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Specialized Mining Services

Proficiency Testing Program for Mineral Analysis Laboratories

CanmetMINING operates a Proficiency Testing Program for Mineral Analysis Laboratories (PTP-MAL) in in cooperation with the Task Group Laboratories Mineral Analysis Laboratories Working Group of the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). They are responsible for defining the metals of interest and the concentration range for each, as well as establishing the criteria and target values for assessing laboratory proficiency.

The proficiency testing program operates in full accord with ISO/IEC 17043 standard "Conformity Assessment –General requirements for proficiency testing" and CAN-P-1579, "Guidelines for the Accreditation of Mineral Analysis Testing Laboratories," striving in particular to respond to the needs of Canadian mineral analysis laboratories.

PTP-MAL is a means by which a mineral analysis laboratory can assess its performance for one or more analytical methods independently of internal quality control. Moreover, participation in the program is obligatory if a laboratory is to be accredited or is to retain its accreditation for mineral analysis activities by SCC to ISO/IEC 17025 "General requirements for the competence of calibration and testing laboratories."

Transformation/Dissolution Protocol for Metals and Sparingly Soluble Inorganic Metal Compounds

Within the United Nations Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, an approach was needed to generate the data that is required for the aquatic hazard classification of metal-bearing substances so that Canadian metal exporters could meet international regulatory requirements and continue to have access to markets for their products. CanmetMINING played a leading role in the development, validation and application of the Transformation/Dissolution (T/D) Protocol, which has been widely adopted as the accepted approach to determine the T/D characteristics of metals and sparingly soluble inorganic metal compounds. CanmetMINING continues to conduct research into the variables affecting the T/D characteristics of different metals and metal-bearing compounds for a wide range of industry clients. CanmetMINING has established a global reputation in this field of research based on its specialized expertise and research capability that is used to generate the data and analysis required by industry clients and that cannot be produced by commercial laboratories to complete technical dossiers for submission and review by regulatory authorities in the determination of the aquatic hazard classification of metals.

Geo-mechanics and rock mass characterization for mining

Rock mass characterization is a key component of any mining operation in regards to optimizing the mine design as well as ensuring safety in the mine. One of the principal threats to mine performance is the uncertainty related to rock quality. This research and development is conducted to ensure a thorough understanding of the rock mass behavior, as well as the anticipated response of the rock mass to excavation activity. Long-term laboratory geo-mechanical characterization provides information which is representative of the underground rock mass. CanmetMINING expertise includes engineers, technologists and a state-of-the-art laboratory for determining rock properties.

Geodynamics for static and dynamic support of underground excavations

Underground excavations require ground support, such as rock bolts, shotcrete, and mesh, to maintain stability and ensure the safety of personnel and equipment. Appropriate ground support design matches the support characteristics with the anticipated rock mass response. Both static conditions (i.e. supporting the weight of the surrounding rock), and dynamic conditions (i.e. surviving additional forces, which may be imposed instantaneously and without warning, as in the case of a rockburst) must be taken into consideration. CanmetMINING expertise includes engineers, technologists and a state-of-the-art laboratory for determining both static and dynamic properties of ground support elements.

Micro-seismic monitoring and analysis

The last decade has seen a significantly increased interest in micro-seismic monitoring by the hydrocarbon industry due to the recent surge in unconventional resources, such as shale gas and heavy oil. Both hydraulic fracturing and steam injection create changes in local pore pressures and in situ stresses and result in brittle failure in intact rock plus additional slip shearing in naturally fractured rock. These failures or slips yield acoustic emissions, known as micro-seismic events. Micro-seismic monitoring can provide pertinent information on the integrity of oil well casings, or on the potential for shale gas to migrate, thereby harming the environment. CanmetMINING expertise includes a team of researchers and professionals who are leaders, with extensive knowledge and know-how, in the field of seismicity.

CanmetMINING’s expertise developed since the 1980’s in geomechanics and rock testing for the characterization of underground nuclear waste repositories, as well as the expertise developed since the mid-1990’s in the field of seismic research and monitoring applied to underground oil sand extraction processes will be adapted and transferred to this new research niche. This CanmetMINING project is in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada’s Earth Sciences Sector and CanmetENERGY, as well as the oil and gas industry.

Mine hoist inspections

Mine hoists are responsible for the safe transport of people and material underground, so must be 100 percent reliable. Mine hoists are sophisticated machines. They are packed with the latest technology, including process control systems, variable-speed drives, electric motors, controlled braking systems, electrical networks, temperature control, limits of travel, and rope and shaft equipment protection – all of which are programmed and finely tuned to work together, reliably, efficiently and in a way that ensures these multiple levels of protection will prevent serious incidents. Mine hoist systems need to operate at maximum efficiency with optimum capital and maintenance costs. CanmetMINING expertise includes mine hoist inspectors, capable of ensuring compliance with regulations, including emergency deceleration rate during emergency stop, mechanical or tread wear compensation, drift in duty cycle due to tread wear, and any abnormal noises or changes in running temperatures, bearings and motor.

Diesel Particulate Matter control, sampling and analysis

In 2012, the World Health Organization categorized diesel particulate matter as a Group 1 or known human carcinogen. CanmetMINING is a pioneer in this field and is recognized world-wide for its efforts in protecting workers from exposure to diesel particulate matter going back to the 1980s. Expertise and facilities include a state-of-the-art laboratory for diesel particulate matter analysis (NIOSH 5040 method) as well as researchers and engineers with a combined experience totaling close to 100 years in the area of diesel particulate matter mitigation in the special context of underground mining.

Diesel engine certification for use in underground mines

CanmetMINING operates the only dynamometer facility in Canada that is equipped, staffed and accredited (ISO 17025) to perform specialized testing services and certification of diesel engines destined for use in underground mines (CSA and Mine Safety and Health Administration standards). This enables all Canadian mining provinces and territories to allow these engines underground with the knowledge that emissions have been characterized, and required, safe ventilation rates have been calculated. It also allows mine operators to realize energy savings by acquiring the best, cleanest and most fuel efficient engines.

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