Having revisited the images and videos
of walls of flames bearing down on the
roads out of Fort McMurray during
the evacuation of the town in May, I am
amazed that the wildfire that cut through the
heart of oil sands country cost so few lives.
The fire claimed no one, and the evacuation of
some 80,000 people resulted in only two
fatalities. I would like to add my voice to the
many others celebrating the success of the
emergency response to what is now declared
the worst natural disaster in Canadian history.
There is likely not a community better
trained and equipped to respond to the logistical
demands of such a disaster. In our cover
story, “Damage control,” Chris Windeyer highlights some but by no
means all of the efforts mining operations and service and supply companies
committed to move people out of harm’s way as they fought against
Windeyer also relates the hard reality that the recovery will be a long,
tough, slow process, the success of which will be much more difficult to
capture than that of the evacuation. The task will be to rebuild the town –
its homes, schools, churches and workplaces – into a community that once
again sustains its members. It will be difficult to measure when the project
is complete, but those with the grit and persistence to return the town to
that place will deserve just as much acclaim as those who stepped up when
the flames were threatening.
In this issue, you’ll also find the results of our reader survey.
The overarching message was that you want us to keep our ears to the
ground for new and innovative technology, processes and operations
strategies, and pass along what we hear. That is a supremely reasonable
request and to that end, I would encourage you to have a look at Eavan
Moore’s technology piece, “The talking mine.” It is a great example
of what the Industrial Internet of Things looks like in practice. Also, keep
your eye out for our upcoming issue, in which we will tackle the subject
of innovation in mining head on.
The mining connection