SUDBURY ON (December 1, 2016) – The Ultra Deep Mining Network (UDMN) held its second annual Symposium for its 76 network members from across Canada and announced the first of many UDMN commercial successes by one of its members, Maestro Mine Ventilation. Maestro was presented with UDMN’s Outstanding Achievement in Commercialization award for a technical innovation which ensures the safety of underground miners. The rapid commercial sale of this product to some of the deepest mines in the world is a testament that Maestro’s efforts combined with UDMN funding and guidance can in fact bring technology faster to market which in turn benefits the mining industry and Canadians.
The focus of the $35 million Ultra-Deep Mining Network (UDMN) is to help
to solve the challenge of mining in ultra-deep environments. As a national business-led Network of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE), the UDMN, a CEMI – Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation hosted program is working with some of the deepest mines in Canada to help the mining industry develop and adopt innovative technologies that are commercially viable. UDMN is the leading expert in Ultra-Deep mining (below 2.5km) by supporting solution providers capable of creating the industry-needed tools and technologies that can be used by mining companies. The success of Maestro is just one example of how the UDMN – network is accelerating commercially viable technologies to the mining industry.
Underground mines have challenging environmental conditions that include toxic gases from the drill & blast operation or gases given off by the surrounding strata rock. Protecting miners from acute or chronic gas related health conditions is paramount for any responsible mining company. To achieve this, a variety of sensors are required to transmit real time data from the underground workings to the surface control rooms. By using this technology, miners are able to return safely to their working areas quicker allowing significant productivity increases. However, these sensors require frequent maintenance and calibration in order to maintain accurate measurements. The previous technology required underground calibrations at each individual location using test gases however several physical and environmental challenges prevented an accurate and repeatable calibration.
Maestro, with the support of the UDMN, has tackled this real-life application by designing and developing a digital gas sensor that can be calibrated on surface in a stable controlled environment. The digital sensors then can be “hot swapped” by a ventilation technician without the requirement of any sort of underground calibration.
Built upon the IoT (Internet of Things), the digital sensors have a complete suite of diagnostics to help determine the health of the complete system and provide maximum system uptime.
“This innovation has allowed our Vigilante AQS™ environmental stations to be installed in some of the deepest mines on the planet” states Michael Gribbons – Vice President of Maestro. “Prior to this innovation, the underground miners lacked the confidence of the gas readings since there was no practical method of calibrating the sensors or understanding if the sensors were even working. The IoT digital sensors allow this to become a reality. This will result in major productivity improvements by getting the miners safely back to the face quicker.”
“Maestro’s digital IoT gas sensors have already led to the early implementation of this technology at over 20 mines since the project has started. Many of these implementations are across Canada and the globe.” Pat Dubreuil, UDMN Theme Leader and R&D Program Director remarks, “It is companies like Maestro that quickly become successful because of their ability to identify a real problem, develop a viable solution and quickly commercialize a working product. UDMN is proud of its members and looks forward to announcing more commercial successes in the near future.”
The Ultra-Deep Mining Network (UDMN) is a national business-led NCE network, managed through CEMI – Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, and supported by members of the mining, oil & gas industries, and with the active participation of small-to-medium sized enterprises, industry agencies, research facilities and academia. UDMN aims to become the leading organization in Ultra-Deep (below 2.5km) research and innovation and to solve the challenges that impact resource extraction in these environments. www.miningdeep.ca
About Maestro Mine Ventilation
Maestro is driven to provide ventilation solutions to improve the underground work environment and extend miner’s lives while still providing economical solutions to increase production, conserve energy and reduce green house gases. www.maestroventilation.com