Alternative haulage, part one: conception of a CMIC project

In this two-part blog post we’ll be exploring CMIC’s Alternative Haulage project.

 

The role of roadmaps in project conception

Haulage was identified as a major priority for operations in both surface and underground mining during a 2018 Roadmapping Workshop. During this workshop, industry members met to discuss their greatest challenges and identify gaps in technology or fundamental knowledge. The result was a roadmap to the future of surface mining that created new design principles and provided a pathway to address these major challenges and ultimately a new future state for surface mining.

This workshop, and the design principles employed to create the surface mining roadmap of the future, built the the foundation for collaboration.

In a subsequent strategic planning session, mining companies identified haulage as one of their biggest cost drivers, while also offering great potential for improvement.

The current state of mining haulage

Most haulage is currently undertaken using trucks because they are efficient and flexible. But the diesel emissions associated with trucks is of huge concern to mining companies, particularly as most of them have greenhouse gas reduction targets. So there is a great deal of interest in moving toward electric vehicles or autonomous mines.

The immediate aim of the project is to integrate alternative haulage technologies into existing fleets that will result in multiple benefits, including:

  • Reduced capital costs
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Reduced GHG emissions
  • Safer operations
  • More efficient haulage

The project team

A consortium was created to focus on evaluating transportation options for ore or waste, for different terrains or slopes, and for different haulage distances and segments. The team consists of the following members:

First steps

The first stage of the project, conducted by Deloitte, was a technology scan to identify and select technologies, or groups of technologies, that show promise in helping us to achieve our objective. Deloitte also created a holistic evaluation methodology that considers many different factors such as financial, efficiency, environmental impacts and more. To facilitate the evaluation of these technologies at mine sites, two base case mine site operations were created and agreed upon by the project partners.

Current phase – modeling and simulation

This phase of the work will take advantage of modern computing capabilities to model and simulate the various technologies on the two base case mine operations. This will help to narrow down three or four technologies for field deployment much faster and with more precision than current methodologies.

Moving forward

Stay tuned for part two of this blog post, in which we will look at the upcoming phases of the project, and speak with consortium member, Syncrude, about their involvement.

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Mike Stuart

Head of Sales , Intel