Our Highland Valley Copper (HVC) Operations in south-central British Columbia has partnered with Dr. Roger Yu, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at nearby Thompson Rivers University (TRU). He is working to extract useful information from the large amounts of data that we collect on our energy use to help increase our energy efficiency in several key areas, including drilling, blasting, extraction, crushing, grinding and flotation.
Dr. Yu is a member of TRU’s Centre for Optimization and Decision Science, a research group that focuses on understanding complex systems through quantitative approaches. With the help of funding from Highland Valley Copper and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, TRU evaluated key performance indicators for energy consumption in the mining industry and developed a set of indicators specific to Highland Valley Copper.
TRU also created a predictive model that helped us to better understand their blasting, crushing and grinding processes, and how high-energy blasting was affecting the milling rate. This increased our understanding of how blasting relates to mill throughput, which enabled the operation to optimize blasting and minimize energy use in the mill.
Chris Dechert, General Manager at Highland Valley Copper, sees potential for additional research to assist the mine in operating more efficiently and is looking forward to working further with Dr. Yu and with other researchers at the university. “If research can help us become even 1% more efficient, that’s a dramatic saving,” he said. “Investing our research dollars in the local university is a win-win for everyone involved. At HVC, we are able to make energy usage decisions based on the predictive model, and TRU has had the opportunity to work with an industry partner to practice academic theories in a real-world setting.”