Rock Tech Centre is managing the SMIFU-program, which conducted a number of feasibility studies, read more about the studies, the SMIFU- report and the way forward here.
You can read the preface of the final report of the SMIFU II-program, order your own copy of the report, digital or printed here >>
SMIFU II is the next step following the first project; SMIFU I. Read the final report of SMIFU I here >>
In the SMIFU, Sustainable Mine and Innovation for the Future, program we will execute a number of feasibility studies. The purpose of these studies is to analyze what is possible to do in each area and how we should move on. One important delivery each feasibility study will give is a proposal for long-term research and development projects.
Read more about the feasability studies:
- Mining is going deeper
- Safety issues due to Increasing Rock Mechanical challanges has to be met such as Higher Rock Stress andMining induced seismicity.
What and how
Do a feasibility study WP1 including:
- Describing todays process in a typical production area for Boliden, KGHM and LKAB.
- Come up with a vision of the future(new) zero entry process in the production area.
- All machines, and activities are remote controlled or automatic.
- Supervised or controlled from secure control-rooms or areas in the mine.
- Suggestions of future projects based on the new process. Where more R&D is needed these areas shall be pointed out.
- Possible partners including academia for future project shall be suggested.
- Monitoring technology for ground control and calibration of models
- Numerical modelling for detailed and on-line (live) prognosis and eventually detailed design of rock support
- Numerical modelling for prediction of seismic events
- Know-how and technology for rock support adopted to the requirements, especially large deformation and dynamic loads
- Propose R&D projects
- Reduce ventilation costs and improve the underground environment
- Develop a baseline description of conditions in the mine, regarding vehicles, ventilation system, energy consumtion etc.
- Explore the possibilities to implement fuel cell operation for loaders and trucks
- Explore the possibilities to implement hybrid drive/ battery drive for drill rigs, bolting machines, wheel loaders, buses, light trucks and scalers
WP 4, Basic mechanisms for breakage on hard rocks can be utilized to make the different processes causing comminution in the mining production chain, like in drilling, blasting, transport, crushing etc. more energy-efficient.
The main goals of the project are:
- a development of a reliable 3-D, time-domain numerical modelling tool, to allow a premodelling of comminution in the different subprocesses of the mining production chain, and
- pre-modelling of comminution in the different subprocesses in the mining production chain, to allow for more cost-efficient field tests.
The possible areas of application are (among others):
- percussive drilling,
- rock mass
Main goal of the work package:
Nitrogen emissions from mine sites are of major environmental concern, since nitrogen emissions pose a threat to water and air quality, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity. Thus, mitigating the environmental impact of nitrogen is an important part of the SMIFU program, vital for the development of environmentally sustainable mining.
Based on our current understanding of nitrogen-attenuating processes, it should be possible to remove nitrogen from mine site drainage, using minimal energy expenditure, so that nitrogen concentrations in the recipient are maintained at reference-level concentrations. This report therefore proposes to reduce nitrogen discharges from mine sites through experimental studies and the subsequent development of three distinct treatment systems:
- Barrier systems. Project will develop pilot-scale reactive barrier systems that promote biofilm formation and denitrification activity at low temperatures.
- Tailings pond systems. Project will optimize the conditions for denitrification in the sediment of pilot-scale pond-water mesocosms. These conditions can then be applied in full-scale tailings ponds to reduce the nitrogen load in pond waters discharging to the recipient.
- Wetland systems. Project will lead to the development of pilot-scale constructed wetlands that, as a final treatment step, reduce the nitrogen load in discharge water from tailings impoundments through the activity of the wetland microbiota.
After system development, a generic treatment plan will be developed to provide an integrated solution for nitrogen removal that can be applied to any mine site in northern Europe. Thus, the proposed research project will aid in the development of cost-effective nitrogen removal from mine drainage, responding to the needs of the mining industry and contributing to its further development.
Why should we remove pyrite or inhibit the sulphide oxidation?
Acid rock drainage (ARD) formation from pyrite oxidation is a significant and potentially enduring environmental problem for the mining industry. If unmanaged, ARD can result in adverse water quality impacts that could propagate a harmful legacy to the industry and companies alike.
What and how?
Generation of a separate sulphide concentrate is one of a number of promising options to minimize long-term environmental impacts and reduce decommissioning costs associated with ARD generation from tailings. Inhibition of sulphide oxidation in waste rock is another option to minimize long-term environmental impacts and decrease the use of neutralization material such as lime.
- Determine the state of art with respect to separation of sulphides from the tailings and recovery of metals through bioleaching or other extraction technologies
- Identify options for safe disposal of sulphide concentrates or residuals from bioleaching
- Determine the state of the art with respect to ARD prevention alternatives and evaluate prevention options in waste rock
- Perform gap analysis of information needs required to ensure reliable and successful application of ARD prevention alternative
- Identify areas for future research to address pertinent data gaps
Looking for solutions of present mineral processing problems and looking forward to properties of ore which will be explored in the nearest future, it is necessary to establish the complex analysis of technological conception of building the new ore processing site based on pre-concentration stage localized underground mine.
The main goals of the project are:
to minimize of metal production costs and energy consumption according to reduction vertical transportation of considerable amounts of waste rocks from mine to surface,
to reduce the environmental problems of tailings deposit in large open-air pond.
The possible and potential methods to meet our goals are (among others):
- methods of waste rock deposits underground,
- methods of lithologic separation of the ore,
- possibilities of ore separation methods from waste rocks,
- reducing of milling phase by using more efficient crushing stadium,
- possibilities of using multi-functional machinery in order to reducing the number of process units.
a better understanding of the resources during drilling and mucking ultimately leads to improve mining and ore processing activities and have higher recoveries at lower rate of energy utilization in association with environmental and social concerns for sustainable development.
Measurement during drilling and Mucking:
To identify the physical and chemical characteristics of the ore/resources in-situ and to get information from different location in mine for selective and more effective mining and prepare better feed for the downstream processing stage(s)
Flotation of Fines and Coarse Particle:
After characterization, the processing of fine and coarse value particles can be improved by understanding the process kinetics, chemistry of flotation and hydrodynamic characteristics of different flotation cells.
Good knowledge of the ore and understanding its beneficiation characteristics will lead to:
- More effective mining and processing techniques
- Improve process plant design and control
- Reduction in energy utilization
- Less waste and environment protection
Project idea: develop project proposals for RDI projects whose results will contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Mine and Innovation for the Future by improving the reliability of mobile mining equipment.
The feasibility study is divided into 5 work streams, each with a responsible work stream leader.
- Problem statement and business case
• will provide a baseline performance and benchmarks as well as a rationale, or justification, for improving mining equipment reliability
- State of the Art
• will describe the methods that are available to improve reliability
- Choice of Way Forward
• will extract project ideas from the state of the art. These ideas will be evaluated according to their potential….
- Plans for proposed RDI projects
• will refine the selected project ideas and deliver draft project plans
- Competence centres and RDI partners
• identify world wide competence centres within the fields of reliability, maintenance and asset management
What are we doing?
We are looking for alternative solution to Drill & Blast technique, which has many limitation. By implementing mechanical excavation we can have:
- Simplifying of mining works
- More reliable machinery
- Production improvement
- Higher automation
- Less people underground
- Only electric energy
- Safety improvement
- Higher excavation process sustainability
- Possibilities for implement pre processing underground
- Better process control
- Higher recovery
Many mining companies around the world is looking for approach in mechanical excavation. This is the signal to the suppliers that mining companies are looking for that solutions because they will give a chans to go deeper with exploitation and excavate more shallow seams that are not available with traditional methods.
- State of the art study regarding integrated process control in underground mines.
- Identify important control issues.
- Sensors, raw data, data connectivity, system platforms.
- Preliminary functional requirements.
- Actions necessary to build a coherent and integrated control system that is reasonably simplistic to operate and maintain.
- Define the R&D work to be conducted in SMIFU III before implementation.
- To stay competitive, increase production capacity and improve safety, process control systems needs to be further implemented and integrated. This would make it possible to supervise and optimize “all” main mine activities.
- Time utilization, f e time gaps between shifts and after blasting.
- Production capacity – stable, predictive.
WP12 develops methods and technologies in resource characterisation to reach following targets:
- Geological resource can be characterized continuously with new sensors
- Sensors give comprehensive spatial geological, mineralogical, state of stress and rock mechanical information
This is because good knowledge of resource is prerequisite for:
- Effective utilization of the resource
- Better production management in the full production chain
- Zero entry in production area
Future efficient mining operations will depend on a higly competent and well motivated work force, at all levels. Future mining will involve a great deal of automation compared to the present situation. This puts a focus on human work in automated systems. New key factors for monitoring of this new work environment will therefore be needed and new goals for the work environment must be formulated for the design of the systems. At his stage of the project the team will work on the following five sub-projects:
- Development of criteria and guide lines for design and implementation of good, safe mining work and attractive work places in deep mining.
- An economic holistic evaluation of various levels of automation that will show the economic frames for automation of underground mining.
- A systematic review and quantification of the health and safety advantages and disadvantages of different levels of automation.
- Development of a model for qualification needs and job content for personnel working in the ROCs.
- Identify future skill needs and shape future education programs for mine management and workers.
Why is “Mine site metal production” important?
- Higher overall recovery of metals from the resource
- Lower transportation costs
- Lower export taxes. (Some countries put an extra tax on export of concetrates since they want to keep more of the value chain within the contry)
- Lower CO2 emissions per ton metal produced (due to higher recovery and less transportation)
- Hazardous elements like As, Sb, Hg is left where they are produced.( In the future export of concentrates containing these elements is likely to be limited by more strict multilateral regulations)
The purpose with this project:
- for the consortium prioritize and organize the proposed projects (from all other work packages), propose financing sources for each and one of these work packages or groups of work packages
- so the consortium will be able to start next phase, containing several long term research- and development projects.
In Scope, for next phase;
- How to coordinate all different projects?
- Which project should not be commonly coordinated?
- Working model and coordination of whole program.
- What funding mechanism is available?
- How finance all projects?
• Consortium agreement, basic principles and particularly important paragraphs.
• monitoring EU policies in raw materials and innovation programs
• economical evaluation of the results of the future outcome from next phase
The project is managed by:
in association with the SMIFU Consortium: