More than 90 years after its closure, the historic Victoria Mine in Sudbury, Ontario is about to resume mining activity.
KGHM International recently announced plans to proceed with its mine project, located south of the original Victoria Mine that ran from the 1890s to the 1920s. According to a feasibility study currently in its final stages, the new site contains an estimated 1.4 billion pounds of copper and nickel, and more than 200,000 pounds of platinum group elements (e.g. platinum, iridium).
The project calls for two mine shafts, with one scheduled for full operation by 2019. Once completed, early production can begin. Full production capacity, however, will not happen until 2023.
Shaft installations take years to finish, not just because there’s a vast amount of earth and rock to excavate. Most installations today are still done using the “drill and blast” cycle, according to G.W. Barr of the R.D. Parker Collegiate in Thompson, Manitoba. The cycle itself, drilling and blasting aside, consists of four more steps of removing material and trimming the shaft.
The shaft will be the only way in and out of the deepest parts of the mine, which is why it serves multiple purposes. Heavy-duty mine cages form part of a typical shaft system that also houses mine skips for transporting mined ore to the surface, a manway for emergency purposes, and miles of pipes and cables.
Ventilation shafts don’t have cages or skips for transport; these provide breathable air for the miners below. In addition, mine shafts aren’t only vertical; they can also run on an incline that provides access to the riches over a wide area. It takes careful planning to set up a mineshaft, so it’s no surprise that mining companies take their time.
Mine equipment manufacturers like Wabi Iron & Steel Corp. may not be in the business of shaft sinking, but they make equipment suitable for specific projects. Mining companies need only to worry about ensuring the smoothness of the sinking process to proceed with the next step of mine development, particularly by setting up the custom-made mine man cages.
In the mining industry, the announcement of new shafts heralds expanded production. Wherever or however long shafts need to be, mine equipment manufacturers like Wabi Iron & Steel Corp. can provide the appropriate custom conveyance solutions.
(Source: “‘Full speed ahead’ for Victoria Mine, says KGHM manager,” Northern Life, February 11, 2015)