German/Sudbury Mining Safety Workshop a Success June 2017

Collaboration Brings Rewards: German Canadian Workshop 2017 Declared Success

Hugh Kruzel

On behalf of SAMSSA.CA \Special Series Part 2

With all the challenges of mining the sharing of information on new developments in safety, productivity and sustainability can deliver big benefits and speed improvements.

“Today is all about Health and Safety. Safety is a core Canadian mining brand” stated Vic Pakalnis, President MIRARCO at Laurentian University. “We are here for collaboration and the North Rhine – Westphalia visit symbolizes a new spirit of innovation, and exciting times for Canada.”

Notable signing: A Memorandum of Understanding (Mining Cluster Agreement) at the Willet Green Miller Building at Laurentian University on the 29th of June 2017 brought together administrative and industry representatives from Germany’s North Rhine – Westphalia and Sudbury industrial, SAMSSA /academic/research and the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation.

With a greeting from the Mayor and fellow councilors at the City of Greater Sudbury Al Sizer acknowledged: “The mining and modern technology sector in Greater Sudbury had a very promising year in 2016 and into early 2017, particularly in the areas of research, health and safety, and innovative mining technology.”

One of the first messages was that a strong safety culture – with zero fatalities – is achievable. “There is no other [acceptable] way” asserts Ulrich Meesmann, President of ISSA (International Social Security Association) Mining. He spoke about the European target of VISION ZERO where, “… every accident can be prevented” and lost time injuries too can be reduced through mandatory training. All participants echoed the need to be forever vigilant; that it takes leadership and a management commitment to change practices, procedures, education. Enforcement, motivation plus workers’ involvement and employee attitude result in control – and mastery – in a high risk environment.

MIRARCO’s Vic Pakalnis introduces members of the last panel discussion on the value of building and supporting Mining Networks and Clusters; how they are organized, how they nurture transactions – and best practices globally – was validated by the spectrum of participants’ backgrounds.

Pierre Gratton, President Mining Association of Canada: “It is every company’s philosophy today to ensure all workers return home safe at the end of the day.” Dr. Tammy Eger, CROSH (Laurentian University’s Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health) pointed out that though in ergonomics and wellness Europeans are leading us her team’s recent work on vibration attenuation, Line of sight/collision avoidance/proximity detection has great success in “prevention through research.”

Eger believes strongly in developing an educated workforce to control exposure. This, for her, includes the use of simulators to improve confidence and clear systems that are “easy” to follow and encourage compliance.

Under the VISION ZERO program Matthis Stenzal (Senior Consultant ISSA Mining) underscored that though workers and companies follow established laws, and have agreed upon standards for quarries or underground, even when driving on surface there are sometimes accidents, near misses and other challenges.

One of those may be exposure to small diameter particle deposition in lungs leading to acute and/or chronic disease. Jozef Stanchulak Manager, Strategic Diesel Research MIRARCO was adamant ventilation and filtration are not the answer; improved engine efficiencies, or all electric mines, though will be. Joseph McCarney, Manager International Business Development at Johnson-Matthey, identified that poor air quality could be solved now through catalytic chemistry, but that engineering (like the SCHARF system for zero emissions mining transport presentation offered by Stefan Meyer) and applied science thrown at the problem – and more research development and deployment – would provide additional solutions in the future.

Technische Universitat Berakademie Frieberg’s Dr. Helmut Mischo walks Don Duval, CEO NORCAT, through the organization of underground training methods used at the Frieburg Institute of Mining and Special Civil Engineering. The two had many areas of shared interest and consideration. Germany provides high quality equipment for deposit specific applications, and is the 3rd largest exporter of equipment world-wide. Beyond occupational health and safety teaching, and entrepreneurship NORCAT operates a functional production training mine.

In the final session of the day Andreas Noerthen Mining Authority of North Rhein-Westphalia talked about the importance of government and support through administration and legislation while Don Duval – CEO NORCAT – explored what the acknowledgment of a Mining Super Clusters would mean for research and all associated industries in the Sudbury Basin. In dialogue between centres of excellence he suggested both similarities and differences should be exploited.

Of further interest to the German attendees was Dick Destefano’s presentation on the Sudbury Area Mining and Supply Service Association (SAMSSA). SAMSSA contributes value through bringing suppliers/fabricators/purchasers together and relationship building. DeStefano indicated the changed attitude of Sudbury now to a technology and innovation hub compliments not just extraction and refining but brings economic stability. Developing intelligence in the “how to”, and successful marketing is essential in value-add for the economic health of the region and industry as well corollary improvements in health and safety for all workers.

Douglas Morrison (centre) speaks passionately about the Sudbury Mining Cluster. With 10 mines locally, a high concentration of university and college programs focused on the industry plus a healthy supply and services sector, Sudbury is – and can continue to be – a world leader. Add in the Ultra Deep Mining Network (and recent solutions for heat management) and expect new methods and process that improve safety, profitability, and sustainability.

Collaboration Brings Rewards: German Canadian Workshop 2017 Declared Success