Competence. Innovation. Solutions in Mining.

Sudbury Mining Solutions

Commentary

Overcoming challenges – our specialty

If nickel, copper, gold and all of the other metals we work so hard to find, extract and process were just lying in heaps somewhere on the surface of the earth, we’d all be fat, lazy and probably a bit slow. Finding, extracting and processing metals hidden hundreds and thousands of metres below the earth’s surface taxes our intelligence more so than most pursuits.

The engineering challenges and the technologies we have developed to overcome them are mind-boggling – from airborne geophysics that shed light on potential mineralization locked away deep underground, to excavation techniques used to sink shafts thousands of metres deep.

Ours is an industry with more than its share of challenges – an industry in which brainpower produces the solutions that enable us to satisfy the world’s growing appetite for metals.

When we launched Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal four years ago, I don’t think we fully appreciated the appropriateness of the “Solutions” part of the publication’s title.

We are probably the only mining publication in the world to come right out and proclaim our dedication to focusing our attention on solutions.

Our “digging” this issue has resulted in a collection of solution-oriented stories focusing on the material handling challenges associated with transporting ore to surface. We put the spotlight on Sudbury-based Rail-Veyor Technologies Inc., which has exclusive North American rights to an innovative transportation system that blends rail and conveyor belt technologies.  A Rail-Veyor system, promising lower operating costs than traditional technologies, will be built on Vale Inco property for demonstration purposes later this year (read full article).

Vale Inco’s plans to exploit new orebodies at depth in several of its mines in the Sudbury Basin present a number of material handling challenges. Do they deepen existing shafts? Construct a winz? Transport ore by truck via an extended ramp system? Or, think outside the box? There’s no decision yet, but a team led by the company’s mine project development group is studying the feasibility of a vertical conveyor system that would be the most ambitious application of this technology in the world (read full article).

We have another story about an interesting application of RFID technology designed to provide mill technicians with ore grade information for material in transit. Armed with this information, technicians will be able to tailor the strength of the reagents and the holding times in the tanks to optimize the mill process and increase metal recoveries (read full story).

This issue also highlights the remarkable surge in exploration activity that is taking place in Ontario. In a world hungry for metals, Ontario boasts a natural endowment that is second to none and an exploration financing model that is the envy of every other jurisdiction. We are international leaders in geophysics and we have the human resources on the ground – the prospectors, geologists and drillers who make it all happen. No wonder 18,000 people from all over the world come to Toronto for the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s International Convention, Trade Show and Investors Exchange.

Shedding light on the challenges we face and the solutions we develop to overcome them ensures our ability to compete and lead across the entire spectrum of the industry.

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