On November 21st and 22nd 2018 the Canada Mining Innovation Council (www.cmic-ccim.org) hosted a two-day workshop in Toronto entitled Mine Planning with the discussions focused around a paradigm shift from current mining methods to a continuous mining method. The workshop had representatives from some of the major mining companies with operations in Canada, including Agnico Eagle Mining, Glencore, Goldcorp and Vale.
Dr. Sauer & Partners represented by Jure Klopcic and John Brown were invited to present and answer questions on the turnkey SEM design developed for Barrick to construct a 2.2km twin mine access tunnel at -14% grade to access a gold orebody in Cortez Nevada. The presentation discussed choosing SEM; the stages of the design; how the design flexibility allows for changes depending on ground types encountered; how SEM provides a better whole life product requiring less maintenance and very importantly at a faster rate and lower cost than the more traditional drill and blast methods typically favoured by mining companies. In another of the presentations, Drilltechdrilling, who were contracted by Barrick to construct the Dr. Sauer & Partners design, talked about the positives, negatives, and early prejudices to SEM, the learning curves and how they optimised the process on site. Lastly, we heard that the SEM design was both faster and cheaper than traditional drilling and blasting alone.
Over the course of the two days, several other companies and organisations presented, including Bergteamet and Masterdrilling who are looking to crack the continuous mining paradigm shift using Tunnel Boring Machines for both mine development and production. Once the presentations were complete, the attendees were given the brief to plan out a mining operation using some of the concepts and innovations presented and discussed earlier whic was a great way to conclude a very informative and enjoyable workshop.