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Since the beginning of 2020 we have been reeling under the impact of the corona virus/COVID 19 pandemic that first struck China and South Korea and then in February spread to the rest of the world. Public life has, by and large, been seriously restricted and the economy is facing a recession the like of which we have not seen since the Second World War. And of course the mining industry has not been spared from all this. So far around 1,600 mining companies have had to close down their operations either temporarily or permanently, with serious implications for raw materials production … Read more

With my best regards // Mit freundlichem Glückauf
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas-Peter Sitte
Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf, Essen

ISSUE 03/2020

Smart Mining – Today and Tomorrow

Fig. 1. Developing people and technology – the Institute for Advanced Mining Technology of the RWTH Aachen University. // Bild 1. Menschen und Technik fördern – das Institute for Advanced Mining Technology an der RWTH Aachen. Photo/Foto: RWTH Aachen.

Digital technologies offer the potential to deliver significant improvements by improving the quality and availability of data and informations, which in turn can be the key to significant productivity gains. In addition, meaningful digital technologies can help to reduce the environmental impact. It is therefore assumed that digital technologies have the potential to be the key to the sustainability of the industry or at least to enable significant improvements. The future of mining is “smart”. However, as is often the case with popular slogans, the exact meaning is becoming increasingly fuzzy. Therefore, this article provides an overview of smart mining as a term, concept and global trend.

Authors/Autoren: Aarti Sörensen M. A., Prof. Dr.-Ing. Karl Nienhaus, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Elisabeth Clausen, Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT), RWTH Aachen University, Aachen/Germany

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Culturing Innovation in Mines

Technologies already exist to begin addressing some of mining’s biggest problems, but all too often, attempts to innovate yield disappointing results. It is not enough to build great strategies and hire bright people; to fully leverage what technology can offer, mines need to address fundamental issues with culture. This article discusses how to foster the curiosity, courage, communication, collaboration and diversity that culturing innovation requires.

Author/Autor: Amanda Truscott B. A. and M. J., CEO, Rithmik Solutions, Montreal/Canada

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Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems (SIMS), one Step Closer to the Mine of the Future

Fig. 2. Precise localization and positioning of vehicles underground is the basis for their automation. // Bild 2. Eine präzise Lokalisierung und Positionsbestimmung von Fahrzeugen unter Tage ist die Grundlage für deren Automatisierung. Source/Quelle: SIMS-Project

Today, every company involved in raw material extraction strives to work efficiently and effectively. In the article “Smart Mining – Today and Tomorrow” in this issue, smart mining and its implications have already been described and discussed in detail. The central challenge, according to one of the key statements of that article, is the actual implementation of what is understood by Smart Mining, i. e. the “what” and “how” in day to day operations. The “what” is the question of which technologies are required and best suited for which specific use cases. The “how” is about the integration of the technology into the existing processes of the respective mine. It is important to test the technologies to be used …

Authors/Autoren: Tobias Wendel M. Sc., Dr.-Ing. Ralph Baltes, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Elisabeth Clausen, Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT), RWTH Aachen University, Aachen/Germany

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Potential of Modelica for the Creation of Digital Twins

Digitalization is on path of fast development in all spheres of society. As an outcome the requirements on modeling of systems are increasing. This applies with regard to quantity and quality. In this context the tools for modeling have to be selected. Considering modeling a possible choice is the language “Modelica”. This language comprises different advantages, finally supporting safe use and effective reuse of already developed components. Especially Modelica is an efficient approach to model acausal interaction between objects, which practically occurs fairly in every system, e. g., in technical systems typical for mechanical engineering. The text comes with possible views on the term “digital twin”, which seems not to be defined exactly.

Author/Autor: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Prof. h.c. Stefan Vöth, Leitung Zentrum für Antriebs- und Hebetechnik, Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola (THGA), Bochum

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DMT – “Digital Mining Transformation” for the Raw Materials Industry

Fig. 1. Main pillars of DMT’s Mining 4.0 portfolio. // Bild 1. Themenschwerpunkte des Bergbau 4.0-Portfolios der DMT. Source/Quelle: iStock/DMT

Digitalization is on path of fast development in all spheres of society. As an outcome the requirements on modeling of systems are increasing. This applies with regard to quantity and quality. In this context the tools for modeling have to be selected. Considering modeling a possible choice is the language “Modelica”. This language comprises different advantages, finally supporting safe use and effective reuse of already developed components. Especially Modelica is an efficient approach to model acausal interaction between objects, which practically occurs fairly in every system, e. g., in technical systems typical for mechanical engineering. The text comes with possible views on the term “digital twin”, which seems not to be defined exactly.

Authors/Autoren: Christoph Klötzer M. Sc., Dipl.-Ing. Niklaos Christou and Dipl.-Ing. Julia Ridder, DMT GmbH & Co. KG, Essen/Germany, Dr. Ellen Rettig, TÜV NORD GROUP, Essen/Germany, Dr. Vassilis Roubos, DMT Group, Nottingham/UK

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Data Acquisition for Underground Mining Applications

Fig. 1. // Bild 1. Staircase (1).

Automation in all its aspects has been gaining in significance in the extractive industry and decision making in today’s mining sector is based as much on planning activities as on event-driven reactions. This means that machinery and sensor networks are increasingly required to gather data on individual operating modes and ambient conditions, this information then being transmitted to a mine control station for interpretation and analysis. For the mining industry measures of this kind have the potential to optimise planning and mining operations from a geological and technical perspective. The European Horizon 2020 research project “Real-Time Mining” comprises a consortium of 13 European partners who will be collaborating together on sensor-based updatable resource models for direct production control in real time.

Authors/Autoren: Dipl.-Ing. Tobias Krichler und Prof. Dr.-Ing. Helmut Mischo, Institut für Bergbau und Spezialtiefbau, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Freiberg, Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wilsnack, Ingenieurpartnerschaft für Bergbau, Wasser und Deponietechnik (IBeWa), Freiberg

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Efficient Raw Materials Production with IIoT – Inefficiencies in Mining

Fig. 2. Exemplary loading cycle between hydraulic excavator and dump truck. // Bild 2. Beispielhafter Ladezyklus zwischen Hydraulikbagger und SKW. Photo/Foto: talpasolutions

Efficient use of the available assets plays an important role for the economic viability of an operation in raw materials production. Nowadays, most planning and investment decisions are still only using experience and test data collected at the start of an operation as decision support. A comprehensive data collection using the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) not only allows to reveal inefficiencies in the overall operation, but can create transparency for everyday production processes and makes it possible to turn assumptions into actionable insights.

Authors/Autoren: Christopher Kühlbach M. Sc., Mirko Liebetrau M. Sc., Toyga Özver M. Sc., talpasolutions GmbH, Essen/Germany

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Optimisation of Ore Milling Processes Using On-line ­Particle Size Distribution and Solid Content Analysis

Fig. 1. Schematic of the OPUS measurement principle. // Bild 1. Schematische Darstellung des Messprinzips von OPUS. Source/Quelle: Sympatec

The particle size distribution of ground minerals is of decisive importance for downstream processes like flotation, separation, drying or others. In order to optimize process efficiency on one hand and final product quality on the other hand, early control of the grinding or classification stage is essential. The ultrasound-based particle size analyser OPUS of Sympatec GmbH, Clausthal-Zellerfeld/Germany is capable of performing on-line particle size distribution (PSD) and solid content measurement of mineral slurries such as iron ore, copper ore, fluorspar, quartz sand and alumina directly in a tough process environment.

Authors/Autoren: Fabian Borrmann M. Sc., Dip.-Ing. Christian Behrens, Sympatec GmbH, Clausthal-Zellerfeld/Germany

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International Mining Remains the Bedrock of our Industry

Fig. 2. Development trend for German imports of raw materials. // Bild 2. Entwicklung der Rohstoffeinfuhren nach Deutschland.
Source/Quelle: VRB

Given the ongoing corona crisis this is perhaps an appropriate moment to examine what is happening in the overseas mining sector in these uncertain economic times. The German economy continues to require increasing quantities of raw materials, a demand that simply cannot be met from indigenous sources. Moreover, Germany will also be faced with logistical difficulties if the shutdown that has been imposed both at home and in the supplier countries continues for any length of time.

Author/Autor: Dr.-Ing. Martin Wedig, Geschäftsführer der Fachvereinigung Auslandsbergbau und internationale Rohstoffaktivitäten (FAB), Berlin/Germany

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