Provider of intuitive software solutions and services to the global exploration and mining industry, MICROMINE, has announced the completion of Stage One of the Pitram Automated Data Collection Project at the Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada.

The primary objective of the project is to accurately monitor the loading cycle of underground haul trucks. The project will also improve communication between haul truck operators and the Pitram Control Room, and ensure that the load tonnage captured by weight-cell system LoadMan® is accurately reported in Pitram. Through improved communication and reporting capabilities, Diavik, an underground diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, will increase productivity, reduce costs and improve safety.

MICROMINE credits an impressive collaboration with Diavik and LoadMan by Creative Microsystems, for the project’s success. In Stage One of the upgrade, Diavik has added automated data capture capabilities to its existing Pitram solution, and integrated Pitram with LoadMan weightometers on selected trucks. Stage Two will see Pitram’s automated data capture capabilities extended across the entire hauling fleet.

Pitram is a leading mine control and management reporting solution which records, manages and processes mine site data in real-time related to equipment, locations, personnel and materials. Pitram provides key personnel with an overall view of mining operations.

Pitram System Specialist – North America Josh Carroll explains, “As a scalable solution, Pitram has been developed to ensure every mine site has access to an application that is relevant to its specific requirements, stage of mine life and budget. As an operation grows and becomes more complex, Pitram can be configured and upgraded to meet the mine’s evolving requirements.

“Pitram was first implemented at Diavik in 2007. Over the years the solution has helped the site to accurately record mine activities, and has provided management greater control over the operation. Prior to the project’s commencement, all underground information was communicated by operators to the Pitram Control Room over the radio. Although effective, management recognized that communication could be further improved.

“As part of that improvement process, and to better monitor and strengthen the consistency of the loading and hauling process, Diavik commissioned a weight-cell system to be added to its hauling fleet. The system, LoadMan, allows the weight of material on a truck to be captured at the start and end of the load-dump cycle.”

Josh Carroll adds, “Pitram touch-screen computer units have been installed in four truck cabins and integrated with LoadMan. An accurate tonnage measure of each truck dump is now displayed on the Pitram computer unit once the data has been captured by LoadMan. The information is then made available to key personnel through Pitram’s reports.

“Additionally, all common Pitram events entered into the computer unit, including location and loader assignments, status (time model) changes, and cycle status changes, are communicated to the Control Room when trucks pass wireless access points.

“In Stage Two of the project, Pitram computer units will be placed in all truck cabins, extending the solution’s automated data capture capabilities across the entire hauling fleet. Stage Two will be finalized in the second half of 2013. The completion of this final stage will mark the end of the Pitram Automated Data Collection Project.

“Both Stage One and Stage Two of the project will dramatically reduce the amount of radio calls made between the mobile fleet and the Pitram Control room, reducing the overall radio traffic and increasing the dispatcher’s productivity,” he says.

MICROMINE’s Pitram staff remained onsite throughout the implementation to ensure Diavik’ s administrators and dispatch operators were fully supported and trained  on how to use the new system. Since the completion of Stage One MICROMINE has continued to provide off-site support.

The Diavik mine, a joint venture of Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Corporation, is on a 20sqkm island in Lac de Gras. The lake is 60km long and about 300km by air northeast of Yellowknife, the capital of Northwest Territories. In early 2003, construction of the mine was completed and diamond production commenced. The mine has a footprint of about 10sqkm and has an expected mine life of 16 to 22 years.

MICROMINE has recently deployed similar projects within a number of other sites, including Newmont’s Leeville and Midas mines in Elko, Nevada, and the Kinross Kupol mine in Russia. Most significantly, three automated Pitram solutions have now been deployed within North America, ensuring that operations within the region are utilizing the most sophisticated mine control and management reporting technology available.

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