Tag Archives: MIRARCO

vSMRs could solve decarbonisation challenges at Canada’s remote northern mines: study

Very small modular reactors (vSMRs) could provide clean, economic and reliable power and heat to remote northern mines and surrounding communities in Canada, according to a recent study completed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), and Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation, and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO).

The feasibility study, looking into vSMRs ability to reduce or eliminate reliance on diesel, found that the most economical energy mix was for vSMRs to provide 90% of the baseload power required for mining operations and associated uses, with only peak demand periods managed through use of diesel generation, reducing emissions by 85%. Emissions could be lowered further by adding other renewables to the mix, decreasing the diesel component, at a slightly increased cost, it said.

SMRs are defined as producing up to 300 MW of power, while vSMRs produce up to 10 MW of power per module. These small modular reactors are more flexible than conventional reactors, better enabling them to work within a diverse energy grid alongside intermittent technologies such as solar or wind, according to the study partners. They can also be used for applications like process heat or hydrogen production, which help enable further industrial sector decarbonisation.

The technology is seen to have potential applications in Canada’s mining sector, where there are 10 off-grid operating mines. Most of these are served by diesel generators, which offer reliable, fast-acting, easy-to-vary output but are GHG-emitting.

Advantages of a vSMR, producing less than 10 MW, include:

  • Their small size, making them easier to transport and install in remote communities, and scalable to meet changing needs;
  • Their ability to safely, reliably produce power;
  • Long operating life without the need for an onsite inventory of fuel; and
  • Short installation period due to their modular construction and factory fabrication.

Global First Power, a joint venture between OPG and USNC-Power, is the most advanced vSMR project in Canada, according to the study. The project recently received Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission approval to begin a technical review. Subject to federal government financial support, the next step in the process is to construct a demonstration vSMR at CNL’s Chalk River campus.

This demonstration project will serve as a model for future SMR deployments, as called for in Canada’s SMR Roadmap and Action Plan, by producing competitively priced clean energy ideally sized for remote communities and heavy industry such as mining and resource projects.

Robin Manley, Vice President of New Nuclear Development at OPG, said: “Nuclear power and SMRs play an enormous and critical role in meeting Canada’s climate change goals. This study demonstrates that not only can a vSMR dramatically reduce emissions in an industry that currently relies heavily on diesel, but it can do it in a cost-effective way.”

François Caron, Director of the Energy Center and Bruce Power Chair for Sustainable Energy Solutions, MIRARCO, Mining Innovation, added: “This study paves the way for the future of mining: not only does it show that vSMRs could provide a cost-effective and reliable energy source, it demonstrates that vSMRs are a long-term solution that can help diversify and intensify a mining operation while also providing a surplus that will benefit communities in the area.”

(Pictured is a cross section of the USNC-Power Micro Modular Reactor™ (MMR™) unit (CNW Group/Ontario Power Generation Inc))

RPMGlobal acquires ‘cutting-edge financial mine scheduling optimisation solution’

RPMGlobal has added mine scheduling optimisation capability to its expanding mining software remit with the acquisition of Canada-headquartered Revolution Mining Software.

Privately-owned Revolution Mining Software develops and sells its flagship Schedule Optimisation Tool (SOT™), a “cutting-edge financial mine scheduling optimisation solution”, RPMGlobal said.

SOT is the industry’s only strategic financial optimisation tool for underground mines that enables mine planners to improve productivity and profitability by optimising the net present value (NPV) of the mine schedule, according to RPMGlobal.

SOT emerged out of research undertaken by Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO), a not-for-profit corporation of Laurentian University, in Canada, well known for solving complicated mining industry problems through innovative thinking.

“This scheduling program adds value to mining operations in several ways, including by generating life-of-mine schedules that adhere to all specified precedence and operational constraints, optimising NPV based on the user’s financial model,” RPMGlobal said.

RPMGlobal CEO and Managing Director, Richard Mathews, said RPMGlobal will invest in Revolution Mining’s scheduling optimisation tools to deliver even more innovative solutions that add real value for its customers.

“RPMGlobal was born from the belief that mine planning needs to be built on sound economics and the Revolution Mining products strategy is completely aligned with that core value,” he said.

Lorrie Fava, Revolution Mining’s President, said: “The entire Revolution Mining team is so passionate about the solutions we are delivering to the industry, so it was important to us that RPMGlobal also shared our vision and passion, which they clearly do.

“To be able to be a part of a company with RPMGlobal’s pedigree and history is a very exciting prospect for the team at Revolution Mining. We look forward to joining the RPMGlobal team and are convinced that the Revolution Mining Software product suite will benefit from increased investment and the sales and marketing support that RPMGlobal can offer these products right around the world.”

As part of the acquisition, RPMGlobal has also acquired Revolution Mining Software’s Attain™ and SurfaceSOT™ software solutions.

Attain is a software solution that, RPMGlobal says, ensures operational mine planning is systematically aligned with the long-range plan. “This approach ensures the company has optimised short-range schedules that are feasible and aligned with the long-range schedule,” it explained.

SurfaceSOT is a solution that will work for all types of mining operations to maximise their NPV by optimising their long-range schedules, including management of stockpiles and product blending while minimising the re-handling of materials, the company added.

“The acquisition of the SOT, Attain and SurfaceSOT solutions extend the strategic capability of RPMGlobal’s scheduling solutions,” RPMGlobal said. “RPMGlobal’s sophisticated mathematical modelling tools for short and mid-range planning amplify the benefits its customers receive from these optimisation and schedule alignment tools.”

Following completion of the transaction, all of Revolution Mining Software’s employees and management will move across into the RPMGlobal business, the company added.

Canada government backs mine rehabilitation plan

The Government of Canada has invested C$184,000 ($138,978) in a climate change project that, the government says, lays the groundwork for the rehabilitation of the country’s abandoned and orphaned mines.

This project, led by the Mining Innovation Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation, will develop a comprehensive approach for evaluating rehabilitation plans for abandoned mines through a review of 15-20 sites in Ontario and the Northwest Territories, including an in-depth review of three sites, the government said.

“The ultimate goal of this project is to ensure that rehabilitation plans for today’s abandoned mines will address the climate change risks of tomorrow, while protecting the health and safety of Canadians as we enhance our stewardship of the land around us,” the government said.

Paul Lefebvre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced the investment: “Our government is supporting projects that help us expand our understanding of the impacts of climate change,” he said. “With this knowledge, we can help ensure today’s plans for abandoned and orphaned mine rehabilitation will reduce the climate-change risks of tomorrow.”

Today’s announcement supports the objectives of the Adaptation and Resilience pillar of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change by turning scientific information and traditional knowledge into action, the government said. It is funded through Natural Resources Canada’s Climate Change Adaptation Program.