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Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SIMS (Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems)

Período documentado: 2018-11-01 hasta 2020-04-30

Access to raw materials is vital for the green transformation, as the technologies needed are dependent on metals and minerals. Also, the world population is increasing, and living standards are becoming higher, creating an increasing demand for metals and minerals. Substitution and resource efficiency is vital, but the need for materials from primary sources will still increase. This, in combination with the fact that we will need to mine at increased depths and with lower grades, presents us with great challenges when aiming for a secured sustainable supply of raw materials.
The mining sector aims to be an enabler for a sustainable society and thus needs to meet these challenges and start to achieve some significant groundbreaking innovations.
The overall objective with the SIMS project is to develop, test and demonstrate front end technology and solutions in a ground breaking way. The project vision is to create a long-lasting impact on global raw material supply by testing and demonstrating new intelligent and sustainable technologies and solutions for the global mining industry.
The project meets 4 main objectives:
Efficiency - To increase resource, energy and production efficiency and competitiveness.
Safety - To reduce the risk of rock falls and exposure of workers to hazardous situations.
Environment -To minimize the environmental impact of mining operations.
Trust - To increase public trust, awareness and social acceptance for mining.
You can follow the whole SIMS project journey at the project’s Twitter @SIMSmining.

SIMS has demonstrated multiple leading key final results for the mining industry:
1 Fully electrical underground mining machines, now available on the market.
2 Virtual Reality (VR) Environments for training, education and as an outreach tool, now available for companies, universities, science centers and the general public.
3 Aerial underground mine inspection, now to be used in underground mines. A new startup company was started from this idea.
4 Application of intelligent rock bolts increasing in efficiency of over 60%, now on the market.
5 5G enabled industrial communication network for voice data, sensors and machines, enabling
flawless operation of multiple mobile mining machines, now to be used in operational mines.
6 Revolutionizing underground navigation system Onboard, allowing drivers of underground vehicles and machines to navigate in the mine, just as one would with a car navigator. The product is now on the market.
In all of these example of great project results, the participants of the SIMS project have worked very closely to combine technical development with a safe and attractive workplace, with the aim of always keeping a human focus.
The project addresses the call for intelligent mining on land, and aims to develop, test and demonstrate relevant technologies, all aiming at realizing the vision of the intelligent mining system. To meet the project vision and support EU strategies as outlined in the call we have addressed the project objectives by selecting pilot test areas in production areas and tests that will support this. The testing has been conducted at seven test environments in operating underground mines and in a VR lab.
The consortium strongly believes that the general public, young people, decision makers, and our other stake holders, will be more positive to the mining business if they know more about how the EU strives to reach even more safe, sustainable, efficient, and, for all kind of workers, more attractive workplaces.
For the mining sector to be, and to be seen as, an enabler for the world’s sustainable green transformation, the SIMS project has made a lot of efforts to not just take steps to develop technologies to the next level but also to make the achievements visible for the general public including our very important stakeholder, young people. The SIMS project has produced more than 50 films to show our challenges and achievements to the general public, created and used two world unique VR environments, where several of the project pilots are visible, and has been very active in showing the SIMS project’s progress on the project website and on social media.
The following is a summary of the results per WP. To find more about the project results, please see https://www.simsmining.eu/highlights/

Communication and positioning
Implemented and evaluated a 5G enabled industrial communication network enabling high performance communication for voice, data, sensors and machines. Demonstrated flawless operation of multiple remote-controlled mining machines.
Onboard™ is a revolutionizing new product that allows drivers of underground vehicles and machines to navigate in the mine, avoid traffic congestions and, in case of an evacuation event receive navigation assistance to the closest rescue chambers.
Demonstrated live that sensors underground on the 5G enabled communication network make it possible to control ventilation in the mine based on NO, SO, CO, CO2 and dust data from the sensors.
Demonstrated development of a widespread precision underground positioning system for tracking personnel, car vehicles and autonomous aerial vehicles using Ultra-Wideband technology.

Battery Machines
Developed and tested a new generation of battery powered mining machines: a face drill rig, a mine truck with a load capacity of 42 tons, and a loader with a capacity of 14 tons. The working environment is significantly improved due to lower diesel particulate matters, noise and vibrations.
Attractive Workplaces
Produced two books - a handbook on designing ergonomic, safe, and attractive mining workplaces, attractive both to the mining industry’s current workforce as well as its future, more diverse and qualified workforce. The second book is a multi-disciplinary digital guide of social management of new technology.
Ground Control
Demonstrated how to improve safety underground by limiting exposure to seismic events and rock bursts by developing and proving the effiency of a ground-breaking method for controlled seismic destress blasting.
Improved rock bolt and mesh installation efficiency by 64%, and increased safety for miners with a newly-developed 1-step bolting method using a 2-part resin anchoring system.
Developed a new mobile real-time thermal-imaging-based technology allowing for rapid scanning of the face for crack detection and for identification of the boundaries between ore and waste rock in underground rock surfaces.

Robotics in Mining
Developed and demonstrated a robotized charging machine for underground mine applications, a driver assist technology for diesel-free machines, and prototypes of mine-ready autonomous aerial platforms, which can navigate along tunnels, based on onboard sensing and computing.

Process control and automation
Developed and tested a fleet manager system that improves communication, data quality and productivity. A business intelligence dashboard has been developed to evaluate the results. Developed and tested the mine simulator SimMine to enable comparison and evaluation of different scenarios without disturbing the production.

Education
Built and tested an operational VR-platform of a mining environment including the blasting cycle, used as an educational tool for students.
SIMS has demonstrated multiple leading key final results beyond the state of the art for the mining industry as stated in the overall summary. Key results 1 to 6