UDMN 2.0

UDMN 2.0


Through the Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Business-led program, the Government of Canada has been asked to re-invest an additional $20 million over five years to accelerate the economic, technological and social transformations that will unlock value from the underground mining industry.

The Ultra Deep Mining Network (UDMN), a national business-led NCE, continues to lead Canada in mining research and innovation to deliver new processes, products, best practices and technologies for adoption into deep mines. The Network’s strength comes from its partners comprised of mining companies, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the supply and service sector, academic institutions and is hosted by the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI).

There is a clear imperative to improve the performance and competitiveness of Canadian underground mines through developing solutions to address the challenges in deep mines – declining productivity, geothermal heat and integration of digital technologies and automation. Working with deep mines in Canada that experience severe conditions below 2.5km, UDMN strives to find commercially viable solutions for these challenges in mines throughout the world.


Theme 1: High-Intensity Mine Production

Improve return on investment (ROI)

The economics of ultra-deep hard-rock mining for precious and base metals (e.g. gold, copper, and nickel), requires reversal of the decade-long decline in mine productivity (ore-value and production rate). This includes increasing project NPV by accessing new ore-bodies faster, increasing the production rate and improving product value. The conventional batch production process has involved four sequential activities – drilling, blasting, ore removal and ground support. The logistics of conventional delivery systems for operating supplies and backfill to deeper mine levels is slower and more expensive. The advent of new rock-cutting and rockbreaking technologies makes continuous, autonomous production systems possible and makes faster, more cost-effective delivery systems essential.

Theme 2: Low Energy Consumption

Improve the energy efficiency of ultra-deep mines

Energy is the second highest cost for underground mines after labour and it must be reduced significantly for deep mines in high cost economies to remain globally competitive. The feasibility of future underground mines in Canada will depend on new lower-energy and lower carbon-emitting technologies. Increasing geothermal heat at depth is the most significant energy challenge in deep underground mines, and mines must introduce active cooling to maintain acceptable atmospheric conditions. Replacing diesel equipment with alternative fuels will make difference but what is required is to significantly reduce the total amount of energy consumed.

Theme 3: Smart Digital Mining & Automation

Secure Integration of data management, ICT and AI

Mining data is often complex, siloed, fragmented and in need of contextualization, the economics of modern connectivity needs can be difficult to justify. Although, data takes up an incredible amount of space on servers, these data are highly relevant to operational decisions and without it, major decisions related to mine operations cannot be fully optimized or automated. Digitization and application of data-driven insights represents an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage for ultra-deep mining and holds the key to new knowledge creation. Data has become a very valuable commodity and is recognized as the foundation of decisions relating to safety, production and development. UDMN’s ‘Smart Digital Mining and Automation’ theme will be a bridge across Data Management, ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) and integrate these technologies for optimizing operational reports. By doing so UDMN will make it possible to improve the global competitiveness of the Canadian mining industry by developing a new, interoperable value chain of suppliers leveraging digital technologies.

UDMN Renewal: 2018-2023

Building upon its successes from a 2013-2018 investment of $15 million from the Federal Government’s Business-Led Networks Centers of Excellence (BL-NCE) program which was leveraged to $35 million with 93 partners and 25 projects, resulted in the delivery of 17 prototypes, 8 products, 9 IP protected patents, 8 brokered deals while creating and retaining 146 jobs in its first 4 years.

UDMN renewal 2018-2023 will further leverage $20 million from the BL-NCE program to over $55 million with 140 partners to deliver an estimated 25 prototypes, 15 products, 15 IP protected patents, 20 brokered deals while creating and retaining 250 jobs.

UDMN will continue to enhance its ability to leverage resources, knowledge, collaboration and expertise across Canada. Recognizing that a comprehensive, strategic equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) approach is critical to overall sectors success, UDMN will implement a networkwide EDI Action Plan to improve the governance, transparency and monitoring of EDI outcomes within the Network.

UDMN supports network solution teams to develop and accelerate the commercialization of technologies needed in underground mining operations to improve productivity, profitability, attract global investment and increase employment & training in the sector. This ensures that Canada’s investment in deep mining technologies addresses the national innovation agenda, thus cementing Canada’s role as a global leader in ultra-deep mining. For more information on the UDMN please contact


Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – June 1, 2018