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Agnico Eagle explores new technology frontiers, from SMR to BEV to augmented reality

Posted by Paul Moore September 8, 2022

Agnico Eagle says exploration has long been the lifeblood of its success, with a team of geologists searching above and below ground for the next major deposit. “That lifeblood now includes technology, a team of software engineers, computer scientists and information technology professionals exploring new frontiers to help shape the future of our company.” Minor said in a statement.

said Nancy Guay, Vice President of Technology, Optimization and Innovation at Agnico Eagle. Innovation is key to maintaining our reputation for sustainability and operational excellence and competitive advantage. We use advanced technology to improve underground safety and efficiency, reduce our carbon footprint and provide a healthier working environment for our employees. ”

Agnico Eagle said its technology and innovation team is continuously testing new technologies such as underground drones and augmented and virtual reality through proof-of-concept trials to demonstrate their feasibility in mining environments. . “The Lalonde mine in Quebec is already using drones underground to conduct detailed 3D surveys, creating incredibly accurate maps of the mine stops and galleries. We fly over these stops and galleries daily using LiDAR technology (Light Detection and Ranging), a remote sensing technology that accurately measures different distances to terrain using .

LiDAR technology not only captures high-quality digital data and images, but it also significantly reduces the level of detail in the data, delivering it in less time and at less risk, so you can monitor underground movements and ensure the safety of personnel.

“Flying a drone underground is all about safety, control and efficiency. Are there any safety or locking mechanics issues that need to be addressed?” Comment Director of Innovation Eric Trudel said:

LaRonde now plans to fully map the subterranean environment using LiDAR technology and will deploy more autonomous mining vehicles and equipment. Meanwhile, based on LaRonde’s success so far, Agnico Eagle’s Goldex and Nunavut mines are considering purchasing his LiDAR drones in the near future.

In addition, our technology and innovation team is currently exploring over 40 potential opportunities to enhance operational excellence in mining, processing, energy, environmental protection, health and safety. Initiatives they are pursuing include mechanical cutting machines for underground drilling. An exoskeleton device to better manage worker fatigue. Self-healing paint coating for remote settings. Automatic scoops, trucks and drills. and environmentally friendly, alternative gold recovery solutions.

“Each initiative or concept has a project manager who is responsible for managing all stages of discovery, from the initial technical evaluation through the testing and validation stages. We will help you acquire it and integrate it into your operational activities.”

Moving on to electrification, the company said:With electricity prices high in some areas of operation and Agnico Eagle’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050, the technology and innovation team is committed to not only improving energy efficiency but also reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We are looking for an energy management solution that will reduce the volume. ”

The team is looking at installing battery energy storage systems (BESS) to provide backup power during peak power demands and increasing the use of underground electric vehicles (battery-powered vehicles). We are also considering installing wind turbines to convert wind energy into electricity at remote off-grid sites. Research decarbonization and hydrogen energy options. We are also pursuing small modular reactors (SMRs) for remote mining sites. “This technology has the strongest potential to reduce the use of diesel generators and ultimately reduce the GHG emissions of his Agnico Eagle.We have partnered with Westinghouse to We are conducting proof-of-concept testing of the SMR.”

Our technology and innovation team is also testing the benefits of augmented and virtual reality in the mining environment. Augmented Reality (AR) is an interactive experience in a real-world environment where real-world objects are enhanced with computer-generated information. Virtual reality (VR) is a fully immersive experience that replaces the real world with a simulated environment. ”

LaRonde is already experimenting with AR lenses and is looking to implement them in interactive training for new hires. This technology could eventually be used by him across Agnico Eagle’s global sites. For example, LaRonde technicians can train Pinos Altos technicians on how to disassemble and reassemble a pump. “When you wear these glasses, you see a virtual model in front of your actual pump, and you can follow what the instructor is doing by visualizing step-by-step how to modify your pump. It can influence your competence in the field,” explains Trudel.

LaRonde is also looking at VR to simulate lifelike scenarios for training purposes. Trainees enter her 360-degree active learning environment and experience sights and sounds to break down the barrier between virtual and reality. “Workplace scenarios that were once too difficult, expensive, or posed potential safety risks, such as emergency preparedness or hazardous material spills, are more practical and cost-effective in immersive simulations. It is highly effective and safe.”

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