Dean Lee Millar

Distinguished Lecturer 2015-16

Dean Lee Millar

The journey to the 40% mine

In the Canadian underground mining industry, on average, energy consumption costs are now over 18% of total operating costs and this proportion has been steadily increasing over the last 50 years. Without processes of continuous improvement in energy consumption, and/or driving down the cost of energy consumed, Canadian mines may lose ground in the competition that is the global mining business. Clearly there are also societal, environmental and sustainability benefits to be realised through energy management practices, but the chief driver of an economic activity such as mineral production should be lowering cost without compromising productivity, to maximize profit.

The "40% mine" is shorthand for a concept that promotes the introduction of step-change, disruptive technologies that will completely overhaul energy operations cost structures for mineral production. The aim is to bring about a sector wide reduction of primary energy consumption associated with mining to 40% of base year 2000 levels by 2040.

With reference to case studies, the lecture will show that it really is possible to achieve a 40% mine today, with technologies and innovations that are already market-ready. It will touch upon the use of maximum compression efficiency hydraulic air compressors, renewable energy technologies such as floating photovoltaic systems and wind turbines, the adoption of electrical loading and haulage equipment, underground comminution plant and air lift shaft haulage systems, as well as technologies established in other disciplines that may have applications in mining, such as cryogenic cooling.


Dean Millar is Director of the Energy, Renewables and Carbon Management (ERCM) group of MIRARCO and Professor of Energy in Mining within Laurentian University's Bharti School of Engineering. He is Fellow of the IOM3, holds a bachelor’s degree in Mining Engineering and a doctorate in Rock Mechanics, both from Imperial College, and is a Certified Energy Manager. Millar sits on the Executive Committee of the CIM Maintenance, Engineering and Reliability Society (MERS) and is the Energy Theme Leader for the Ultra Deep Mine Network.

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