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Specialized services to industry

If you are in the mining industry, CanmetMINING can help you. It offers many specialized services to meet your needs. CanmetMINING expertise includes engineers and technologists with extensive specialized knowledge as well as state-of-the-art laboratories. The following are some of the services we offer. For more information, contact:

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Simulating rock masses in the lab to optimize mine design and ensure safety: geomechanics and rock mass characterization

Characterizing rock masses is a key component of any mining operation. Rock mass characterization helps optimize the mine’s design and ensure the safety of personnel and equipment in the mine. One of the main risks to mine performance is the uncertainty of rock quality. CanmetMINING conducts research and development to understand rock mass behaviour and particularly how a rock mass will respond to excavation. It does this through long-term characterization in the laboratory, using geomechanics to mimic the forces affecting the underground rock mass.

Geodynamics to support underground excavations

Most underground excavations require artificial rock reinforcement to maintain tunnel stability and ensure the safety of personnel and equipment. The rock reinforcement must match the anticipated response of the rock mass. The design must take into account both static conditions (for example, supporting the weight of the surrounding rock) and dynamic conditions (such as surviving additional forces that may be instant and without warning, as in the case of a rockburst). The CanmetMINING ground control testing laboratory can help industry by testing the strength of rock reinforcement elements. Testing is done under a variety of laboratory-simulated mining conditions, including both static and dynamic conditions, to accurately characterize the elements’ behaviour and performance.

Micro-seismic monitoring and analysis

There is a growing interest in micro-seismic monitoring in the oil and gas industry. The recent surge in extracting unconventional resources, such as shale gas and heavy oil, involves the use of newer technologies. Both hydraulic fracturing and steam injection change local pore pressures and in situ stresses. These can result in brittle failure in intact rock and slip shearing in naturally fractured rock. These irreversible changes to the material’s internal structure create acoustic emissions, or waves in solids, known as micro-seismic events. Monitoring these events can provide information on the integrity of oil well casings or on the potential for shale gas to migrate, which may harm the environment.

CanmetMINING has adapted its expertise in geomechanics and rock testing, as well as in seismic research and monitoring, for this new research niche. CanmetMINING is working in collaboration with the Canadian industry to analyze and interpret data from a passive seismic monitoring network in an oil sands operation.

Diesel particulate matter: control, sampling and analysis

In 2012, the World Health Organization categorized the small particles in diesel exhaust (particulate matter) as causing cancer in humans. CanmetMINING is a pioneer in this field, recognized worldwide for its efforts to protect workers from exposure to diesel particulate matter. In this program, CanmetMINING measures concentrations of particulate matter in order to evaluate tools to mitigate the particulate matter, for example, the use of filters.

Certifying diesel engines for use in underground mines

CanmetMINING provides specialized services to test and certify diesel engines for use in underground mines. To do so, CanmetMINING operates the only dynamometer facility in Canada that is equipped, staffed and accredited (ISO 17025) to perform this testing according to standards of the CSA Group and the US Mine Safety and Health Administration. CanmetMINING determines the emissions of each diesel engine and calculates the required ventilation rates to ensure safety. This means all Canadian provinces and territories can allow the use of these engines underground. It also allows mine operators to save energy by buying the best, cleanest and most fuel-efficient engines.

See the current list of certified diesel engines

Canadian certified reference materials project (CCRMP)

Certified reference materials, such as specific rocks, ores and environmental materials, are used in scientific studies to verify the accuracy and precision of various instruments. Labs from countries across the world have purchased certified reference materials from CanmetMINING. The Canadian certified reference materials project has over 75 materials in stock, including copper, zinc, gold and more. For more information, consult Certified reference materials.

Proficiency testing program for mineral analysis laboratories (PTP-MAL)

This program assesses the performance of mineral analysis laboratories for one or more analytical methods. It provides assessment that is independent of the laboratory’s internal quality control. Laboratories must participate in the program to be accredited for mineral analysis by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). This accreditation ensures conformance with the ISO/IEC 17025 standard “General requirements for the competence of calibration and testing laboratories.”

The Proficiency Testing Program for Mineral Analysis Laboratories (PTP-MAL) works in cooperation with the SCC’s Task Group Laboratories Mineral Analysis Laboratories Working Group to define the criteria and target values for assessing laboratory proficiency.

The program responds to the needs of Canadian mineral analysis laboratories. It follows the ISO/IEC 17043 standard “Conformity Assessment – General requirements for proficiency testing” and the CAN-P-1579 standard “Guidelines for the Accreditation of Mineral Analysis Testing Laboratories.”

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Research and development for radioactive waste management

Radioactive waste is generated in Canada from uranium mining, milling, refining and conversion, as well as nuclear fuel fabrication and nuclear reactor operations. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission requires companies to manage this waste in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. Many chemical interactions occur when materials come in contact with radioactive waste. Storing waste also involves long-term plans. These factors make developing new and improved technologies for nuclear waste stabilization complex. At CanmetMINING, the waste management lab develops innovative methods and techniques to characterize, treat and stabilize solid and liquid radioactive waste. Our research themes include:

  • solidification and stabilization: developing optimum cementing mixtures, in terms of strength, durability and chemical stability, for long-term storage of radioactive waste
  • encapsulation: developing environmentally friendly and high-performance materials for storage and disposal facilities
  • sampling, characterization and assessment: providing essential analytical services for research and development for radioactive and hazardous waste
  • waste engineering and contaminant inventory mass balance: developing, testing and assessing comminution processes; developing technologies for sampling and statistical material balance to develop and monitor metal recovery and stabilization processes
  • metals recovery: extracting and recovering key elements from radioactive and hazardous waste

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