The best in new technology
Vince Morello, Kelsey Rolfe and Kate Sheridan
◢ Dust buster
||Dust kicked up in underground mines can be a distraction and a hazard. Australian dust-management companyReynolds Soil Technologies (RST) hopes to clear the air with its new suppressant, Hammer. “In many instances in underground mining, the miners can find it difficult to actually identify all the different dust sources,” said David Handel, RST’s senior technical director. “As a result, we focused our R&D department on developing a single product that would treat trafficked areas and seal non-trafficked areas.” When mixed with water, Hammer suppresses dust lift-off by grouping up the dust particles, making them bigger and heavier. This in turn reduces the amount and the height of dust that is lifted into the air, ensuring that miners are working in a safe environment. As the product builds up in the workings over time, less suppressant is needed to keep dust down. – Vince Morello
◢ Modular flotation
Modularization is an increasingly popular way for miners to cut costs at their operations. Outotec is following that trend with the release of its cPlant, a modular and mobile flotation plant that starts off with a low level of automation, but can be fully automated based on the requirements of the operation. The plant includes Outotec’s flotation technology with its FloatForce mixing mechanism, and other TankCell technologies and features. As the plant is modular, clients can add or subtract flotation cells depending on the needs of their operations. Outotec’s product manager Mikko Sorri said the plant’s mobility is useful for mines with shorter lives. “Being mobile, it actually can be re-used in another site, so you can run the plant for five or seven years, and transfer it to another place afterward,” he said. Sorri said the cPlant is ideal for smaller plants with a capacity range of up to 2.5 million tonnes per year, but could also be used in large plants in a cleaner stage, or a selective flotation state where the capacity requirements are less.
– Kelsey Rolfe
◢ Visualizing value
It can be difficult to appreciate a mineral deposit’s potential with merely 2D visualizations, so ARANZ Geo has created a different perspective for geological models through its Leapfrog Aspect mobile phone application. The free download for Android devices is an augmented reality program intended to encourage collaborations among geologists in the field, and between technical specialists and boardroom executives and investors. Using a smartphone camera, the application overlays visualizations and relevant data compiled in one of the desktop-based Leapfrog programs onto the live environment, shifting around the visualization as the phone moves. “You’re seeing reality in addition to the digital data,” said PJ Hollenbeck, Leapfrog Aspect product manager. While a free desktop-based viewer exists for Leapfrog files, Hollenbeck explained the program lacked context for the size and position of the data in space. “This application takes it a step further. Now you can see it in the field or you can position yourself anywhere in the model and look around to understand the magnitude of the deposit,” he said. Hollenbeck said the company is working to enhance Aspect’s functionality and bring the application to virtual reality platforms like Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift.
– Kate Sheridan