Goldcorp has announced the winner of #DisruptMining 2019, a challenge that calls for innovators in the mining space to pitch and compete for investment. Among the finalists was a Toronto-based company, which developed Sustainable Mining by Drilling (SMD) technology.
“For the mining industry to reach demands and potential of the 21st century, every company must step up and innovate.”
The innovation accelerator, which was located in Toronto for its third year, offers entrepreneurs a platform to bring new technologies to the mining sector, offering up a $1 million CAD contract to bring their solution to the industry. Toronto-based Anaconda Mining, Austria-based Andritz, and Germany-based Voith were named finalists for this year’s challenge.
“Innovation doesn’t stop or start with one idea, one technology, or one company,” said David Garofalo, president and CEO of Goldcorp. “For the mining industry to reach the demands and potential of the 21st century, every company must step up and innovate. We must all be safer, more efficient, and responsible and we’ll get results faster through collaboration and the kind of break-through thinking the #DisruptMining platform is meant to uncover for our industry.”
Finalists pitched their competing innovations to a shark-tank-style panel of industry leaders at a live finale event held during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s annual convention. Over 500 mining executives, investors, and financiers were in attendance.
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Austria-based automation solutions provider, Andritz, was crowned the winner of #DisruptMining pitch competition. The company developed a way of training AI to operate a mineral processing facility. The AI is trained to respond to a variety of situations, making it capable of adapting to changing inputs and improving recovery time. The trained AI’s ability to quickly process information and recommend data-driven solutions could allow for the improvement of the operation, such as start-up and shutdown, and assist operators to achieve plant-wide optimization.
Anaconda Mining, a gold mining exploration and development company, focused in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, was also named a finalist at #DisruptMining.
The company presented a new drilling approach with the potential to unlock value in narrow vein gold deposits. The SMD technology was developed in collaboration with Memorial University of Newfoundland. The company said in a statement that SMD has the potential to economically mine deposit types that would not be profitable using traditional underground or surface mining methods. The developers also expect this technology could extend the life of current operations by allowing safe excavation to occur beyond the limits of current designs.
“Our new method to mine narrow vein gold deposits is a great example of how collaboration between industry and academia can lead to the creation of globally important technologies,” said Allan Cramm, VP of innovation and development at Anaconda Mining. “To be one of the finalists in #DisruptMining puts our company and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador on the international stage of mining innovation.”
Germany-based Voith Turbo’s IoT application BeltGenius created a digital twin of belt conveyors which provides real-time insight into the behaviour of mining operations. Resulting from a machine learning system, this information is used to identify potential risks and inefficiencies, allowing for greater uptime, more efficient energy use, predictive maintenance and optimization of weight and speed. With the technology, Voith said mine sites can operate belt conveyors with greater control and consistency, increasing savings on repairs and transportation costs while reducing the environmental impact of traditional haul trucks.
“#DisruptMining continues to represent the best of innovation in the mining industry. These finalists demonstrate break-through thinking and help build digital momentum in mining. The industry needs to help accelerate the development of these kinds of technologies,” said Todd White, Goldcorp chief operating officer and executive vice president of operations.
Image courtesy David Howell, Anaconda Mining.