Fuel cell risk assessment, regulatory compliance, and implementation of the world’s first fuel cell-powered mining equipment at the Campbell Mine

Abstract The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell locomotive was successfully demonstrated at the Placer Dome Campbell Mine in Balmertown, Ontario. This demonstration was a success based on the following criteria:

safely demonstrated the operation of a hydrogen-powered fuel cell locomotive in a production situation;
determined the regulatory and operational requirements for future fuel cell mining equipment;
determined technical and soft issues critical for future fuel cell applications; and
determined the level of market acceptance for a fuel cell in an underground mine.

The success of this project was due to both the implementation process and the large team effort from the 12 companies involved. The successful implementation of a new technology, such as a fuel cell application in an underground production mine, requires many challenges to be overcome. These challenges included mine hardening of new technology, mitigation of safety risks and hazards, ensuring mine operation personnel support, and coordinating the technology transfer to mine staff.

As with all aspects of mining operations, health and safety are the number one priorities. One of the more challenging aspects of implementing a new technology is addressing both the perceived and actual health and safety risks early in the development of the project. Significant effort was required for risk and hazard identification, analysis, response planning (risk mitigation), and monitoring and control. Of the 127 risks identified, 40 required action plans to mitigate the potential risks. These action plans were appropriate to the severity of the risk and realistic to the project context. Before testing commenced, all identified health and safety risks had been mitigated sufficiently to be monitored and controlled during the underground tests.

For new equipment, such as a fuel cell locomotive, existing regulations and standards for underground mines usually do not specify requirements. For this situation, a significant review was undertaken to identify pertinent legislative requirements, available industry standards and codes. The participants of the risk analysis workshops also identified a number of standards to consider in addition to the standards identified during the investigation. Regulations were identified from the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. The workshop participants included specialists in the areas of research and development, manufacturing, mining operations, regulatory bodies, and engineering consulting. An engineering review of the design was undertaken to ensure that good engineering practices were utilized for all aspects. The engineering review considered recognized standards related to pressure vessels, pressure piping, electrical codes, and the use of electricity in mines. Through this multi-discipline approach, all aspects of design, safety, and operation of the equipment were addressed.

Early involvement of the demonstration site contributed to the success of the project. Strong support of mine management and support from corporate office provided the commitment and the required people for the ongoing progress of the project. A person from the site became the site champion and maintained communications with mine staff about project developments and ensured their concerns were considered and resolved. By maintaining the same team that participated in risk workshops, designs, and regulatory reviews, the consistent information was vital to answering questions and alleviating concerns from mine staff.

A final report that detailed regulations and standards compliance, the engineering review, risk assessments, and operating procedures was compiled and formed the basis of completing the pre-development review as required by the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations for Mines and Mining Plants.
Keywords: Fuel cell, Risk management, Regulatory compliance, Campbell Mine.
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Summary: Environmental desulphurization is an attractive alternative for the management of acid generating tailings. Sulphide bulk flotation is the most commonly used method to produce desulphurized tailings, as shown from many previous works. This process can reduce the volume of problematic tailings to manage by making a sulphide fraction concentrate. The desulphurized tailings can then be used as construction material for an engineered cover to prevent acid mine drainage.
Results from different...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): D. Bois, M. Benzaazoua, B. Bussière, M. Kongolo, P. Poirier
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Issue: 1087
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Summary: Traditional planning of mines and scheduling of production is largely based upon the modelling of ore grade. It is known, however, that grade is not the only characteristic that can be taken into account to maximize performance at the processing plant and efficiency of tailings disposal. Ore processing plants respond well to feed that is consistent over time and that has known physico-chemical characteristics, which can be used to improve plant design and performance through the management of...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): A. Richmond, R. Dimitrakopoulos
Keywords: Stochastic spatial simulation, Ore texture, Ore reserves.
Issue: 1087
Volume: 98
Year: 2005
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Summary: Over the last few years, a number of research projects to prove out the concept of applying fuel cell technology to underground mining vehicles have been managed by Vehicle Projects LLC for the Fuelcell Propulsion Institute. These have been carried out with the support of mining companies, trade unions, regulatory agencies, equipment manufacturers, research laboratories, technology developers, universities, and consultants.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology is clean and produces only water and...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): M.C. Bétournay, P. Laliberté, R. Lacroix, C. Kocsis, S. Hardcastle, G. Desrivières, P. Mousset-Jones, G. Righettini
Keywords: Fuel cell, Diesel, Costs, Benefits
Issue: 1087
Volume: 98
Year: 2005
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Summary: The 20th century saw changes in the mining and metallurgical industry not only technically but also in social and environmental expectations. As projects become larger their visibility raises concerns among communities of interest, and mining companies must adopt a transparent and open approach to assure success. An equally important task is to anticipate the standards that will be required to meet expectations.
Early mines left waste and spoil piles around the surface and the images of...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): D.J. Kemp
Keywords: Sustainable standards, Sustainable development, Environmental awareness, Corporate attitudes, Community attitudes.
Issue: 1087
Volume: 98
Year: 2005
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Summary: In 1997, a group of Canadian mining companies met to review the Mine Environment Neutral Drainage (MEND) program and to consider future activities. They concluded that Canadian industry and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) should fund a small secretariat in Ottawa to support technology transfer in Canada, and that it was important for industry to continue the momentum of MEND on an international scale.
The need for the International Network for Acid Prevention (INAP) was strongly endorsed by...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): R. Gallinger, B. Kelley
Keywords: International Network for Acid Prevention,Waste management, Acid drainage.
Issue: 1087
Volume: 98
Year: 2005
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Summary: The Las Cristinas deposit in Venezuela contains proven and probable reserves of 12.8 million ounces of gold at a grade of 1.20 g/t. The deposit comprises fully oxidized saprolite (SAPO) overlying a layer of sulphide-enriched saprolite (SAPS) which lies above carbonate- leached bedrock (CLB) and carbonate stable or un-leached bedrock (CSB). Gold occurs at a similar concentration in all lithological units.
Virtually all of the copper originally in SAPO has been leached out and deposited in the...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): J.R. Goode, K.G. Thomas
Keywords: Las Cristinas, Gold, Saprolite, Gravity, Leaching, CIL, Thickening, Rheology, Natural degradation, Cyanide destruction, Plant design.
Issue: 1087
Volume: 98
Year: 2005
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