Digital mining innovator, MineSense Technologies, advances through a challenging 2020
2020 has been a difficult year globally. The impacts of COVID have and continue to significantly impact mining operations. Despite these many challenges, MineSense has continued the introduction of its transformative technology working with mines around the world. The company is well positioned to dramatically ramp up commercialization in 2021, improving mines profitability by taking advantage of the maximum heterogeneity at the face to increase ore recovery and minimize waste processed. This profit improvement is even more critical as mines work to recover profits lost due to Covid-19 impacts in 2020.
To position itself for growth, MineSense started the year by closing a US$25 million equity financing. The financing had very strong support from existing and new investors and was led by BDC’s Industrial Innovation Venture Fund. Joe Regan, managing director of the Fund, noted that “following the impact of the global pandemic, mining companies will be looking for profit recovery and digital tools to increase the precision of their operations. MineSense is in a great position to meet this need by creating material profit increase and first-of-its kind visibility on in-pit ore recovery.” MineSense will use the funds to ramp up commercialization and further expand operations globally.
MineSense followed commercialization at Teck’s Highland Valley Copper mine, with commercialization of three new ShovelSense® systems at Copper Mountain Mining Corporation’s Copper Mountain mine in 2020. MineSense has been embedded into the mine’s s operating practices and is included as an enabling technology in their latest NI 43-101 Technical Report.
The company is growing globally, supported by local field services teams who normally work at mine sites. Covid-19 presented new challenges including restricted site access. The team responded by executing the first remote installations of ShovelSense systems “The flexibility and innovation by our Field Services and customer’s operations teams was instrumental for us in going live with multiple operating systems in Chile and Peru,” said MineSense’s EVP Business Development, Claudio Toro.
The MineSense ShovelSense System improves ore body visibility bucket by bucket in real time during the loading process. Trucks are then automatically diverted to the correct location, increasing value and revenue realized during the mining process. The technology also creates reductions of CO2 emissions/ton of ore produced, consumption of processing chemicals and reagents, energy and water, while maximizing metal recovery. “We are excited to provide mines with new, data driven capabilities for sorting ore and waste,” said Frank Hoogendoorn, chief data officer at MineSense. “Our sensors and onboard machine learning based algorithms provide real-time bucket grades at the earliest point in the extraction processes, which enables mines to extract ore more precisely and optimize downstream processes at a resolution that previously was out of reach.”
To support mine site operations and their ore decision making, MineSense now provides 24/7 data room technical support for continuous monitoring of all elements of system performance. To track value creation, customers access their data through MineSense’s Client Portal. This consists of data rich visualizations of ore/waste diversions, real-time grade data and operational diagnostics. This information assists grade control engineers and metallurgists in mine planning, downstream operations, and overall reconciliation.
The mining industry is undergoing a transformation in technology and “through its technological innovation, MineSense is able to build upon the digital and data ecosystem and create visibility where it didn’t exist before,” said MineSense President and CEO, Jeff More. When asked about MineSense’s contribution to the industry, More added, “This is a very exciting time for the mining industry, as MineSense is demonstrating that we can dramatically improve profitability and sustainability, supporting profit recovery after COVID.”