October 2015

The best in new technology

Compiled by Michael Yang

◢ Breathe easy

Silica, coal dust and diesel particulate matter are just some of the many dangerous airborne hazards that can circulate in mining workplaces. To stay safe in particularly dusty areas, miners typically have only two options: light but ineffective paper masks or bulky rubber ones. With this in mind, RZ Industries recently released its new M2 mesh air filtration mask, which the best of both options. The mask is made from an extremely lightweight, breathable and abrasion-resistant nylon mesh material that forms to the natural contours of the user’s face over time. According to marketing director Joe Klatte, the mask is capable of filtering 97 per cent of particles with a size of 0.1 microns or larger, keeping out particles like silica and coal dust. “This is because of the improved high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter,” he said. “The charcoal fibers in the HEPA filter collect and trap particulates like a magnet.” The filter can last up to eight hours in harsh environments before it needs to be replaced, and comes with the option of upgrading to a carbon element to deal with chemical fumes and odours.

◢ Cool runnings

Tires play a critical role in the productivity of haul trucks, directly affecting how much they can carry and how fast they carry it. “The biggest limitation on tires is usually the amount of heat generated on the crown, which can lead to premature wear and tear if they are pushed too hard,” said Mary Ann Kotlarich, spokesperson for Michelin. However, with Michelin’s new XDR250 tire, designed specifically for 250-ton (227 metric tonnes) haul trucks, the average operating temperature in the crown runs eight degrees Celsius cooler than preceding models. According to Kotlarich, this is due to a new, more ventilated tread pattern that utilizes smaller blocks and more grooves for better heat dispersion. The tire can also hold 9.2 per cent more air than its predecessors to accommodate heavier loads and comes with Michelin’s real-time tire monitoring system installed. “The XDR250 improves the tons per mile hauled of the trucks by up to 25 per cent compared to other tires on the market, and achieves it without sacrificing any tread life,” said Kotlarich.

◢ Extensive on-site analysis

Getting quality mineralogical data is the number one priority for any company developing an exploration project. But if they wish to analyze the drill cores on site, they have only one of two options: use handheld spectrometers or ship the samples to a lab for more extensive testing. “Not only is shipping drill cores very expensive but, by the time they arrive, fractures and other changes from their natural state will have occurred,” said Hugh De Souza, director of geological services with SGS Minerals. However, with SGS’s Corescan mobile lab service, all drill cores and chips can be analyzed on site with its hyperspectral scanning technology. “The technology allows for continuous scanning and collects data from more than 150,000 data points, as opposed to the three or four ones with handheld spectrometers,” said De Souza. The lab also uses high-resolution digital photography and a breakage measuring system to document the original state of the underlying rock, and hosts the information on its cloud-based Coreshed software.

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