Major miners including OZ Minerals, IGO, South 32, Blackstone Minerals and Evolution Mining have launched the Electric Mine Simulation (EMS) challenge, encouraging innovators to present new electrification solutions for the mining industry.
Established in partnership with OZ Minerals’ Think & Act Differently incubator, the challenge comes as part of the Electric Mine Consortium (EMC), a collective first announced in March which also features Barminco and Gold Fields.
The eight-week online challenge is open to companies and individuals from around the world, asking innovators to propose an approach to design an open architecture, mine design simulation platform.
Prospective designs will initially be used to compare the differences of a fully-electric underground mine against its traditional diesel-powered equivalent.
Electrification is the future of mining, with the pursuit of decarbonisation an important part of a zero-carbon world.
The Electric Mine Simulation is about using experimentation to understand the impacts of electrification on mine design.
Those successful in their applications will join the Think & Act Differently incubator and be supported in developing a demonstration of their solution.
OZ Minerals’ transformation technologist Brett Triffett said the challenge will help the EMC understand the scope of an electrification step change.
“There is a great opportunity to use whole-of-mine simulations that integrate all of the dependent systems so we can understand the holistic value in transitioning from diesel to electric solutions in underground mines,” he said.
“We would like to be able to quickly build and test different mine designs, and compare things like productivity, costs, emissions and energy requirements.”
Triffett said the Electric Mine Simulation challenge is not just for innovators already immersed in mining, it’s for broader visionaries as well.
“We have invited the crowd to propose solutions because we are not currently aware of a platform that meets this brief. What we have learned from running previous crowd challenges is that there are often people from outside our industry who have ideas or technology that can be applied to mining,” Triffett said.
“These people are often unknown to us and in many cases they are unfamiliar with our industry. By participating in a crowd challenge, innovators can access a new market and be supported in developing new products and business models.”