Sudbury digging deep for underground mining research

The Centre for Mining Excellence in Sudbury is launching a request for proposals that would be eligible for its $46 million Ultra Deep Mining Network, Northern Ontario Business reported earlier this month.

According to the publication, last January CEMI received $15 million from the Canadian government to make ultra-deep mining, defined as over 2.5 kilometres or more, more productive.

Areas likely to be researched include rock stress reduction, energy reduction, material transport and productivity, and improving the health of underground workers.

According to CEMI president Douglas Morrison, underground ventilation is likely to have the greatest impact on the profitability of ultra-deep mines.

“The ventilation cost is the single largest cost for any underground mine,” Northern Ontario Business quoted Morrison as saying. “And to make that single cost larger has a very large impact on the overall viability of the mine.”

Mines probing deeper underground in the Sudbury region include Vale's Creighton nickel mine, which is expected to extend nearly 10,000 feet below surface.

Meanwhile on Friday, delegates from several international mining companies were in Sudbury attending a conference to discuss the future of underground mining.

CBC reported that the conference, titled Deep Mining 2014, brought together mining personnel, consultants and researchers from around the world to discuss and document their experiences in deep mining.

The conference program included over 60 technical papers on topics such as mine planning, ventilation, rock mechanics and deep mining case studies, according to a conference website.