaping, a longtime base metals mining hub in the Greater Sudbury region.

These details follow on from an announcement from Peter Xavier, Vice PresidentGlencore, Sudbury Operations, announcing the fleet details at the ‘BEV In-Depth: Mines to Mobility’ conference in Sudbury, late last month.

The MacLean BEV fleet at Onaping will consist of support units across the mining vehicle categories of explosives charging, secondary reduction, shotcrete spraying, concrete transport and utility vehicles, MacLean said.

MacLean launched its EV SeriesTM product line in 2016 and, since that time, the company has gone on to design, manufacture and commission over 40 pieces of mobile mining equipment in five provinces across Canada, as well one state in the United States and one BEV unit recently shipped to South Africa for trialling in that country’s mining sector.

Collectively, the MacLean full-fleet electrification solution has amassed over 120,000 working hours underground. Connecting the mining cycle to the battery cycle with the right amount of best-in-class battery, on-board charging and vehicle telemetry technology has allowed the company to rapidly progress its product development and introduction of MacLean BEVs into the industry, for customers looking to maximise the operational benefits of a diesel-free mining.

“The 100-plus employees at the MacLean service and support branch in Sudbury, along with the underground Research & Training Facility just down the road in Lively, are an integral part of the economy in Sudbury and this local footprint will be a cornerstone for our project support to Glencore Sudbury INO across the life of this mine,” Stella Holloway, MacLean Vice President of Northern Ontario Operations, said. “Onaping Depth is an example to the mining world for how to successfully develop and operate a diesel-free, deep mine, so we are keenly aware of the high bar that has been set and are excited to step up and ensure the success of the MacLean EV Series fleet as it contributes to the wider success of the Glencore project as whole.”

MacLean President, Kevin MacLean, said: “We are deeply honoured to be chosen by Glencore Sudbury INO as one of the mobile equipment suppliers for this keystone project, as they advance towards production. I spent my early years growing up in Levack, when my father was working underground as a Division Foreman at the former Levack Mine, so this BEV fleet sale to Onaping Depth has special meaning for me. MacLean is committed to doing its part to ensuring the success of this project, as the entire mining world looks on.”

MEDATech launches battery thermal management unit for BEVs

MEDATech has launched what it says is a rugged, space-saving thermal management unit for industrial battery-electric vehicles.

Having made battery-electric drivetrains for heavy-duty equipment OEMs like MacLean, Kovatera and Muckahi Mining Systems, MEDATech’s ALTDRIVE division had accepted that a problem area in the company’s designs had long been thermal management units.

“We could never find a battery thermal management unit robust enough or sleek enough,” MEDATech’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Darren Mueller, said. “They were either too fragile for industrial use, so bulky that we had to compromise on vehicle design, or tough to integrate into vehicle management systems. So we built one.”

The ALTDRIVE BTMU, as the unit was dubbed (BTMU = Battery Thermal Management Unit), has an AKG-built condenser that can be placed remotely to save space and enable consistent airflow. At 25 in x 26.5 in x 15 in and 105 lb (48 kg), the BTMU is a tight package that’s built rugged enough to withstand the most adverse underground conditions, but powerful enough to reject heat at a rate of 7.5 kW, MEDATech says. It is powered by the vehicle’s high-voltage system and plugs into the J1939 CAN network. The BTMU also has an optional 10 kW heater add-on that can be connected to the base unit if cold-weather operation is planned.

The ALTDRIVE BTMU works as well as a retrofit as it does on new builds, according to the company. It delivers precision cooling and can also report temperature and pressure monitoring within vehicle-control systems. Its release has seen such popular acclaim that MEDATech has partnered with AKG to expand BTMU product line offerings, MEDATech said. AKG has been a global partner in thermal-management solutions for many different markets since 1919.

Josh Belin, AKG Senior Product Manager, said: “We are very excited to partner with MEDATech to further develop the BTMU product line. As the market continues to evolve, it will become increasingly important to be able to handle the requirements of a wide variety of applications.”

MacLean battery-electric support fleet set for Odyssey gold mine

A fleet of MacLean battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are set to operate at the Odyssey Mine, one of Canada’s largest underground gold mining projects, after the OEM and Canadian Malartic Partnership agreed on a fleet order.

The mine, currently under construction, is owned 50:50 by Yamana Gold Inc and Agnico Eagle Ltd. The partners have already said it is expected to be one of the most modernised electric underground mines, with all major mobile production equipment (such as trucks, scoop trams, jumbos, bolters, and longhole drill rigs electric powered).

The MacLean BEV fleet at Odyssey Mine will be used for ground support installation, explosives charging, materials transport, and construction and maintenance, the OEM said.

The Odyssey Mine, located near the Town of Malartic in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of northern Quebec, will extract ore from an orebody that lies underneath the historical East Malartic Gold Mines, whose Mine Manager from the late 1930s to late 1940s was none other than ‘Ducky’ MacLean, father of Don MacLean, who founded his namesake mobile equipment company in 1973 and spent close to a decade of his childhood in the Malartic mine camp.

Don MacLean’s son Kevin MacLean now leads the mining vehicle manufacturer, having assumed the role of company President in 2009. He said: “Every fleet order is special but this one has particular resonance because it connects the MacLean family past with the MacLean company future in the form of battery-powered mining vehicles. The underground project of the partnership provides a perfect opportunity for MacLean mobile equipment to return to East Malartic in support of diesel-free operations.”

Don MacLean added: “I’m thrilled to see underground mining coming back to Malartic and grateful that the partnership has put their faith in MacLean BEVs to get the job done safely and productively.”

Tony Caron, MacLean VP of Quebec, Nunavut, and Latin America, said: “The fact that the MacLean fleet in Malartic will represent a return to Don’s childhood roots adds a special dynamic to this story, one that everyone at the MacLean branch in Val-d’Or will keep at heart as we dedicate ourselves to supporting the success of Odyssey Mine.”

The partners approved construction to transform the Odyssey Project into the Odyssey Mine over the coming years in February, spelling out plans to extract 19,000 t of ore at an estimated grade of about 2.75 g/t Au and roughly 5,000 t/d of waste rock during peak operation. It will be accessed by a ramp and a shaft estimated to be 1,800 m deep.

Battery-electric, teleremote and VR tech to feature on MacLean’s MINExpo booth

The MacLean focus at MINExpo 2021 will be squarely on the latest outputs from the company’s technology development efforts in the areas of electrification, automation and digitalisation, the company has confirmed.

Show updates on September 13-15 in Las Vegas include the latest on the MacLean battery-electric product line, teleremote technology, as well as telemetry and virtual reality training technology to round out the clean, automated and data-rich design philosophy that is at the core of the company’s ‘Application Intelligence’ technology campaign, it said.

“We have been doing fit-for-purpose mobile equipment manufacturing for the past 50 years so in one sense, ‘Application Intelligence’ is simply a continuation of the MacLean value proposition to the global mining industry,” MacLean President, Kevin MacLean, says. “The only difference is the ramp up of our technology development capabilities and collaboration with producers and other OEMs, to make the underground environment safer and more productive. Understanding the mining cycle and designing solutions that fit the job is what the ‘engineering’ means in MacLean Engineering.”

Adam Howse, MacLean Business Development Manager for the Western US & Canada, said: “How far we have come already and how far we still intend to go in designing underground mining vehicles that are emissions-free and able to be highly automated in a multi-OEM environment – this is what we will be sharing first-hand with booth guests at the show.

“At the same time, this global story of the evolution of smart mining equipment is complemented by a local story for us in northern Nevada, where we established a branch in 2020 and where we continue to expand our aftermarket support capabilities for customers in the historic Elko mining camp as well as across the western US.”

The launch of the MacLean ‘Application Intelligence’ campaign includes a new corporate website that will be a hub for information about the full and expanding MacLean product line for both battery electric and diesel-powered mining vehicles.

MacLean explained: “Application Intelligence represents the potential contained within the overlap of on-vehicle technology development, mobile equipment manufacturing expertise and deep knowledge of the mining cycle. It is the driving ethos behind the electrification, automation and digitalisation efforts that continue to evolve the MacLean mining vehicle product lines that span the ground support, secondary reduction and utility vehicle categories.

“This includes the next generation of MacLean ground support installation that will include robotics engineered life underground, building on the 30-year and recent 500-production unit production milestone for the 900 Series scissor bolter product line.”

MacLean ships 500th 900 Series scissor bolter to Agnico’s Goldex mine

The MacLean 900 Series scissor bolter design turned 30 years old in 2021 and the manufacturer has recently shipped out production unit #500 to a long-standing customer – Agnico Eagle’s Goldex mine in Val d’Or, Quebec.

The first commercialised 900 Series unit was introduced in the early 1990s in Ontario. Three decades later, the safety, versatility, productivity and quality of installation this mining vehicle provides has helped change the way ground support installation is conducted in hard-rock mines across Canada, MacLean says.

“This manufacturing milestone, representing the collective efforts of so many people at the company over the years, is something that I’m proud to celebrate and deeply grateful for,” MacLean President, Kevin MacLean, says. “It also underscores the importance of long-standing customer relationships, so it’s fitting that the 500th unit is going to Agnico Eagle in the Abitibi, where the MacLean mining story started and where the company’s future will be written in support of Agnico Eagle operations in Quebec, Nunavut and Mexico.”

Dominic Caron – Agnico Eagle’s Strategic Procurement Superintendent, added: “At Agnico Eagle, we are very pleased to be a part of Maclean’s success and celebrate with them this important milestone. We have had a long-lasting business relationship with Maclean and, throughout our operations, our people greatly appreciate the products and support they provide. We hope to continue building on this relationship in the future.”

While a ceremony will be held underground at the mine later this month, to mark the milestone, MacLean says it is also lining up releases about its next generation bolter, which will include leading-edge robotics and remote control.

Steve Denomme, Product Line Manager for Bolting, explained: “If you want to talk paradigm change, this is it. The next 30 years of influence could be even greater that than the first 30, so I’m honoured to be part of the MacLean team working in close engagement with our customer base to transform bolting ideas into working solutions for the mines of the 21st century. We’re using advanced vehicle technologies to their greatest benefit in the underground environment, always in the name of safety and productivity.”

Newcrest, Epiroc and MacLean achieve interoperability first at Cadia East

Newcrest Mining’s Cadia Valley Operations has achieved a world first in mobile equipment interoperability – integrating a remotely operated MacLean water cannon into its Epiroc automation fleet at Cadia East, in New South Wales, Australia.

In 2018, Cadia commenced a loader (LHD) automation trial with Epiroc, with the aim of removing operators from the Cadia East underground environment, while maintaining productivity and performance. The loader trial proved successful and the next phase involved integrating non-Epiroc machinery into the existing automation fleet, Epiroc said.

Cadia’s Mining Innovation & Automation team worked with Epiroc and MacLean to integrate a MacLean water cannon capable of localisation with Epiroc’s traffic management system and safety hardware, so that it could be introduced into the automation safety system.

Water cannons are used for secondary break operations, using high pressure water to release wedged rocks in underground drawpoints.

By integrating the MacLean IQ Series tele-operation system with Cadia’s automation safety system, the water cannon could be safely operated from the surface in a tele-remote capacity, allowing it to work alongside Cadia’s semi-automated loaders, Epiroc said.

The water cannon was trialled and commissioned during July and August and is now in use at Cadia East, according to Epiroc.

Cadia General Manager, Aaron Brannigan, said that integrating the water cannon into Cadia’s automation system has improved the efficiency of the production level and removed human exposure from drawpoints.

“We are constantly pushing the envelope of change in the innovation and technology space,” Brannigan said. “Automated machinery allows for shift in technical capabilities of our workforce, while ensuring we continue to eliminate safety risks from our operation.”

The success of this milestone paves the way for further integration of other key pieces of secondary break equipment into the automation system, according to Epiroc, which added: “This project is part of Newcrest’s ongoing drive to increase its automation and innovation focus on site.”