Tag Archives: Quebec

Dingo predictive maintenance solution cuts equipment downtime at Eldorado Lamaque

Dingo Software is helping Eldorado Gold’s Lamaque mine in Quebec, Canada, optimise maintenance and reliability practices through leveraging the company’s predictive and condition-based maintenance solutions.

The Lamaque mine faced the dual challenge of controlling capital costs and lowering all-in sustaining costs while also navigating the complexities of the global supply chain. With a current life of mine of 10 years, the mine sought to address some of these persistent challenges.

Lamaque decided to first focus on limited access to personnel with reliability skillsets, underutilisation of some of the existing digital platforms and its exposure to the global parts shortage. The team sought solutions to help control and reduce costs, extend the lifespan of major asset components and build world-class reliability expertise, Dingo says.

The site team, in collaboration with Dingo, identified opportunities to enhance equipment maintenance and reliability key performance indicators (KPIs). The chosen strategy aimed to reduce unplanned breakdowns, extend component life cycles, increase equipment availability and mitigate the impact of the global parts shortage.

Martin Pichette, Mine Operations and Maintenance Director at Lamaque Mine, said: “Partnering with Dingo allows us to leverage remotely-located condition intelligence experts from the get-go for a fraction of the normal cost to the company. This allows our few reliability experts to focus on the top issues and make important decisions to ensure our fleet availability is where it needs to be instead of having them analysing data and looking for the issues.”

Dingo also helped Lamaque acquire new sources of business intelligence with a fully documented and centralised asset health database plus integration with the ERP/CMMS, ensuring a complete maintenance and reliability context is available to support all maintenance decisions, it said.

Phase 1 of the Dingo solution involved consolidating oil sample data into a single platform for the first time at the mine. Within a short timeframe after the go-live, critical issues were identified and shared with the site team.

In the first week after go-live, the Dingo Condition Intelligence team observed a 2% fuel dilution, decreased viscosity, increased wear metal values and combustion by-products on a Caterpillar AD30 underground truck with a C15 engine with only 1,391 operating hours.

In response, the Dingo team assigned a ‘Priority 1’ action, providing work-stop level recommendations and provided site with a troubleshooting guide from their library, including recommendations to check the fuel injectors.

Not long after, the local OEM (Toromont) supporting Lamaque identified five defective fuel injectors that required urgent replacement. However, due to the ongoing global parts shortage, the mine was left with no alternative but to perform an engine oil drain on a weekly basis until the necessary parts could be procured. Once available, the injectors were replaced under warranty. This preemptive action not only prevented potential engine failure on the Cat AD30 but also restored up to 90% of the engine’s at-risk lifespan, according to Dingo.

While this proactive intervention circumvented much larger production losses had the engine been lost, it also highlights the significant risk unplanned breakdowns can have on Mean Time in Repair and associated production losses.

Dingo said: “The joint effort between the Lamaque personnel, CAT Toromont and Dingo Condition Intelligence specialists not only averted a catastrophic breakdown but also showcased the effectiveness and rapid results achievable through Dingo’s predictive maintenance solutions. The successful identification and repair of the AD30 injectors resulted in significant cost savings for everyone. In a nutshell, such a breakdown, if it had not been prevented by the team, would have generated production losses of about $65,000 per day due to equipment downtime and significant corrective maintenance cost to the OEM under warranty.

“Beyond financial value capture, this case also aligns with Eldorado Gold’s vision of ‘breaking new ground’ by implementing innovative solutions and enhancing maintenance processes, thereby ensuring the continuous growth of their high-quality business.”

After the AD30 engine save, the Lamaque maintenance team have continued to leverage Dingo to save equipment. For example: three leaking fuel injectors were found on a 45 t haul truck and a transmission was saved on a 15 t LHD; two key prime movers that would have impeded the operation from monthly production targets. Overall, working together, Dingo and Lamaque have now secured three significant equipment ‘saves’ within the first four-month period, Dingo says.

Building on these early successes, Lamaque and Dingo plan to continue to extend the project to the entire fleet, according to Dingo. Next steps will include interfacing with the mine CMMS and leveraging Dingo’s global benchmark tool to help select best practices from similar mines worldwide and to help the mine evolve towards increasingly condition-based maintenance decision making.

Dingo concluded: “This success story exemplifies how proactive maintenance strategies, coupled with innovative partnerships, can not only address immediate challenges but also pave the way for a more efficient future in the mining industry.”

Rio Tinto looks for commercial uses of Aymium renewable biocarbon products

Rio Tinto and Aymium have partnered to develop and trial a renewable biocarbon product for use as an alternative resource to reduce emissions in large scale industrial processes.

The product has been successfully trialled as a replacement for anthracite used in ilmenite smelting processes at Rio Tinto’s metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, a leading producer of high-grade titanium dioxide feedstock as well as iron and steel for specialised applications.

In a strengthening of the partnership, Rio Tinto has made a further equity investment in Aymium following its participation in a funding round in 2022. The second investment is part of Rio Tinto’s support for innovations needed to meet its 2030 emission reduction targets and deliver lower carbon supply chains.

The partners will now be working together on options for large-scale production of a biocarbon product.

Rio Tinto Minerals Chief Executive, Sinead Kaufman, said: “We are delighted to work with Aymium to develop and trial this renewable biocarbon product that has real potential as an alternative, low carbon resource for our processes. We are investing to deepen our partnership, as part our commitment to finding better ways to decarbonise our operations and the supply chains we are part of.”

Aymium CEO, James Mennell, said: “Our mission is to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels and minimise our environmental impact. We are delighted about Rio Tinto’s follow-on investment as it will further advance our global mission to create bioproducts with enhanced performance and achieve ambitious emissions reduction targets.”

Funds from this investment will be directed towards advancing the construction of Aymium’s new production facilities in North America and supporting its research and development initiatives.

Aymium produces high-value biocarbon and biohydrogen products that, Rio Tinto says, can be used to immediately replace fossil fuels in the production of metals, energy, crops, and in the purification of water and air with no modifications to equipment or processes. Produced using biomass – recovered and unusable wood – Aymium’s bioproducts are renewable, carbon-negative and replace emission-heavy fossil fuels such as coal and coke, according to the company. Aymium’s technology is backed by more than 350 issued or pending patents on a global basis.

Eldorado’s Lamaque mine receives first Sandvik TH550B battery-electric truck

Eldorado Gold Quebec, which operates the Lamaque underground mine in Val-d’Or, says it has become the first mining company in Quebec to integrate a Sandvik TH550B battery-electric truck into its fleet.

This truck, with a maximum capacity of 50 t, will play a key role in improving production efficiency, protecting the health and safety of workers, but above all in mitigating our gas emissions, the mining company said.

Back in March, IM reported that Eldorado was expecting to receive its first battery-electric truck in June for use at Lamaque, with the operator confirming a second truck was scheduled to arrive by the end of the year.

The introduction of these electric trucks is part of the strategy of progressive electrification of the equipment fleet at Lamaque, and also supports efforts to electrify transportation in the Sigma-Lamaque underground ramp, the company said. As the first mining company in Canada to adopt this technology, Eldorado Gold Québec has worked closely with Sandvik to develop these trucks.

Sylvain Lehoux, Vice-President, Canada, said: “We are pleased to be able to begin the electrification of our underground operations thanks to the arrival of this electric truck, which will bring us several benefits, particularly in terms of mitigating our GHG emissions, but also for improving certain aspects of the health and safety of our employees. Over the next few weeks, our employees will be trained and this equipment will be in the testing phase in our operations. We are all looking forward to seeing this technology in action and actively pursuing our efforts to decarbonise our operations.”

Although the Lamaque mine is already recognised as one of the lowest GHG-emitting gold mines in the world, thanks in large part to access to hydroelectricity and the implementation of energy efficiency projects, it is expected that the use of these electric trucks will, once fully functional, reduce GHG emissions estimated at 1,700 tCO2 per year, the company says. This reduction is explained by the absence of diesel consumption and the 100% use of renewable electricity supplied by Hydro-Québec.

ArcelorMittal Mining Canada becomes first Quebec miner to use electric buses for worker transport

ArcelorMittal Mining Canada says it has reached another milestone in its energy transition by becoming the first mining company in Québec and the first company on the North Shore to use electric buses to transport its workers.

The eight buses that will be used by ArcelorMittal were manufactured in Saint-Jérôme by the Lion Electric Company. They will be operated by Transport Therrien, a Fermont-based company that is part of Groupe Autobus Maheux, while the design and installation of the charging infrastructure was undertaken by Cléo, a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec.

Mapi Mobwano, President and CEO of ArcelorMittal Mining Canada, said: “With the arrival of electric buses for our employees, we are continuing to implement our sustainable development strategy. We are particularly pleased about being the first in Québec to bring this plan to fruition in collaboration with local companies like Lion Electric, Transport Therrien and Cléo, who are teaming up with us to help us reduce our carbon footprint.”

Pierre Maheux, President of Groupe Autobus Maheu, added: “We are proud to participate in decarbonising our industry by using electric vehicles. Since acquiring our first electric bus in 2016, we have developed the expertise to meet the energy transition challenge in northern environments. Today, we pay tribute to ArcelorMittal’s leadership. This unprecedented project proves that it is now possible to operate a fleet of electric buses north of the 53rd parallel.”

To support and encourage the electrification of transportation, ArcelorMittal has also started installing electric charging stations at its Mont-Wright and Port-Cartier facilities. Twelve FLO charging stations have already been installed and more will be installed within a few months. These stations are accessible at all times and are free of charge for employees.

ArcelorMittal Mining Canada is Canada’s largest supplier of iron ore to the global steel market, with production of approximately 26 Mt/y of iron ore concentrate. It operates a mining complex, a crusher and a concentrator in Mont-Wright, a mine in Fire Lake, and a pellet plant in Port-Cartier.

In operation since 1974, its Mont-Wright mine covers 24 sq.km, making it one of the largest open-pit deposits in Canada.

ArcelorMittal aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Eldorado Gold to electrify haulage at Lamaque with Sandvik TH550B BEVs

Eldorado Gold is looking to take its next mobile equipment electrification step, with the company set to receive its first battery-electric truck in June for use at the Lamaque underground mine in Quebec, Canada.

The Vancouver-headquartered company has already trialled a battery-electric Normet SmartDrive concrete transportation vehicle at its Efemçukuru gold mine, in Türkiye, as part of a wider group remit to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 30%, from 2020 levels, by 2030 on a ‘business as usual’ basis; equal to approximately 65,000 t of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Now the company is moving from this electric utility vehicle trial to acquiring two battery-electric trucks for use at its flagship Canadian mine.

In its recent 2023 guidance, Eldorado said it expected to spend $37-42 million on growth capital at Lamaque this year, including non-sustaining exploration expenditures for resource conversion and resource expansion drilling at the Ormaque and Parallel deposits, tailings management and electric underground trucks.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed the electric underground truck investment relates to the acquisition of two Sandvik TH550B battery-electric trucks.

These 50-t payload battery-powered trucks combine Sandvik’s 50 years of experience in developing loaders and trucks with Artisan™’s innovative electric drivelines and battery packs. The electric drivetrain delivers 560 kW of power and 6,000 Nm of total torque output, allowing for higher ramp speeds for shorter cycle times and an efficient ore moving process, according to the OEM. All of this comes with zero emissions.

These vehicles also come with fast and easy battery AutoSwap and AutoConnect functions that Sandvik has refined for battery swap processes that take only a few minutes.

The Eldorado spokesperson said: “We have purchased two units; the delivery for the first unit is in June and the second one in November 2023. The Lamaque Mine continues to perform as one of the lowest GHG-emitting gold mines in the world because of access to low-emission hydroelectricity in Québec and other site-based energy efficiency projects. Electrification of these underground vehicles has the benefit of reducing diesel usage on our site and, in addition, we can also be certain that we’re not passing on our direct Scope 1 emissions to Scope 2.”

The company’s sustainable focus at Lamaque goes beyond the acquisition of these two Sandvik vehicles.

Lamaque is expected to produce some 170,000-180,000 oz of gold at C1 cash operating costs of $670-$770/oz sold in 2023, the company says

Eldorado has recently eliminated 26 km of surface haulage and rehandling on public roads at Lamaque, reducing GHG emissions. It has also increased the operation’s energy efficiency, cut its ambient noise and reduced surface dust.

Lamaque is expected to produce some 170,000-180,000 oz of gold at C1 cash operating costs of $670-$770/oz sold in 2023, the company says.

Sandvik expands Val-d’Or presence on rapidly growing mining market in Quebec

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions is growing its footprint in Québec, Canada, with the opening of its newly expanded Val-d’Or facility on October 20, 2022.

Spanning more than 5,100 sq.m, the strategic investment effectively doubles the building’s size and includes significantly increased parts warehouse space, an expanded workshop, facilities for automation support, customer service and rock tools shop, the company said.

Securing a larger parts warehouse and service centre was a priority to support a rapidly growing mining market in Québec and to expand local support capacity for customers, Sandvik says.

“We’re very pleased to announce the official opening of this newly expanded facility in Val-d’Or, Québec,” Peter Corcoran (centre), Vice President of Sales Area Canada at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said. “This is not only an opportunity to bring more jobs to the area, but it also allows us to further expand our aftermarket capabilities and meet the rapidly changing demands of the Québec market.”

Sandvik celebrated the grand opening of the facility with an open house earlier this month.

Val-d’Or Mayoress, Celine Brindamour (left), who participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the occasion, said: “This is the perfect opportunity to discover an innovative and flourishing company that has chosen Val-d’Or to pursue its growth. Through its investments, Sandvik contributes to the fact that Val-d’Or is an essential service hub for the mining industry.”

The Val-d’Or facility expansion project is one step in a more comprehensive evaluation of Sandvik’s network across Canada, it said.

Redpath continues mechanised sinking evolution with S20+ deployment at Odyssey

Redpath is continuing its focus on mechanised shaft sinking operations, with the latest example being the planned use of the hydraulic shaft mucker S20+ at the Canadian Malartic Partnership’s (CMP) Odyssey gold project in Quebec, Canada.

Redpath Canada was recently contracted by the CMP to sink a 6.5-m diameter, 1,800-m deep concrete lined shaft at Odyssey, a project that has the potential to become one of Canada’s largest and most technologically advanced underground gold mines.

CMP, which is 50:50 owned by Yamana Gold Inc and Agnico Eagle Ltd, previously laid out plans to extract 19,000 t of ore at an estimated grade of about 2.75 g/t gold and roughly 5,000 t/d of waste rock during peak operations at Odyssey. The ore will be processed at the operation’s existing plant, which will eventually be adapted to the future mine’s needs including shifting from 57,000 t/d to 20,000 t/d. The ore will be hauled to surface using Blair production hoists with use of both shaft bottom and mid-shaft ore handling systems.

The sinking concept at Odyssey includes the use of the S20+, which was built by Redpath Deilmann in Germany. A previous iteration of this machine, the S20, was used with success on four shaft projects in both soft rock – with an integrated tool package – and hard rock.

The S20+ offers similar capacity/productivity to a North American pneumatic telescopic boom mucker but with a much easier learning curve for operators, according to Kevin Melong, Vice President – Shafts and Technical Services, at Redpath Canada.

Unlike the RD S100, which can move independently of the galloway within the shaft via a telescopic boom, the S20+ is connected to the galloway, requiring the lowering of the galloway to move the mucker into position for mucking.

Melong added: “The S20+ does present some potential for concurrent mucking when in and around the shaft station construction/excavation, but, in general, does not act independent of the stage as in the S100 design.”

Fitted with a bucket as standard, the S20+ offers a maximum digging depth of 7.96 m and a bucket volume of 560 litres. It also offers good flexibility, with the bucket capable of six rotations per minute.

Alongside the S20+ and the aforementioned S100, Redpath has been mechanising the shaft sinking process in mining through the use of large-diameter raiseboring equipment and operation of Herrenknecht’s Shaft Boring Roadheader (in soft-to-medium rock). The company is also working with Herrenknecht on the development of the Shaft Boring Cutterhead, a machine developed for medium-to-hard rock applications up to 250 MPa UCS.

Epiroc Canada strengthens Quebec, Nunavut presence with ACE partnership

Epiroc Canada says it is partering with ACE Services Mécaniques for parts and services in Quebec and Nunavut, Canada.

The new partnership reinforces Epiroc Canada’s commitment to strengthen its presence in the Quebec region through strategic partnerships to expand its parts and service offerings, it said

Quebec’s mining industry has been achieving sustained growth and Epiroc expects this trend will continue. “Our objective is to continue supporting these operations, so they reach their productivity goals safely and efficiently,” the company said.

ACE’s reputation as a mechanical labour services supplier complements Epiroc’s customer first approach and was a deciding factor in choosing the organisation as Epiroc’s aftermarket parts and service provider in the area, the company said.

“Epiroc’s goal in this partnership with ACE Services Mécaniques is to continue to further accelerate our ability to meet and surpass customer needs on site,” Andre Bertrand, Business Line Manager Parts & Services division Canada, Epiroc, said. “Quebec and Nunavut are important regions, and we continue to increase our presence in these areas. Epiroc has already prioritised expanding our presence in the region through completing the strategic acquisitions of Fordia and Meglab, as well as our Epiroc branch in Rouyn-Noranda (Cadillac).”

Steve Ethier, General Director, ACE Services Mécaniques, said: “After several months of work and discussions with our new partner Epiroc, we are proud to lay the foundation for us being the cornerstone of Epiroc’s aftermarket service in Abitibi and Nunavut.”

Yamana ups its climate action ante, considers further use of BEVs, automation

Yamana Gold Inc has announced the outcome of its foundational work on its Climate Action Strategy, raising its climate action ambition by adopting a 1.5ºC target compared to pre-industrial levels and laying the groundwork for the incorporation of more renewable energy sources and battery-electric vehicles at its mines.

The foundational work began in early 2021 and Yamana previously indicated it would complete its work and establish science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement targets by the end of the year. This has seen the company determine base year emissions, emissions forecasts, GHG abatement pathways for Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and physical and transition risks aligned with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

After conducting top-down and bottom-up GHG reduction opportunity assessments at each operation, Yamana has raised its ambition from a 2ºC-aligned target in early 2021 to a 1.5ºC target.

Work has been performed in conformance with evolving international best practice, including the GHG Protocol, Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi) guidelines, and the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining Climate Change Protocol.

Based on the company’s analysis of a 1.5ºC temperature scenario, an annual emissions reduction of approximately 4.2% will be required until 2030. Yamana has concluded it will be able to meet these reduction targets by its 2030 target through a focus on efficient, high-grade underground mines and operating in jurisdictions that have a large proportion of available renewable, green electricity.

A newly signed power purchase agreement at its Minera Florida operation (Chile), scheduled to become effective in 2022, will provide 100% renewable electricity over the next five years. When coupled with similar agreements at Jacobina (Brazil, pictured) and El Peñon (Chile), approximately 85% of the company’s gold-equivalent ounces will be produced with renewable energy by the end of next year.

As part of its previously announced growth plans at Wasamac (Canada), Odyssey (Canada) and Jacobina (Brazil), Yamana is evaluating opportunities to further reduce its GHG emissions by investing in battery-electric vehicles, automation and other emerging technologies. Meanwhile, the company’s near-term growth in both Quebec and Brazil will leverage electrical grids that have a high proportion of green, renewable energy. Hydroelectric and other forms of non-fossil fuel energy constituted more than 99.9% of the Quebec grid energy in 2020, it said.

In 2022, the company will continue to refine its analysis and transition to a more operations-focused approach as it continues work to identify and assess additional opportunities to reduce GHG emissions. The company will also begin to define its Scope 3 GHG emissions, including those from its 50% owned Canadian Malartic Mine.

MacLean battery-electric support fleet set for Odyssey gold mine

A fleet of MacLean battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are set to operate at the Odyssey Mine, one of Canada’s largest underground gold mining projects, after the OEM and Canadian Malartic Partnership agreed on a fleet order.

The mine, currently under construction, is owned 50:50 by Yamana Gold Inc and Agnico Eagle Ltd. The partners have already said it is expected to be one of the most modernised electric underground mines, with all major mobile production equipment (such as trucks, scoop trams, jumbos, bolters, and longhole drill rigs electric powered).

The MacLean BEV fleet at Odyssey Mine will be used for ground support installation, explosives charging, materials transport, and construction and maintenance, the OEM said.

The Odyssey Mine, located near the Town of Malartic in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of northern Quebec, will extract ore from an orebody that lies underneath the historical East Malartic Gold Mines, whose Mine Manager from the late 1930s to late 1940s was none other than ‘Ducky’ MacLean, father of Don MacLean, who founded his namesake mobile equipment company in 1973 and spent close to a decade of his childhood in the Malartic mine camp.

Don MacLean’s son Kevin MacLean now leads the mining vehicle manufacturer, having assumed the role of company President in 2009. He said: “Every fleet order is special but this one has particular resonance because it connects the MacLean family past with the MacLean company future in the form of battery-powered mining vehicles. The underground project of the partnership provides a perfect opportunity for MacLean mobile equipment to return to East Malartic in support of diesel-free operations.”

Don MacLean added: “I’m thrilled to see underground mining coming back to Malartic and grateful that the partnership has put their faith in MacLean BEVs to get the job done safely and productively.”

Tony Caron, MacLean VP of Quebec, Nunavut, and Latin America, said: “The fact that the MacLean fleet in Malartic will represent a return to Don’s childhood roots adds a special dynamic to this story, one that everyone at the MacLean branch in Val-d’Or will keep at heart as we dedicate ourselves to supporting the success of Odyssey Mine.”

The partners approved construction to transform the Odyssey Project into the Odyssey Mine over the coming years in February, spelling out plans to extract 19,000 t of ore at an estimated grade of about 2.75 g/t Au and roughly 5,000 t/d of waste rock during peak operation. It will be accessed by a ramp and a shaft estimated to be 1,800 m deep.