Goldcorp’s Red Lake Mine Recognises Training Simulation Benefits
MINING.COM – SEPTEMBER 2014
With four shafts, 1,100 employees and nearly 500 contractors, Goldcorp’s Red Lake gold mine in Ontario, Canada is a massive operation, located in one of the world’s most prolific gold districts. Underground, the tunnels bustle with mining equipment, including LHDs and underground trucks.
With workforce health and safety a top priority, Red Lake invested in a fourth-generation CYBERMINE simulator made by global training simulator provider ThoroughTec Simulation. This was to help them not only maintain and improve safety levels but also productivity. The containerised system started being put to good use toward the end of 2013 and is proving to be a valuable part of the mine’s training and evaluation programme. The simulator is for a CAT R1600G LHD with the operation expecting another CYBERMINE simulator cab for a Sandvik EJC417 underground truck by the end of the year. Red Lake operates dozens of these vehicles for loading and hauling.
“We need to ensure that they’re ready to operate the scoop safely and productively.”
“We have an experienced workforce here at Red Lake, but that doesn’t mean the simulator is not a useful tool,” says Training Coordinator, Joel Campbell. “The qualified operators come back for remedial training and our production coordinator wants all scoop operators to re-certify every two years.” New operators must go on the simulator first before they head underground and operate the real vehicle. “For two days we put them through their paces and evaluate them on different scenarios. This gives the operators a chance to familiarise themselves with the controls and learn correct operating techniques. We need to ensure that they’re ready to operate the scoop safely and productively,” says Campbell.
The CYBERMINE system is proving useful for evaluating how the operator reacts in an emergency. “It’s obviously difficult to simulate a fire on the actual equipment, so the simulator is a very useful tool in simulating a fire and how the operator reacts to it and uses the fire suppression system as a practical option.”
With tires for an LHD costing the mine thousands of dollars each, ensuring they’re not unnecessarily worn down or damaged is vitally important. “Some scoop operators have been known to spin the front wheels as they drive the bucket into the muck pile, which obviously decreases tire life. The CYBERMINE system has allowed us to show operators how to avoid this,” says Campbell. CYBERMINE tracks when wheel slippage occurs and the status of all the vehicle’s sub systems. From there, the instructor can deduce how to correct this behaviour, ensuring the operator is in the correct gear and lifting the bucket at the correct time.
ThoroughTec also has CYBERMINE simulators at Goldcorp’s Cerro Negro site in Argentina, simulating a CAT underground truck and a Sandvik ADT, drill rig and LHD, with another drill rig simulator to come soon.