These are the projects that RTC are currently running together with stakeholders from the mining and construction industry. If you would like to know more or are interested in participating in any of these projects, please contact us >>
Today’s mining systems include a variety of data extraction and monitoring system, data transmission system and systems for data analysis and presentation to different categories of personnel. The amount of new information from equipment and processes are today increasing fast and the utilisation of this kind of information to improve the process is far from optimal. Day by day, and even more in the near future, the growing possibilities with sensors, Internet of things, Big Data, cloud computing, etc. is increasing, while the storage capabilities and related availability of data is growing enormously.
The challenge does not lie within the data itself, but how to extract which data and transform it into useful information, reaching the right user in a timely manner. The with the main goal is hence to extend the utilisation of today’s massive data and information flow in operating mines to increase control, productivity and profit. This is a huge task that no single project can solve alone and we are hence suggesting that MINDI should be run as an ”RTC Project Program”. To know where to start, we have deployed this pilot study, supported by the Swedish mining industry.
Through a seminar/workshop (länka till kalendern 1-2/3) and interviews, the pilot study will deliver:
- A definition of challenges and opportunities for the mining industry inclusive the prerequisites for a full scale program aiming to develop and test new methods and solutions.
- A state of the art analysis of standards and technologies.
- A program plan with prioritized activities aiming to address the most important actions for the mining business.
- A complete plan for a full scale project program including chosen project areas that partners would like to start as a first step.
The project was commenced in January 2016 and is planned to be finished in June 2016. However, since this work aims to find the right scope a long term program on behalf of the mining industry, all input is welcome. Hence, this project will be kept open for new participants throughout the study. If you are interested to participate, please contact us.
RTC has been commissioned by the SIP-STRIM (Strategic Innovation Programme for the Swedish Mining and Metal Producing Industry) committee to lead and manage the work aiming to produce an updated STRIM agenda. The current agenda was published in April 2013 and the aim is to update the agenda every third year, and hence, a new agenda “Strategic Innovation Programme for the Swedish Mining and Metal Producing Industry 2016 to 2030” should be published in 2016. RTC did also lead the work in producing the current agenda, please see “The Swedish Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda – STRIM” for more information.
You can learn more about SIP-STRIM and the agenda on http://www.sipstrim.se/
Scheduling of mine operations is complicated by the large variations of input parameters, which in, addition is constantly changing, leading to a tedious task which demands managing of several hundred of activities per week. Scheduling and planning tools exist for single processes alone, but no tool has been constructed to coordinate all processes and including real-time information. Such a solution would have a large implication for in-mine resource and production optimization through timely management of real-time delays mitigating the risk of unplanned stops in production through early rescheduling, yielding lower operation costs due to better utilisation of resources.
The need for a more flexible solution for medium range scheduling has been sought after from the mining industry for long, although the technology for receiving real-time information and handling thereof has not previously existed. However, today, many mines have installed mine-wide Wi-Fi networks, for the first time enabling real-time 3D visualisation and communication with all in-mine processes and personnel. It is also estimated that optimized scheduling would increase safety for humans involved in the operations through decreased traffic in heavily used areas. Also, it would decrease energy consumption (for e.g. trucks and ventilation) and related emissions per produced ton, as well as decrease the man-hours per ton through optimal use of resources.
This project aims to build and demonstrate a working prototype of a tool, designed to coordinate real-time information and actions of mining processes, to optimize the scheduling of resources used in mining. The project will be carried out by a consortium comprising ABB AB, Boliden Mineral AB, Luleå University of Technology and Nordic Rock Tech Centre AB and the project was started in September 2015, continuing for 24 months. The projects total budget is 8.1 M SEK whereof funding from Vinnova is granted at 3.7 M SEK.
The work is conducted within the frames of the Strategic Innovation Program for the Swedish Mining and Metal Producing Industry (Gruv och Metallutvinning), a joint program by VINNOVA, Formas and the Swedish Energy Agency.
The RTC feasibility study Remote controlled charging (2014) showed that the safety of work in tunnels or drifts can be improved and that heavy and strenuous operations substantially reduced if certain operations are automated and controlled remotely. One result indicates that at least 60% of the working time at the face consists of monotonic charging jobs that could be considered to be automated. The study also showed that earlier projects aimed to develop automatic charging have not been successful and that the market has a number of drilling and charging machines in various stages of development. During the interviews in the spring of 2014, the stakeholders showed interests for improvement, e.g. the mining staffs were positive to possible technological improvements yielding a reduced risk of injury and heavy, strenuous work, also accepting a slightly increased time for the charging cycle. According to manufactures and suppliers, the technical conditions for the remote control of these operations are good, that is, manufacturers of charging equipment, drilling machines, robots and explosives say that they have much of the requisite technology developed. However, the challenge is to adapt existing equipment to the specific conditions prevailing at the underground work, remotely charge a blast without increased risks of accidental blasting, the charging cycle times should not increase more than marginally and that development costs are limited.
The RTC Safer Charging project will run from January to September 2015 and is led by Nikolaus Sifferlinger. This project will, for mining companies and suppliers of equipment and explosives, develop concepts for technical solutions for safer charging in order to decrease risks and strenuous work for personnel at the face of a drift. The deliverables from the study will amongst other things include:
- A product (target) specification.
- A described technical concept.
- Conceptual description of one or several prototypes.
- A final report consisting description of findings, a technical concept and conclusions.
If you would like to know more about the project or join the consortium, please contact us.
In many regions of northern Sweden, average nitrogen (N) concentrations in natural aquatic systems are often low (< 0.3 mg L-1). However, as a result of the use of ammonium-nitrate based explosives in mining or cyanides in gold extraction processes, high N levels may be discharged into these aquatic environments. Approximately 10 % of explosives fail to detonate during blasting operations in Sweden, resulting in N contamination of the ore, waste rock and process water.
On a local scale, the reactive forms of N (e.g. nitrate, nitrite, ammonium) cause eutrophication of the aquatic environment and have toxic effects on biota. Such effects are in conflict with current water legislation according to the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), which states that waterbodies must show at least good ecological status. Violation of the demands set by the WFD and national legislation will result, and has already resulted, in costly disputes with local authorities, lawsuits and enforced interruptions in mining processes.
On the regional to global scale, enhanced N mobilization from large-scale mining operations can provoke deep changes in the global N cycle by increasing the amount of reactive N forms in nature. These changes are coupled to Baltic Sea eutrophication, ocean anoxia and climate change due to the release of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide.
Since ammonium-nitrate based explosives will be used by the mining industry in the future, mine operators must have a plan for controlling N releases. These releases occur in two major N flows at mine sites: process water, often discharged to tailings ponds, and drainage from waste rock dumps. At most sites, this is a large combined mass flow, which needs to be treated.
Expected results and impact
The overall expected result of miNing is the identification of treatment techniques that successfully remove N from mine site drainage when employed in full scale operation, so recipient concentrations are maintained at levels that are in agreement with national and international legislation.
The progress of miNing will be documented in a series of deliverables including peer-reviewed scientific articles and workshops. The success of miNing will be guaranteed by regular meetings and workshops with the reference group.
While this project is coordinated by SLU, RTC’s role is to identify innovation potentials related to this research area as well as to manage the projects steering group. Please see the miNing webpage or contact us for further information.
The project aims at finding a pro-active solution for the mining production process, from face to processing plant. This project will deliver technical solutions and facilitate process control and optimization for the complete mining process, starting with the intact rock mass at the face and ending at the processing plant. This will be done through to actively linking characterization tools and process control techniques to all points along the mining/milling process stream to allow them to respond as needed to changes in the rock mass properties at the mining face. While this project is coordinated by LTU, RTC’s role is to identify innovation potentials related to this research area.