Tag Archives: Peter Corcoran

Sandvik Canada to inspire mining customers to go ‘green’

Sandvik will transition to a more agile footprint in Ontario, Canada, to, it says, better serve customers throughout the province and reduce its carbon footprint.

The OEM plans for a “greener, more agile future” for its organisation in Canada and will begin the process of this transition in Ontario before the end of the year.

The company’s vision of its future operations in Canada is as an organisation that is flexible and can respond to customer requirements, wherever they may be, while minimising harm to the environment they operate in.

“This transition will not happen over night, but it begins with a few key changes that will support some more immediate needs of our customers and will jump start our sustainability initiatives,” Peter Corcoran, Vice President of Sandvik Canada, said.

Sandvik’s climate action plan includes offering customers carbon reduction pathways through battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technology, and reducing the carbon footprint from Sandvik’s own operations, and the company will take specific actions in Canada to address these goals.

“BEVs are a large part of Sandvik Canada’s sustainability plans,” Corcoran says. “We envision ourselves as an enabler of zero emissions-mining through our battery-electric offerings.”

In order to enable the industry’s transition to cleaner technology, investment is required in education to expand the industry’s capacity to maintain BEVs. These machines require a “unique technical skillset” to support as they have fewer mechanical components and more electrical components, Sandvik says. To support the transition to this cleaner technology, Sandvik has partnered with Northern College to develop a BEV technician education program and build a new generation of service specialists to support the industry in mining.

“This program is really a win-win for a cleaner industry and our communities,” Corcoran explains. “Servicing these machines requires specialised knowledge of both mechanical and electrical systems. We are investing in educating this next generation of service specialists because we forecast an increase in demand for technicians in this field in the future. We also want to invest in the local talent pool as the benefits of hiring locally and developing sustainable capacity in the community cannot be understated. This partnership addresses both of those areas.”

On top of this, physical footprints will be re-evaluated in Ontario throughout 2021, with a focus on the corporate head office in Mississauga, to improve energy consumption at Sandvik’s facilities. The company says it has already taken preliminary measures to improve energy consumption at its facilities such as switching to LED lightbulbs, and it will take more impactful measures in the coming months and years.

One such action is to consolidate its Kirkland Lake and Lively operations to leverage the established infrastructure in Lively and transition its Kirkland Lake resources into agile field service agents that are ideally situated to support the needs of BEV customers, it said.

The company anticipates this action will lead to an improvement in energy consumption and that the increased support in BEV field service will encourage more customers to consider a low-emissions solution like battery technology.

Sandvik and Northern College to help train BEV service technicians of the future

Sandvik and Ontario’s Northern College have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to, they say, work collaboratively to enhance existing battery technician training modules, and develop a new program to educate service technicians and support the growing requirement for specialised battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technicians in the mining industry.

The Northern College Battery Electric Vehicle Technician training program for service technicians should prepare them for employment in this field.

BEVs are increasing in popularity in the Canadian mining industry due to the improvements they offer in operating environments, maintenance costs, efficiency and productivity, yet specialised BEV technicians are required to support the growing fleet of BEVs in Canada.

“It’s important to be aware of the fact that the technology powering battery-electric vehicles is considerably different than that of diesel machines,” Dr Audrey J Penner, President and CEO of Northern College, said of the new technology.

“Servicing and maintaining these fleets requires a different skillset than what is required for a diesel-powered fleet because BEVs have fewer mechanical components and more electrical components. For that reason, the Canadian mining industry requires a new generation of service technicians who are trained in servicing electrically-powered machinery and Northern College is responding to that call for talent and training.”

Northern College and the Haileybury School of Mines will develop a program with Sandvik and their partners to educate participants in BEV technology. Sandvik will serve as a subject matter expert on the topic of BEVs in a mining application to ensure program graduates are educated in areas relevant for the mining industry.

Peter Corcoran, Vice President Canada, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “This program is really a win-win for a cleaner industry while also supporting resource development in the communities close to the mines using BEV technology.

“We are investing in educating this next generation of service specialists because we forecast an increase in demand for technicians in the BEV field as more operations transition to zero-emissions equipment. We also want to invest in the local talent pool as the benefits of hiring locally and developing sustainable capacity in the community cannot be understated. This partnership addresses both of those areas.”

One industry proponent of BEVs in mining is Kirkland Lake Gold, which has deployed many battery-powered units at its Macassa gold mine in Ontario.

“Using BEVs at our Macassa Mine benefits us in a number of ways, including significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving working conditions and reducing capital requirements for ventilation,” Evan Pelletier, Kirkland Lake Gold’s Vice President of Mining, said.

Pelletier explains that Kirkland Lake Gold was among the first to bring electrification to the mining industry and the company has seen significant improvements in BEV technology in a relatively short timeframe.

Based on Kirkland Lake’s experience, Pelletier believes the participation of both original equipment manufacturer and mining companies in the development of a technician training program will be an important contributor to the program’s success.

“Working with colleges will help Kirkland Lake Gold further develop our technicians in this field,” Pelletier explains. “The program will not only develop new technicians, it will help to establish BEV standards in the industry that will lead the way for future advancements.”

Sandvik partners with Arctic distribution expert Northern Networks Ltd

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has made Northern Networks Ltd its new distribution partner for equipment and aftermarket solutions in Nunavut, Canada.

Northern Networks Ltd is an Arviat, Nunavut-based, majority Inuit-owned distributor with operations in Rankin Inlet, and specialises in contracting, procurement, and strategic partnerships. The company is a part of the Eskimo Point Lumber Supply group of companies, which was named one of Canada’s 500 fastest growing companies in 2018.

Northern Networks has been operating and generating employment opportunities in its community since 1993 and obtained its official certification of Inuit firm status in 1995.

Peter Corcoran, Managing Director of Sandvik Canada Inc, started thinking about potential distribution channels in Canada’s north as soon as it became clear major miners like Agnico Eagle Mines (Meliadine and Amaruq mines) would not be deterred by challenges presented by a northern environment when developing their arctic mines.

“Our customers are our partners,” Corcoran says, “and they are building these new mines in the north.”

The northern environment brings unique challenges to providing support to customers like monitoring the springtime ice melt to schedule parts and equipment for barges, building ice roads and working with local communities’ resources, according to Sandvik.

In order to properly serve these customers Corcoran knew that, in the long run, Sandvik would need to leverage the expertise of an established and experienced local Inuit partner to efficiently bring Sandvik’s products to Nunavut’s mines.

“Sandvik believes for mining to prosper in Canada the communities that are impacted by these mining projects will need to be involved,” Corcoran explains, “and the mining companies need Indigenous groups in the region to be a part of their businesses long term. Recognising that, Sandvik has built this strategy to have a partner in these areas and we have been fortunate in finding Northern Networks Ltd in Nunavut.”

According to Derrick Webster, Chief Operating Officer of Eskimo Point Lumber Supply and Northern Networks Ltd, the company was built to serve Nunavut: “We are actually in the community, with local infrastructure, people, equipment, and when a mine needs something we are here.”

Becoming an authorised Sandvik distribution partner will allow Northern Networks Ltd to leverage its extensive knowledge of Canada’s north to support the growth of the mining industry and stimulate further economic development in their community, according to Sandvik.

For Ryan St John, President & Chief Executive Officer of Eskimo Point Lumber Supply and Northern Networks Ltd, it has always been about supporting his community and staying true to his values. The company is proud 60% of its 170 employees come from local Inuit communities.

“Sandvik is a really good fit for [Northern Networks Ltd] because our values align in terms of honesty and transparency,” St John says.

“We like aligning ourselves with companies that want to be the best, that is what we strive to do every day,” St John explains. “What appealed to us with Sandvik was that they are the best in their field in terms of technology, they are continually improving, advancing, creating that value for customers, and creating opportunities for the communities we serve.”

St John expects partnering with a technologically advanced company like Sandvik will have positive implications for Nunavut in the future, and that his community is ready to take advantage.

“As you automate [in mining] there is more opportunity for people in the community to be a part of that industry and gain employment thanks to new technology, a lot of younger people are so computer-savvy, and they are already working with their hands and equipment every day,” he said.

Corcoran is also excited to witness the changes mining – and Sandvik’s new distribution partnership – could bring to a community with such a large population of ambitious young people ready to enter the workforce.

“A company like Sandvik could bring opportunities to the community because of the reach we have with technology,” he explains. “We have to excite the young people! Technology excites them. People need to be aware that mining is an exciting industry and you can make a good living and get a good education.”

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s full suite of products including surface and underground drills, underground loaders and trucks, automation and digital solutions, rock tools, and parts is available through Northern Networks Ltd, effective November 1, 2019.