Tag Archives: Maestro Digital Mine

Matrix to bring Maestro’s Plexus PowerNet to US mining market

Matrix Design Group is to introduce Maestro Digital Mine’s Plexus PowerNet™ networking system to the US market following the signing of a distribution agreement between the two companies.

Plexus PowerNet, the first coaxial-based gigabit network, provides both data and power over a single cable, according to Canada-based Maestro. The system delivers a high-speed, low-latency digital communication network that provides PoE+ power to Access Points, cameras and any other IP-based devices, it says.

The Plexus PowerNet coaxial cable carries both power and network connectivity, eliminating the need to run both fibre and power to new network devices. The system can also extend a fibre-optic-based system from the fibre patch panel at any level as needed. Plexus PowerNet eliminates the need for costly outside fibre-optic contractors and can be installed and maintained by any mine personnel, Maestro says.

Chris Adkins, Sales/Business Development, Matrix Design Group, said: “For a mining application, Maestro gives mines the ability to have high-speed data and power without the technical and time constraints of running a fibre network to the face of the mine. Of course, the maintenance requirements of fibre are complex, but Maestro has reinvented the high-speed data network, allowing delivery of real-time data and power combined into one durable coaxial cable that’s easy to install, maintain and repair.”

The Plexus PowerNet is a backbone network system that can be used in mines with or without a fibre-optic network, Maestro says.

“Supporting existing underground infrastructure, Plexus provides network connectivity to new and existing IIoT devices and automation technologies,” the company said. “It enables the digital mine and connected worker for: autonomous and tele-remote vehicles; telemetry to drills, loaders and support equipment; support for short interval control and connectivity to tablet and smart devices; IoT sensors, such as environmental and seismicity; Voice over IP; augmented reality; asset tracking; PoE+ based IP cameras and PoE+ LED lights for paste fill; and PLC connectivity. Plexus is an enabling technology for the digital mine.”

Michael Gribbons, Co-founder and CEO, Maestro Digital Mine, stated: “The collaboration with Matrix Design Group is an essential part of expanding our reach into the US market with a team that understands the value of our digital network solution and how it aligns with the mines in the area. Bringing digital solutions, such as the Plexus PowerNet, online enables worker safety, increased production and reduced costs; all of which are vital to Maestro and Matrix.”

Maestro Digital Mine makes connections in Latin America

Maestro Digital Mine’s Latin America expansion is gaining traction, with the Sudbury-based company recently landing sales from major gold mines in Argentina.

Its flagship Industrial Internet of Things measurement and control instrumentation solutions, such as the Vigilante AQS™ and Zephyr AQS™ air quality monitoring stations, and the Plexus PowerNet™ last mile communication platform, are designed to provide the visibility and communication miners require to keep up productivity and improve safety while operating at increasing depths

Having successful launched these products in over 130 mines, in more than 20 countries around the world, Maestro started its strategic outreach and market research in Latin America last year.

Maestro’s says its distribution channels are vital to its success in this area and, as part of the Maestro sales team, provide valuable feedback, access and service to potential clients in Latin America.

This strategy saw it partner with associations that assist with market research and business-to-business meetings, such as the Mine Connect (formerly SAMSSA), and the Northern Ontario Export Program led by the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation (GSDC) and Mining Suppliers Trade Association (MSTA), as well as secure four new distributors/agents in the key mining hubs of Argentina, Chile, Peru and Mexico to support this growth.

This investment is already starting to pay off, with the company recently landing significant contracts across the region.

In Argentina, Yamana Gold’s Cerro Moro mine, in the Santa Cruz province, is installing the Plexus PowerNet solution. This delivers a high speed, low latency digital communication network that provides “PoE+ power” to Wireless Access Points, cameras and any other IP-based device, Maestro said. The system eliminates the need for costly outside fibre optic contractors and can be installed and maintained by any internal tradesperson, according to Maestro.

Cerro Moro, an open-pit and underground gold-silver operation, poured its first gold and silver doré back in May 2018 and, up until recent COVID-19-related restrictions hit mining operations, was expected to produce 117,000 oz of gold and 7.5 Moz of silver in 2020, according to the miner.

In that same province, Maestro has also installed the last mile communication solution at Newmont’s Cerro Negro mine. This operation includes five underground mines (Eureka, Mariana Central, Mariana Norte, San Marcos, Bajo Negro), one open-pit mine (Vein Zone) and one cyanide leach processing facility that yields gold recoveries of 96%, according to Newmont.

In Mexico, Maestro has installed Vigilante AQS – air quality monitoring stations in Peñoles mines. Peñoles, a subsidiary company owned by Grupo BAL, is the second largest Mexican mining company, the top Mexican producer of gold, zinc and lead and a world leader in silver production.

Coeur Mining has, meanwhile, installed and integrated the Vigilante AQS and MaestroLink software into its Mexican mines. This includes the Palmarejo silver-gold complex. The miner continues to expand Maestro’s digital solutions on each new level of its Mexico mines, Maestro said.

Maestro concluded: “With the support of our distribution partners, we are proud to be enabling worker safety and productivity in the mines of Latin America. It is through a collaborative model that Canadian suppliers can impact positive change in the global mining industry.”

Quebec miners shut down operations following COVID-19 government order

The latest provincial government-mandated restrictions to address the COVID-19 situation have seen miners down tools at operations in Quebec, Canada.

Announced on March 23, the order was for the shutdown of all non-essential businesses and services for a period of three weeks, starting on midnight on March 24.

While mining was listed as one of the priority services, those in the mining sector have been instructed to minimise activities.

Yamana Gold, which along with Agnico Gold Mines’ jointly owns the Canadian Malartic mine (pictured), said it would ramp down operations at the mine following discussions with representatives of the Government of Quebec to “obtain additional clarity in regard to the order”.

The operation, Canada’s largest gold mine, will be on care and maintenance and minimal work will be taking place until the date specified in the order (April 13), it said.

Yamana said it was demobilising employees and contractors in a safe and orderly manner, leaving only a small number of employees on site to maintain property and equipment and oversee all environmental responsibilities and obligations.

“A return to full capacity at Canadian Malartic is expected to occur in an expedited manner as soon as the temporary restriction is lifted,” it said.

Yamana’s partner, Agnico Eagle Mines, also announced its LaRonde Complex and Goldex Mine, in the Abitibi region of Quebec, would be ramped down in an orderly fashion while ensuring the safety of employees and the sustainability of the infrastructure.

“Each of these operations are to be placed on care and maintenance until April 13, 2020, and, as instructed, minimal work will take place during that time,” the company said.

With its Meliadine and Meadowbank mining operations in Nunavut being serviced out of Quebec, it said it will also slow activities there.

Eldorado Gold, meanwhile, has temporarily minimised operations at its Lamaque underground mine until April 13.

As of today, it will ramp down operational activity and maintain only essential personnel on site responsible for maintaining appropriate health, safety, security and environmental systems, it said.

“The company remains committed to resuming operations in a timely manner once the suspension is lifted,” Eldorado Gold added.

The news came on the same day it announced the receipt of a Certificate of Authorization from the Quebec Ministry of Environment to allow for the expansion of underground production from the Triangle deposit at Lamaque from 1,800 t/d to 2,650 t/d, once operations resume. This expansion could see annual average gold production rise to 170,000 oz, from close to 130,000 oz.

Hecla Mining has also slowed operations at its Casa Beradi gold mine in the province, with the company saying it will have limited operations in place to protect the facilities and environment while the suspension is ongoing.

Rio Tinto, which operates aluminium operations in the province, said it was working with the government to comply with its directive.

“Rio Tinto understands that the Quebec government has designated industrial complexes including the aluminium sector and the mining industry as essential industries but instructed that they must reduce their business activity to the minimum,” it said.

Over the border in Ontario, there has been a more mixed response to the COVID-19 situation, led by the provincial government taking a different tack to politicians in Quebec.

Some mines, such as Kirkland Lake Gold’s Detour Lake operation and Wesdome Gold Mines‘ Eagle River complex, have reduced the amount of workers on site, whereas others like Newmont (at Musselwhite) have put operations into care and maintenance mode.

Ontario’s government has issued a similar notice to its neighbour about non-essential businesses, but its definition is different.

Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of mining materials and products, including metals such as copper, nickel and gold, and that support supply chains in northern Ontario including mining operations, production and processing; mineral exploration and development; and mining supply and services that support supply chains in the mining industry including maintenance of operations, health and safety, are all considered ‘essential’.

This extends beyond mining companies, too, with Maestro Digital Mine one of the recent Ontario-based suppliers to confirm it was “deemed an essential service”. It said it would continue to provide support to the underground mining sector, “keeping miners safe with gas sensors and airflow sensors” during this time.

Maestro Digital Mines’ Zephyr AQS leaves its mark at CIM convention

Maestro Digital Mine has used the backdrop of the CIM Convention and Exhibition, in Montreal, Quebec, to launch its latest digital industrial internet of things (IIoT) solution, the Zephyr AQS™.

Maestro’s Zephyr AQS is a compact, low cost environmental air quality monitoring station for underground mines. It is an IIoT device that connects directly to an industrial network without the requirement of adding an expensive and complex programmable logic controller (PLCs) and several analogue-based instruments, the company said.

“Since it is a digital device, not only are the real time environmental conditions reported back to surface via a single ethernet connection, but all the advanced diagnostic data is available too, assuring maximum uptime,” Maestro said.

Michael Gribbons, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Maestro Digital Mine, said at the launch event: “The Zephyr AQS was developed to satisfy 75% of all the air monitoring requirements of a modern mine. Airflow rate, airflow direction, gas levels, barometric pressure and wet/dry bulb temperatures can be measured in real time and, now, affordably.

“The Zephyr AQS is designed for any mine aiming to increase production, improve miner worker safety and reduce energy by monitoring and controlling ventilation air in an underground operation. The first step of working to control ventilation is the requirement of measurement. Only then can you start to understand and drive value to increasing production by getting the miners back to the face quicker and safer. Or, reducing the energy demand by providing enough ventilation air to the areas of the mine that need it and reducing air to the non-working areas of the mine.”

Like all Maestro solutions, the Zephyr AQS is a fully digital solution that can be plugged into a network switch without the requirement of PLCs, PLC cabinets and all the associated wiring, terminations, software and complex labour for integration into the network, the company said.

“Based on direct customer feedback, Maestro’s digital products save mining companies, on average, 40-60% of capital expenditure compared to conventional monitoring solutions,” Maestro said.

“All Maestro solutions are provided with lifetime, free firmware updates. The full savings to mining clients is in the range of 70-80% over the full life cycle with no hidden hooks or costs to bear in the OPEX maintenance cycle.”

The new Zephyr AQS air quality station features three fully configurable sensor inputs that can be freely mixed and matched according to the customer’s requirements. Like the Vigilante AQS™, the Zephyr AQS will be configured through built-in webpages similar to that of a home network router, according to the company.

All the sensors connected to the Zephyr AQS electronics are digitally supported by the way the Zephyr AQS communicates over the mine’s network using standard network protocols. Maestro fully supports both of the two most popular network communication protocols – Modbus TCP/IP and EtherNet/IP™. Alternately, the Zephyr AQS offers on-board analogue outputs (3 x 4-20 mA) and two relay outputs to tie into legacy systems.

David Ballantyne, Vice President of Development and Technology, Maestro Digital Mine, said: “The Zephyr AQS is considered the baby sister of the Vigilante AQS. Both provide plug and play sensors and both are fully digital. However, the Vigilante AQS supports seven plug and play ports versus three for the Zephyr AQS. The Vigilante AQS also provides four complete Proportional – Integral – Derivative control loops to allow it to run autonomously in the event of network failure. It can also integrate up to 24 RTD sensors used in primary fan and booster fan applications.”

The Vigilante AQS was created to solve 100% of the applications for mine ventilation monitoring and controlling, Maestro said, however solving all the applications with a single device adds extra costs for most of the simpler requirements.

Maestro has supplied over 120 mines globally with this equipment. “We recognised that a lighter version would be adequate for many of the mines price sensitive markets such as Latin America and Africa,” it said.

Maestro has 100 units sold, pre-delivery, from three existing hard-rock mining customers in Canada, the US and Spain.