Sudbury, ON (June 23, 2016) – CEMI (Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation) has completed a one of a kind $6.7 million collaborative R&D initiative. The SUMIT Program - Smart Underground Monitoring & Integrated Technologies for deep mines (managed by CEMI and led by Laurentian University in partnership with Queen’s University and the University of Toronto, with contributions from the University of Waterloo, the University of Alberta and Carleton University) aimed at developing and advancing smart engineering techniques, technologies and tools to facilitate step-change advances in productivity, efficiency, energy optimization in underground mining at depth.
Through collaborative research and development with the support of Vale, Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations – A Glencore Company, Rio Tinto, and the Ontario Government, SUMIT focused on three challenges associated with deep underground mining: 1. Rock mass characterization to “better see into the ground” and anticipate risks and interpret dynamic processes; 2. Enhanced mine development for faster mine construction to increase economic returns; and 3. Sustaining deep mines through energy optimization and underground environmental controls.
Some of the high level achievements of this six year collaborative program include the involvement of 98 highly skilled technical people made up of research leads, students, post doctorial fellows (PDFs) and other expert professionals from all across Ontario and Canada. The SUMIT program has aided in developing the next generation with a total of 75 HQP at the PDF level (7), PhD (19), MSc (30) and undergraduate levels (19). SUMIT has garnered academic recognition and continued to enhance knowledge transfer producing 69 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles (with 12 further in the works) which have been cited 374 times in the scientific and engineering literature. In addition, SUMIT has led to 83 conference presentations and the publication of 41 conference papers across the globe.
Damien Duff, Vice President – Geoscience & Geotechnical R&D, remarked that “We succeeded in bringing the best of the best in mining research together to collaborate and produce under this initiative. Following all safety protocols, we executed several field programs at active mine sites (Vale’s Coleman & Creighton; Newcrest’s Cadia East, and Glencore’s Nickel Rim South), incurring 959 student hours of in-mine work safely at 4 test sites, with no incidents or accidents.”
SUMIT has helped to spin off a new company; grow existing businesses; and in the filing of new patents of new products ready to commercialize. It has also developed new guidelines and software tools for mine designers and operators. SUMIT has enhanced the understanding of energy demand and usage on mine sites, thus making it more amenable to optimization. And finally, SUMIT has furthered our understanding of how new energy approaches may be adopted at mines to lower energy demand, limit green house gas emissions and reduce environmental footprints.
Douglas Morrison, President & CEO, CEMI stated that, “We laid the groundwork with SUMIT for what are now vital additional commercially viable programs for CEMI and related mining stakeholders, including the NCE business led $35 million Ultra-Deep Mining Network (UDMN) and the new Mining Observatory Data Control Centre (MODCC) in Sudbury which is an exciting new field of big data analytics for the mining industry located at SNOLAB.”
Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle, extended his congratulations to CEMI and the researchers stating, “I am certainly excited that SUMIT researchers, consultants, and industry experts will become leaders in developing technologies to reduce risks in underground mining.”
SUMIT has made several significant R&D advances which are sure not only to help the mining industry deal with ground stability-related issues at depth, but to optimize its energy usage at the same time. Listed on that attached fact sheet are just a few of the technical accomplishments.
In the fall of 2016, a complete SUMIT Program Journal publication in collaboration with CIM will be made available with additional program and project technical details for the public.
By utilizing collaborative programs such as SUMIT, the Canadian & global mining sector will continue to find innovative ways to reduce risk, accelerate mine development, improve production capacity, and reduce energy consumption.
CEMI – the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation is a national not-for-profit organization that directs and coordinates step-change innovation in the areas of exploration, deep mining, integrated mine engineering, underground mine construction and environment and sustainability for the metal mining industry. CEMI engages in cross-sector collaboration with Canadian and global mining companies, universities & colleges, governments and innovative SMEs within the service and supply sector. With a seasoned team of program directors, CEMI identifies, assesses, and manages industry-focused applied research and business-led programs. www.cemi.ca