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Building the Mine of the Future

Author: Glencore Canada | Date: 08/01/2021

At our Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (Sudbury INO), we are reimagining the future.

As society increasingly demands a transition to a low-carbon economy, we are re-imagining how to go to new depths to attain the resources needed to build the green technologies a low-carbon economy demands.

The Onaping Depth project reflects that imagination. When completed, the deep mine project will provide a significant new source of high-grade nickel ore beyond year 2035 – a metal critical to electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries, solar panels and wind turbines.

But to reach the challenging depths posed by the project and build the mine of the future, the team had to, and continues to, reimagine the future by daring to ask “What if?” 

Building the Mine of the Future #1: What if?

In the second video focused on bringing the Onaping Depth project to life, Challenge Ahead, the team discusses how their approach to innovation is keeping them ahead of the challenges they face and laying a foundation for underground mining in the future.

In the third and final video in the series, Designed for Depth, team members discuss more of the specifics of designing for depth. Topics include making an early commitment to use battery electric vehicles and the need to establish a digital backbone in order to make the project economic while delivering a healthier, safer work environment for employees.

Building the Mine of the Future #2: Challenge Ahead

Building the Mine of the Future #3: Designed for Depth

The future of Sudbury INO is deep mining and its ability to design for it. Since receiving full approval for further development of the Onaping Depth project in late 2017, the team has been working on its development and finding ways to power its future.

So, what will this mine of the future look like? In a word: innovative. 

Onaping Depth represents a complete break from the traditional idea of underground mining. The digital age will be on full display with real-time remote management, monitoring, and control from surface. Technology will be integrated into the operation with the goal of removing workers from hazardous areas and out of the mine completely with remote and autonomous technologies, wherever possible. The mine will feature mine-wide wireless communication between employees and from underground to surface. The entire fleet of mining equipment will feature battery-powered electric vehicles, eliminating diesel emissions and reducing heat and noise pollution. New technology will also be applied to critical ventilation and cooling systems where the ambient rock temperature can reach 40°C at depth.

As we continue our innovation journey, we’d like to connect with you. Interested to explore our Mine of the Future projects further? Please contact us at sudbury.innovation@glencore.ca.