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Boart Longyear establishes R&D test centre in Sudbury

November 14, 2016
by Norm Tollinsky
In: Research

Innovative technologies to be tested at the NORCAT Underground Centre include next generation wireline tooling, smart drill rig technology, XRF technology for examining core samples and high-speed drilling technology

Jeff Olsen, president and CEO, Boart Longyear, announcing the establishment of a North American research and development test site at the NORCAT Underground Centre during a press conference at MINExpo.

Jeff Olsen, president and CEO, Boart Longyear, announcing the establishment of a North American research and development test site at the NORCAT Underground Centre during a press conference at MINExpo.

Boart Longyear’s next generation drilling technology will be tested and refined in Northern Ontario for the global market following a decision by the Utah-based mining supplier to establish a research and development presence at the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology’s (NORCAT) Underground Centre in Sudbury.

The partnership was announced by Boart Longyear president and CEO Jeff Olsen and NORCAT CEO Don Duval at MINExpo. Also in attendance was Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle, who announced a $1.3 million grant from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to sweeten the deal.

“As an industry leader that has been around for more than 125 years, Boart Longyear knows a thing or two about improving safety, increasing efficiency and reducing drilling costs,” said Olsen during a press conference at the Boart Longyear booth. “But there’s always more we can learn and more ways we can help the industry improve. That’s why we’re so grateful for the Government of Ontario’s commitment to our efforts.

“For Boart Longyear, the establishment of an R&D facility in Sudbury reaffirms our commitment to Canada. It also creates potential synergies with our existing manufacturing operations in Ontario, which are located in Mississauga and North Bay.

“Our R&D will be focused on developing truly innovative technologies that will reduce our clients’ costs, significantly improve mining exploration productivity, and benefit the entire mining industry,” said Olsen.

Innovative technologies to be tested at the NORCAT Underground Centre include next generation wireline tooling, smart drill rig technology, XRF technology for examining core samples and high-speed drilling technology, said Boart Longyear’s Chris Drenth, global engineering director, performance tooling.

The company will test underground drill rigs and tooling inside the underground mine, as well as surface rigs outside the mine. Several Boart Longyear personnel will be permanently based at the site.

The NORCAT Underground Centre is used by a number of mining supply companies to test emerging technologies.

The former Fecunis Mine boasts adit access for convenient mobilization, is equipped with office and boardroom facilities and is located approximately 55 kilometres north of downtown Sudbury.

The facility is widely used by Ontario mining suppliers to develop and test innovative technology.

“We also use the mine as a showcase site,” said Duval. “Once our clients use the facility to develop, test, derisk and commercialize their technology, there is a unique opportunity to install and showcase that technology (in the mine).

“Boart Longyear’s investment really exemplifies the opportunities in our community,” added Duval. “We have stellar academic institutions in our backyard and supportive governments at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. We also have a lot of operating mines in the Sudbury Basin, but the one story we don’t tell enough is the unbelievable and exciting mining technology cluster we have. Boart Longyear’s investment further exemplifies just how vibrant that cluster has become.”

NORCAT announced a second partnership at MINExpo with South Africa-based Throughtec, a company specializing in mining equipment simulators. The partnership recognizes NORCAT as a provider of curriculum content for mining companies acquiring Throughtec simulators.

“We provide the pedagogical support and curriculum to ensure the desired learning outcomes are enhancing productivity and safety,” said Duval.

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