Webster’s dictionary defines innovation as “the introduction of something new.” In my 40-year career I have been constantly amazed by the novel and creative ways that we in the mining industry have adapted and introduced new things — whether they are innovative methods, processes, technologies or equipment. Consider the following:
- The largest haul trucks in the early 1970s were 100 tons; they are now pushing 400 tons.
- The largest drive on a grinding mill used to be 10,000 hp; they are now approaching 30,000 hp.
- Ores and concentrates can now be transported in pipelines over hundreds of kilometres.
- Equipment and processes can be controlled and information about their condition monitored remotely from incredibly long distances.
- Slope movements in open pits can now be measured remotely in real time, thereby providing timely warning of impending failures.
- We can communicate in an underground mine via cell phones and radios — something unimagined 40 years ago.
We have never been afraid of trying new things in the Canadian mining industry. This has placed us as at the forefront of mining innovation worldwide and helped make Canadian companies and consultants greatly sought-after for their know-how.
On another note, as I write this, we are eagerly awaiting the start of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games. British Columbia and Vancouver and will be on display for the whole world to see. In a similar vein, the mining world can look forward to coming to Vancouver for the annual CIM Conference and Exhibition 2010 in May. The theme of this year’s conference is “Mining – Your Foundation for a Better World.”
The new and spectacular waterfront Vancouver Convention Centre will provide an ideal venue for this world-class event. A team of dedicated volunteers have put together a first-rate technical and social program. Come discover the leading-edge ideas, technologies and processes that will be driving Canadian mining innovation in the future. We look forward to seeing you all in Vancouver in May.
Michael J. Allan, CIM President