Innovation and Technology

Bringing Breakthrough Ideas to Life

Bringing Breakthrough Ideas to Life

All across Teck, our people are bringing to life their ideas to improve health and safety, sustainability, productivity, and to reduce costs. Here are just two of those Ideas at Work, made possible by Teck’s Ideas at Work Fund.

Since the Ideas at Work Fund was announced in November 2018, dozens of submissions from employees across Teck have been received for projects with potential high value, but may be too difficult to advance through normal budget processes.

Here, we look at two more initiatives advancing, with the support of the Fund, and that have the potential for deliver big benefits to Teck.

Idea at Work: Dust Abatement Antennas at Carmen de Andacollo

Key Potential Benefits: Improved air quality, reduction in dust levels, predictable blasting

Challenge

Improving air quality and reducing dust in the Andacollo region in Chile remains a key priority for CDA. Controlled blasts in the region frequently require rescheduling based on the impact that weather conditions would have on dust emissions in neighbouring communities.

Through a variety of dust management techniques, CDA has made significant progress in this area in recent years; however, Claudio Canut De Bon, Mine Production and Planning Manager, and Paulina Puentes, Environment Coordinator are championing a new tool that could transform the way the issue is handled.

Idea

Following a successful pilot project, Claudio and Paulina suggested further exploring the use of dust abatement antennas. Set up at designated blast sites, these antennas use electromagnetic waves to control particulate. Once charged, the dust particles agglomerate together and increase in mass—they get heavier—which causes them to fall to the ground. This ultimately allows for greater control and predictability around blasting areas, leading to a potential reduction in dust emissions both on- and off-site.

What’s Next

The team is currently planning to have installation complete and the project up and running in Q1 of 2020. Results will be monitored; pending, continued success, there may be applications elsewhere at Teck, like the Elk Valley.

Idea at Work: The Nanozen Project

Key Potential Benefit: Better occupational exposure identification and control

Challenge

Fording River, Greenhills and Highland Valley Copper operations, together with the support of Corporate Health and Safety, are making strides to introduce changes in the way occupational exposures are measured and managed, not only at Teck, but potentially across the mining industry.

Mining activities result in a variety of airborne particulates that present long-term health risks. These exposures can be difficult to detect and monitor—particularly at an activity level. Current technology designed to measure these exposures provides only average results during a shift and can require days or even weeks to get results. So the Occupational Health & Hygiene team set out to find a better solution.

Idea

Enter Nanozen, an innovative approach to occupational exposure monitoring. Nanozen monitoring technology uses sensors to provide data on the size and concentration of particulate exposures in real time. Analysis of the results can then track highs and lows, determining which activities pose the greatest exposure risk, enabling the team to find targeted ways to reduce exposures.

What’s Next

A six-month project piloting the use of Nanozen began at Greenhills, Fording River and Highland Valley Copper in October 2019.

“Understanding occupational exposures in real time will enable our operational teams to better manage exposures to protect the long-term health of our workforce,” says Corrine Balcaen, Teck’s Director of Occupational Health and Hygiene. “We think Nanozen has the potential to help us achieve that.”

Have an Idea?

If you have an idea for consideration for the Ideas at Work Fund, discuss it with your supervisor, or submit it through the Ideas at Work process in place at your site or office. Eligible ideas will be shared with General Managers and corporate department Vice Presidents, who can then help take them forward for further consideration.

An Ideas at Work Fund form is also available on connect.teck to provide guidance on things to consider when bringing an idea forward. Completing this form is a helpful way to prepare for discussions around your idea, but not required as part of the submission process.

For further assistance with developing idea submissions, the Technology and Innovation group is also available to help as well, by contacting Keith Mayhew, Manager, Technology and Innovation or Daniel Parker, Manager, Technology and Innovation.