Tag Archives: NORCAT

HARD-LINE expands into new NORCAT underground facility

A long-time partner of NORCAT, HARD-LINE says it is evolving its remote-control systems in a new space at NORCAT’s surface facility at the former Fecunis mine site in Onaping, Ontario.

HARD-LINE, a global technology company specialising in remote and tele-remote-control solutions, uses drift space at NORCAT’s underground site.

Inside HARD-LINE’s new office is a TeleOp control station that allows the tele-remote operation of heavy machinery and, in this case, an underground LHD at the test site.

“This new space is a welcomed addition to an already impressive site,” HARD-LINE’s Senior VP of Technology, Ryan Siggelkow, says. “The bigger space will allow for more people to meet in our office and ultimately let us test products in a more efficient manner, including new tech like our TeleOp Assist.”

The Assist system is new to market and equips the TeleOp base system with intelligent steering assistance and collision detection to keep LHDs off walls. It also increases tramming speeds, and no pre-scan of the drift is required, according to HARD-LINE.

HARD-LINE’s Supervisor of Technology Implementation, Jim Doyle, is often at the new facility and underground site testing different types of mining equipment. Doyle credits the NORCAT partnership in advancing HARD-LINE’s technology.

“Our relationship with NORCAT is really beneficial,” he said. “We’ve seen growth and improvements in our products over the years because of it.”

The partnership dates back to 2012 when HARD-LINE helped formulate the Underground Centre’s strategy and customer value proposition.

NORCAT CEO, Don Duval, said: “We are excited to build on our existing relationship and support HARD-LINE as they expand into our new surface facilities at the NORCAT Underground Centre. With HARD-LINE’s TeleOp control station, we have seen operators given the ability to control underground heavy machinery from the safety of an office at the Underground Centre. This technology is not only enhancing productivity and safety but also it is transforming the definition of work in the global mining industry.”

Just last month, NSS Canada announced a new partnership with NORCAT and the addition of a new NSS Canada office in the NORCAT Underground Centre.

FedNor pledges funds for NORCAT’s surface facility, technology hub

FedNor, the Government of Canada’s economic development organisation for Northern Ontario, has pledged C$519,000 ($393,468) of investment to help the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (NORCAT) continue to deliver its services to local entrepreneurs as well as implement an important new technology development project.

As part of this total, C$429,000 was provided through FedNor’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund to assist NORCAT in bridging the financial gap caused by COVID-19. Specifically, the funding is helping to keep the organisation’s staff working and construction on track for the innovation centre’s state-of-the-art surface facility at its Underground Testing Centre, in Greater Sudbury.

The remaining C$90,000 will help NORCAT establish a technology hub to accelerate software, gaming, and app development in Greater Sudbury, FedNor said. Once fully operational, the new incubation space will help local tech entrepreneurs start-up, scale-up and access new markets.

Back in July 2019, FedNor agreed to invest C$1.4 million in the surface facility.

“Innovation centres are important hubs of technology, research and subject-matter expertise where knowledge is shared, and ideas and concepts can transform into viable business ventures,” FedNor said. “As our economy recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, the Government of Canada is working hard to ensure Northern Ontario innovation centres and the entrepreneurs they support, are well positioned to take part in our nation’s economic recovery.”

Don Duval, CEO, NORCAT, said: “NORCAT is proud to partner with the Government of Canada, through FedNor, to ensure technology, innovation and skills training can continue to thrive in the region.

“As Northern Ontario’s largest innovation centre, we are thankful that the investment from the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund will allow us to maintain our operations, keep our community members working and allow us to continue building on our strategic initiatives to accelerate the growth of innovative companies that will drive future economic and social prosperity for Canada.”

Vale partners with NORCAT for mining innovation challenge

NORCAT and Vale have teamed up to launch the NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge to, they say, facilitate and enhance Vale’s capabilities to bring new, state-of-the-art technologies into its mining operations and accelerate the rate of technology adoption in the global mining industry.

As current global events disrupt regular business operations and the global mining industry continues to undergo a digital transformation, mining companies around the world are looking to become more agile and resilient by embracing digitalisation and investing in technologies related to safety, sustainability and operational efficiency.

The NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is looking to identify technology-enabled solutions to three common problem areas identified by Vale. Specifically, the NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is focusing on the issues of smelter acid management, underground operator alertness and excessive water and run of material in underground mines.

“As the global ‘one-stop-shop’ for all that is the future of mining technology, our goal is to facilitate and encourage innovative and disruptive thinking within the mining technology ecosystem,” Don Duval, NORCAT CEO, says. “As the mining industry continues to transform, it requires new levels of openness, innovation and collaboration. Challenge-based initiatives have proven to be effective in uncovering new ideas and different points of view, and we are excited to partner with Vale to further the acceleration, adoption and deployment of emerging technologies that are poised to transform the global mining industry.”

The NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is open to innovative start-ups, entrepreneurs and problem solvers from across Canada. Successful applications must have the capacity and confidence to develop and deploy a proof-of-concept inside one of Vale’s operations in Sudbury, Ontario, by March 2021. As part of the process, Vale will provide technical oversight and feedback to winning entries over a four-month period to prepare for product development and testing prior to completion.

Anthony Downs, Manager of Digital and Information Technology for Vale’s Base Metal Operations, said: “At Vale, we are obsessed with safety and risk mitigation. Open innovation is a key enabler that allows us to rapidly identify and trial novel risk management solutions. When they prove effective, we move them to implementation within our operations at an accelerated pace.

“Vale is pleased to partner with NORCAT on this challenge and looks forward to reviewing the innovative solutions the challenge inspires.”

As part of its mandate, NORCAT continues to identify and engage with mining technology companies from around the world to support the development and adoption of innovative technologies poised to transform the global mining industry.

This is not the first time NORCAT and Vale have teamed up. Earlier this year, the two announced plans to develop and deploy an innovative blended learning program that, they said, would transform how the global mining industry trains and educates its workforce.

Ontario Government backs NORCAT above-ground expansion

The Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (NORCAT) is to receive more than C$1.1 million ($833,117) from the Ontario Government to upgrade underground infrastructure and construct a permanent, above-ground building at its NORCAT Underground Centre.

The announcement was made yesterday by Vic Fedeli (pictured), Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, on behalf of Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, when visiting the facility in the province.

This latest pledge brings Ontario’s investment in the project to more than $1.65 million, according to the government. It comes on top of the C$1.4 million FedNor agreed to invest in the new 12,000 sq.ft (1,115 sq.m) above-ground facility and underground upgrade. The City of Greater Sudbury has also agreed to invest C$300,000 in the project, according to NORCAT.

The NORCAT Underground Centre, in Onaping, Ontario, enables companies of all sizes to develop, test and showcase innovative and emerging technologies in an operating mine environment. It also serves as a hands-on training and skills development centre, ensuring mine workers are up-to-date on the most modern equipment and processes.

The above-ground structure will provide office, meeting and workshop space, which is key to attracting and retaining international mining companies who will use the services or expand their operations at the centre, the government said. Upgrading underground infrastructure will provide companies with access to cutting-edge technology and create new training and education opportunities.

“With our government’s support, we are making it possible for mining companies to develop new technologies, invest and create good jobs in the North,” Minister Fedeli said. “We are keen to show the world that Ontario and its mining sector are open for business and open for jobs – and that also means being open for research and training.”

Canada Government backs plans for new NORCAT surface facility

The Government of Canada, through FedNor, has agreed to invest C$1.4 million ($1.07 million) in a new “state-of-the art surface facility” at NORCAT’s Underground Centre in northern Ontario.

The government said this facility will provide innovative mining businesses and entrepreneurs in northern Ontario with “a new space to share ideas, build partnerships, conduct research, and bring new technologies to market”.

NORCAT’s Underground Centre already provides companies with a place to innovate and enhance the productivity, safety and competitiveness of the mining industry. The company, earlier this year, announced plans to expand the centre in response to the forecasted demand of the global innovation ecosystem.

This new facility will further bolster its industry offering.

“The new 12,000 sq.ft (1,115 sq.m) facility will be used by innovative mining technology companies to develop, test and demonstrate innovative and emerging technologies in an operating mine environment,” the government said. “It will offer shared spaces, offices, meeting rooms, on-site personal protective equipment, first aid rooms, workshop, lunch room, changing rooms, showers and personal storage amenities.”

The announcement was made today by Paul Lefebvre, Member of Parliament for Sudbury, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for FedNor.

Lefebvre said: “Supporting Canadian innovation is a key priority of our government, which is why we made it a pillar of our Innovation and Skills Plan and Prosperity and Growth Strategy for northern Ontario. This strategic investment in NORCAT will help shape the future of innovation and technology in the mining industry, and further strengthen Canada’s reputation as a global leader in mining.”

Don Duval, CEO of NORCAT (pictured), said: “A longstanding supporter and partner, the Government of Canada continues to recognize the value of NORCAT and the work we do to spur innovation, support skills training and help businesses develop and adopt new technologies and processes.

“As northern Ontario’s largest innovation centre, we are thrilled to add this new above-ground facility to our Underground Centre that will help cement our reputation as a global destination for mining research and innovation.”

NORCAT is focused on developing and providing world-class programs, services, and resources to reduce injuries, save lives, and enhance productivity in the mining industry and beyond, the government said. In addition, it is the only non-profit regional innovation centre in the world that has an operating mine designed to enable start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, and international companies to develop, test, and showcase new and innovative technologies in an operating mine environment.

The Electric Mine charges on to Sweden

Following the success of the inaugural Electric Mine event in Toronto, Canada, in April, International Mining Events has wasted no time in confirming the 2020 follow up; this time in Stockholm, Sweden.

Taking place at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel on March 19-20, 2020, The Electric Mine 2020 will be even bigger, featuring new case studies from miners implementing electrification projects and presentations from the key OEMs and service suppliers shaping these solutions.

A leading hub in Europe for mining equipment and innovation, Sweden was the obvious choice for the 2020 edition of the event. Miners including Boliden and LKAB have already made electric moves above and below ground, and the north of the country is set to host Europe’s first home-grown gigafactory, the Northvolt Ett lithium-ion battery cell facility.

Sweden and Finland also play host to Europe’s major mining OEMs such as Epiroc, Sandvik, Metso and Outotec (soon to possibly be Metso Outotec Corp), and the Nordic region has a rich mining innovation legacy.

Capacity crowd

The announcement of the 2020 Electric Mine edition comes hot on the heels of a hugely successful debut in Toronto.

With the Radisson Admiral, on Toronto Harbourfront, filled out to capacity, the circa-150 attendees were treated to more than 20 world-class papers from miners Vale, Goldcorp (now Newmont Goldcorp), Kirkland Lake Gold, Boliden and Nouveau Monde Graphite; OEMs Epiroc, Sandvik, Caterpillar, Volvo CE and BELAZ; and equipment and service specialists Siemens, ABB, GE Transportation (a Wabtec company). Presentations from Doug Morrison (CEMI), Marcus Thomson (Norcat), David Sanguinetti (Global Mining Guidelines Group), Erik Isokangas (Mining3) and Ali Madiseh (University of British Columbia), meanwhile, provided the R&D angle delegates were after.

The event was a truly global affair, attracting delegates and exhibitors from Africa, Australasia, Europe, North America and South America, all eager to hear about developments across the sector.

Bigger and better

International Mining Events is upping the ante for 2020, increasing the event capacity to 200 delegates and making plans for a possible site visit to witness electric equipment in action.

Talks from several miners, as well as global international companies, will again underpin the 1.5-day conference program, which will also expand to cover the use of renewable/alternative energy within the field.

There will, again, be opportunities for sponsorship and exhibiting, with several companies already in discussions about booking the prime opportunities for the event.

If you would like to know more about The Electric Mine 2020, please feel free to contact Editorial Director, Paul Moore ([email protected]) or Editor, Dan Gleeson ([email protected]).

In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you in Stockholm!

NORCAT readies Underground Centre for expansion

NORCAT has announced plans for the growth and expansion of its Underground Centre.

The planned expansion will enable NORCAT to respond to the forecasted demand of the global innovation ecosystem and demonstrates NORCAT’s commitment to continuing its position as the world’s ‘one-stop shop’ for all that is the future of mining technology and innovation, the company said.

NORCAT owns and operates an underground mine (the Underground Centre) in Sudbury, Canada, focused on the development, testing, and demonstration of innovative technologies in an operating mine environment.

Don Duval, NORCAT CEO, said: “Over the last three years, we have seen significant growth in NORCAT’s portfolio of mining technology companies using our state-of-the-art operating mine as an ‘active laboratory’, creating an ecosystem like no other in the world. By expanding the NORCAT Underground Centre, we continue our proud role anchoring one of the world’s leading mining technology and innovation clusters, while concurrently supporting the commercialisation and adoption of leading-edge technologies that will make the global mining industry safer, more efficient, and more productive.”

To coincide with investments into the NORCAT Underground Centre, NORCAT has also developed an array of training, technology, and innovative service offerings to meet the growing and diverse skilled labour training and development needs of global mining and mining technology companies focused on competitiveness, shareholder and stakeholder value, productivity and health and safety, the company said.

Jason Bubba, NORCAT’s Director of Training and Development, said: “The global mining industry has continued to build momentum and prepare for a remarkable transformation, and the continued investment in and deployment of new technologies are redefining what it means to have a career in mining.

“By continuing to develop state of the art technologies for a ‘new world of training’ for a ‘new world of work’, NORCAT remains at the forefront of innovation as a market leader in skilled labour training and development for the global mining industry.”

NORCAT is debuting new learning technologies at the NORCAT experiential booth in the Northern Ontario Pavilion at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada annual event, currently taking place in Toronto, Canada. The live demonstration will include the latest in mine skills training including augmented reality, virtual reality, interactive multiplayer avatar-based training, incident re-creation and digital safety systems, according to the company.

NORCAT and Glencore launch technology innovation programme

NORCAT and Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations have launched a technology and innovation programme to facilitate and enhance the mining company’s capabilities to bring new, state-of-the-art technologies into its operations and accelerate the rate of technology adoption across the industry, NORCAT has reported.

NORCAT, which calls itself a global leader in the development and provision of skilled labour training and innovation services, is the only innovation centre in the world that owns and operates an underground mine designed to “enable start-ups, small/medium enterprises, and international companies to develop, test, and demonstrate innovative technologies in an operating mine environment”, it says.

This facility has seen NORCAT become a global destination for mining companies to “see and touch” emerging technologies poised to transform the industry, it said.

Kevin McAuley, Director Sustainability, Technical Services and Innovation at Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations, said: “We are excited to partner with NORCAT to implement this technology and innovation programme. This partnership not only provides us a unique opportunity to access a wide range of emerging technologies that will help us deliver on our broader business strategy, but also it continues to support the vibrant mining technology ecosystem at the NORCAT Underground Centre.”

Don Duval, NORCAT’s CEO, said the company was working hard to continue its leading role in “all that is the future of mining”.

“NORCAT’s portfolio of mining technology companies using our state-of-the-art operating mine as an ‘active laboratory’ has created an ecosystem like no other in the world,” he added. “We are excited to partner with Glencore and continue to build and support Canada’s global reputation as a market leader in the mining industry.”

NORCAT says it will continue to identify and engage with mining technology companies from around the world to support the implementation and demonstration of their products at the Underground Centre. “By doing so, NORCAT helps to connect and broker relationships between mining technology companies (the ‘builders of innovation’) and global mining companies (the ‘buyers’ of innovation), creating a vibrant tech ecosystem unique on the global stage.”

NORCAT’s Don Duval will be presenting a paper titled, The NORCAT Underground Centre – the world’s one-stop shop for the future of mining technology, at The Electric Mine conference in Toronto, on April 4-5, 2019. For more information on the event, please click here.

The Electric Mine logo

The Electric Mine conference shifts gear

With just under four months to go, The Electric Mine conference is charging up to full capacity.

IM has been able to assemble a world-class speaker line-up covering the entire mine electrification process – from R&D and power infrastructure, to battery charging and electrified equipment.

The conference, to take place on April 4-5, 2019, in Toronto, Canada, will host the great and the good in this fast-evolving sector and hear case studies from real mine trials or applications.

This includes a presentation from Kirkland Lake Gold, which is currently running one of the largest in-production underground battery-electric fleets in the industry at its Macassa gold mine in Canada.

Just last month, IM heard that some 33 units were active underground at the deep and high-grade mine in Ontario and Andrew Schinkel, Senior Electrical Engineer of the Macassa Mine Complex, will most likely be able to add to that number, as well as comment on the fleet’s productivity, come conference time.

The soon-to-be-in-production Borden gold project, also in Ontario, will be under the spotlight at the event, with the involved OEMs and mining company collaborating on stage as they have during mine development.

Maarten van Koppen (pictured, left), Senior Project Engineer at Goldcorp Porcupine Mines, Jeff Anderson, Senior Mechanical Designer, MacLean Engineering, and a Sandvik Mining co-speaker (to be confirmed), will present: ‘The Borden Gold Project – lessons learned from the ‘mine of the future’ and the crucial role of partnerships in building an all-electric underground mine’.

The major mining representation does not end there.

Samantha Espley, Director of the Technology & Innovation Centre for Mining and Mineral Processing, Vale Base Metals Operations, will chart the mining company’s roadmap to underground electrification in Sudbury during her talk; expect the OEMs in the room to ask questions about the future fleet for the Creighton deep zone!

Caterpillar’s Product Manager for Underground Technology Solutions, Jay Armburger, is also set to take to the stage at the Radisson Admiral. The focus of his talk will be on heat generation, comparing battery and diesel LHDs underground. A few passing references to the proof of concept R1300G LHD trials it ran not all that long ago at an underground mine in Sudbury, Canada (pictured, right), are likely.

We’ll also hear about developments above ground.

A joint presentation from Karl Trudeau (Nouveau Monde Graphite), Michel Serres (ABB Canada) and David Lyon (MEDATECH) will shed some light on what it will take to create an all-electric open-pit mine able to produce 100,000 t of graphite concentrate at NMG’s Matawinie project in Quebec, Canada.

Those three speakers could be in the front row for Per-Erik Lindström’s talk on The Electric Site project in Sweden.

Lindström, Vice President Global Key Account Management for Volvo Construction Equipment, has seen first hand how battery-electric equipment can move the needle in terms of cost and emissions at the Skanska Vikan Cross quarry, just outside of Gothenburg, and there are more than a few miners interested in the prototype machines (pictured, left) the OEM has manufactured for this purpose.

These presentations will be complemented by a talk from Heather Ednie, Managing Director, Global Mining Guidelines Group, on the second edition of the group’s Battery Electric Vehicle guideline; an opening keynote from Ali G. Madiseh, Canada Research Chair in Advanced Mine Energy Systems, Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia, titled: ‘The Electric Mine: a new norm in mine energy systems’; Erik Isokangas, Program Director, Mining3, discussing the value proposition for autonomous electric haulage; and Doug Morrison, President and CEO, Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), looking at electrification to maximise productive capacity.

Meanwhile, Justin Bain, Chief Executive Officer, Energetique (Energy/Mobility), will fly in from Australia to pronounce the death of diesel Down Under – his firm has recently been involved in the conversion of diesel utility vehicles to battery-electric drive.

Along similar lines, Paul Miller, of Miller Technology, will talk about what goes into developing an innovative fully-electric light utility automobile, designed for continuous underground operation.

IM then has two behemoths in the mine power sector, Siemens and Schneider Electric, looking at the all-important infrastructure that goes into electrification.

Dr Bappa Banerjee, General Manager, Mining Equipment, GE Transportation, will look at the electric future for load and haul in his keynote, Mathieu Bouffard, Project Manager, Adria Manufacture, will cover battery charging and power management of battery-electric vehicles, and Don Duval, CEO of NORCAT, will showcase some of the new technologies that have come out of the organisation’s Underground Centre in Sudbury.

This speaker line-up is only set to improve as we move into the New Year, with IM in advanced discussions with more OEMs and miners looking to present.

The first global event on mine electrification continues to charge ahead…

If you’d like to hear more about The Electric Mine conference – including presenting and sponsorship opportunities – please feel free to get in contact with Editorial Director Paul Moore ([email protected]) or Editor Dan Gleeson ([email protected]).

To view the full speaker line-up, venue details and to take advantage of the soon-to-expire Early Bird attendance rate, please visit the event homepage here.