Material Transportation and Productivity


Theme Leader: Pat Dubreuil

Improved Mine Productivity and Novel Transportation Methods

The Challenge: Mining companies continuously strive to improve each of the processes involved in getting their product to the mill. As their operations expand further underground, it becomes more critical to find these improvements, because it will take longer to transport workers and materials into the mine and to the work place. Similarly, the transportation of ore, waste and fill material into and out of an ultra deep mine present an ever-increasing challenge as mines go deeper.

The main research areas of interest focus on improving Mine Productivity and introducing novel transportation methods are about improving the individual steps involved in:

1. the mine development process – more efficient drilling, loading/blasting, mucking, ground support, transport of material, ventilation

2. the mine production process – production drilling, loading/blasting, mucking, filling, sizing and transport of material

3. the supply of support and services – ventilation, pumping, mine planning, communications, surveying, slimes management


1.Rapid Lateral Development Canopy Phase II (CEMI)

Enable increased development rates by maximizing the utilization of the advancing face.

2. TSL Guideline – Phase I (CEMI)

Ground support is critical to all underground mining operations, especially at depth. This project is about mining experts defining the guidelines that should be followed when utilizing thin spray-on-liners (TSL) as an alternative to mesh or screen.

3. Hydraulic Air Compressor -HAC (MIRARCO)

To scientifically demonstrate the modern day credentials of Hydraulic Air Compressors (HAC) for the contemporary mining industry and consider the use of dry gas produced by HAC’s towards cooling mine ventilation air in deep mines.

4. Mobile Crusher/Sizer – Phase I (CEMI)

Developing a small, portable crusher will reduce the up-front Capital requirement and on-going maintenance for large crushers and crusher stations, including feeders, bins, picking belts. Its development will also reduce the risk of ground movement/failure in large excavations at depth.

5. Schedule Optimization Tool Plus (SOT +) (CEMI)

SOT+ research will address the long term planning and required productivity of mining deep ore bodies, allowing profitable and successful mining at depth in the presence of geotechnical, ventilation and asset allocation challenges.

6. Attain Software Tool (MIRARCO)

To devise optimization algorithms for equipment allocation, calendar management and related shortterm scheduling issues, in order to produce a new software tool allowing operational mine planning to align systematically with an optimized long-term plan.

7. Automated Rock Breakers (Rock-Tech)

To develop phase one automation capabilities and moving towards a fully automated rock breaker for use in deep mines.