Tag Archives: MineSense Technologies

MineSense to expand XRF ore sorting presence at Copper Mountain mine

MineSense Technologies says the use of its ore characterisation and sorting technology is seeing improvements in both the ore from waste recovery and ore dilution at Copper Mountain Mining Corp’s namesake mine in British Columbia, Canada.

Having deployed the company’s ShovelSense solution on two shovels and a wheel loader in 2020, Copper Mountain now has plans to install ShovelSense on the two remaining shovels in 2021, along with the first trial installation of BeltSense to explore additional innovation concepts, Don Strickland, Chief Operating Officer at Copper Mountain Mining Corp, said.

Jeff More, President and CEO of MineSense Technologies, said: “Copper Mountain has been a fantastic partner to work with, initially to support us in our scale-up on hydraulic shovels, and then with rapid commercial deployment once the design was stabilised.

“We are thrilled that they installed three of our ShovelSense Systems in the space of five months in 2020 and will complete installation of their entire shovel fleet in 2021.”

The MineSense hardware and software went through a two-year evaluation process at Copper Mountain prior to the solution going commercial, Copper Mountain stated in a recent technical report.

The 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.

BeltSense, meanwhile, is used on conveyance at different points of the mine operation. It can be used sequentially and in conjunction with ShovelSense to maximise the ore concentrating impact, taking a first cut at the haul point and second further downstream, MineSense says.

Both systems leverage X-ray Fluorescence sensors to carry out the sorting process.

MineSense senses further mining commercialisation opportunities in 2021

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”.

Hitachi CM looks for access to resource industry start-ups with Chrysalix fund investment

Chrysalix Venture Capital, a global venture capital fund with a history of commercialising innovation for resource intensive industries, has announced Hitachi Construction Machinery Co Ltd has invested in the Chrysalix RoboValley Fund.

Hitachi Construction Machinery, a leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, joins a cluster of mining and metals players such as South32, Severstal and Mitsubishi Corp in the fund, and “will leverage Chrysalix’s extensive network in the mining field to strengthen open innovation by connecting with start-ups that possess the latest technologies for mining in areas such as robotic systems, IoT, AI and data analytics”, the company said.

“Chrysalix has made step-change innovations in the metals and mining, manufacturing and machinery industries, through digital solutions and advanced robotics technologies, a major theme of our fund, and we are delighted to welcome Hitachi Construction Machinery to the Chrysalix RoboValley Fund,” Alicia Lenis, Vice President at Chrysalix Venture Capital, said.

Just some of the companies included in Chrysalix’s portfolio include Novamera, which is developing its Sustainable Mining by Drilling technology for narrow-vein mines; and MineSense Technologies, a Vancouver-based start-up developing real-time, sensor-based ore data and sorting solutions for large-scale mines.

Naoyoshi Yamada, Chief Strategy Officer at Hitachi Construction Machinery, said: “We identified Chrysalix as having a valuable network of start-ups in its global innovation ecosystem, and a unique window on innovation opportunities in the mining industry.

“With the trends toward digitalisation, the autonomous operation and electrification of mining machinery, as well as the growing need for solutions to streamline and optimise not only mining machinery but also overall mining operations, many start-ups offer novel technologies and services, and our investment in the Chrysalix RoboValley Fund will enable Hitachi Construction Machinery to tap into these new breakthroughs.”

The Chrysalix RoboValley Fund, Chrysalix says, seeks to achieve significant returns for its investors by enabling resource intensive industries, including energy, mining, construction, infrastructure and mobility, to tap into innovation from high growth start-ups.

MineSense welcomes ABB unit to register in latest equity financing

Caterpillar, Mitsubishi Corp and ABB Technology Ventures have bought into MineSense Technologies’ real-time, sensor-based ore data and sorting solutions for large-scale mines in its latest equity raising.

The $18 million oversubscribed financing will be used to help commercialise the company’s digital offering and expand into key mining regions worldwide, MineSense said.

MineSense calls itself a pioneer in Industrial Internet of Things solutions, with its fast, scalable, and robust mineral sensing platform creating “transformational value by providing precise, accurate, real-time grade control and ore routing decisions at the point of extraction for maximum resource conversion and metal recovery”.

This technology can also reduce CO2 emissions and the consumption of wear materials, energy, water and reagents during the whole mining process, according to the company.

This is the second time Cat has invested in MineSense, with Cat’s Director of Mining Technology, Jim Hawkins, saying such technology could have a significant impact on the bottom line for mining companies.

“We are very pleased with the progress MineSense has made in the last 18 months to introduce its innovative technology and are excited to support the company into the next stage,” he said.

Mitsubishi Corp has provided support to MineSense since its late 2017 $4 million debt investment, converted to equity in this round, while this is a first investment for ABB’s strategic venture capital unit.

Brandon Spencer, Managing Director of Business Unit Process Industries at ABB, said the company was excited by the direct impact the MineSense technology may provide to its customers.

The financing also included existing investors Aurus Ventures, Chrysalix Venture Capital and Cycle Capital.

The British Columbia-based company says its system is the only one that can work with run-of-mine at “commercially relevant throughput”.

The MineSense ShovelSense™ system is designed for extreme environment conditions and to be easily retrofittable on any existing mobile equipment. The system comes equipped with a human machine interface that provides the operator with full information, including the ore type, within each dig cycle. It can also connect directly to fleet management or other existing control software systems.

The main application of ShovelSense is at the open-pit dig face or underground hauling point. It is equally effective working in stockpiles and in blending where mobile equipment is used, MineSense says.

Teck partnered with MineSense for the first full scale trial of the bucket-mounted ShovelSense technology in 2017 at its Highland Valley Copper Operations in British Columbia. The sensors are now in use on one shovel, and additional shovels could be considered for later in 2018.

MineSense’s BeltSense™ system can be operated in bulk, semi-bulk or particle sorting mode. Its typical use is post primary crushing prior to the mill, but it also has mill applications such as in the pebble circuit. BeltSense is also highly effective in blending operations, according to the company.

BeltSense can be used sequentially and in conjunction with ShovelSense to maximise the ore concentrating impact, taking a first cut at the haul point and second further downstream.

In addition to this recent financing, MineSense closed a $19 million equity deal in February 2017.