Mining has traditionally been a labour-intensive industry. With automation and equipment improvements, the productivity of mining operations has greatly increased. Mine site safety has also improved by removing miners from dangerous underground environments and placing them in remote control rooms where they can operate equipment from a safe distance.
What is mine automation?
The concept of mine automation is based on collaboration between systems, equipment and people, and enabling information-sharing without barriers. Mine automation also empowers the mine workers to make sound business decisions based on continuous, real-time data. Some examples of mine automation are remote monitoring of ground vibration and dust, the use of automated machinery, and high-performance transmission of data. Implementing mine automation could save a mine operation considerable time and money, thereby improving its productivity.
Future research and development at CanmetMINING will focus on techniques to break the rock underground without the need for explosives, to save considerable time and money for mining operations.
In addition, CanmetMINING is active in research and development on new hoisting technologies to more effectively bring the ore from underground to surface. New hoisting technologies will result in increased productivity because hoisting from underground is very energy-intensive and time-consuming, especially for deep and ultra-deep mines. Mine hoists are used to transport ore, equipment, people, and sometimes vehicles to and from the underground mine. CanmetMINING is working on continuous monitoring systems to ensure the integrity of the hoist cables, as well as high-performance synthetic hoist cables, which are much lighter and can dramatically increase productivity in deep and ultra-deep mines.