Evolution of a Mine Development System – Tunnel Boring Machine

CIM MEMO 2010
Abstract Evolution of a Mine Development System – Tunnel Boring Machine… international collaboration and people management required for success
By Neil Brown, P.Eng.

In 1998, Cameco’s Mine Development System tunnel boring machine (MDS#1) drove its inaugural tunnel at the Cigar Lake site in Saskatchewan, Canada - the world’s largest undeveloped high-grade uranium deposit. Cameco engaged Wardrop in 1999 to take over site technical support for the MDS’ electrical and control systems.

Wardrop helped prepare MDS#1 for a second tunnel in 2005. Following this, its control system hardware was updated and design changes improved control system reliability. MDS#1 was put back into service for the third tunnel, which was completed successfully in 2006.

In 2007, Cameco decided to build MDS#2. Wardrop was consulted. With engineering and maintenance stakeholder input, it was decided to change the design of the MDS control system to use the same Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) hardware that is used elsewhere at Cameco sites. Wardrop’s role was to provide engineering (including simplification of the MDS instrumentation and cabling), procurement support and construction management for the MDS’s electrical and control system and operator station.

The electrical, control system, and operator cab components were procured and preassembled in Canada and shipped to Austria for assembly where shop acceptance tests were completed in near record time.

This paper describes the evolution of the control system design and the collaboration required to achieve success.
Keywords: International, Evolution, Development System, Mine, Cameco, innovative, Maintenance, Design, Collaboration, Engineering
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