On September 16, 2020, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) officially announced that Motion Metrics is among the nine companies across Canada awarded a total of $24.8M in the latest round of funding. Motion Metrics is the leader of a collaborative, innovative project titled “A machine-vision and AI based solution for optimal comminution in mineral processing circuits”.
In an era of escalating climate crisis and increased pressure on natural resources, this funding comes at a critical time. With the $5.6M contribution from SDTC and the support of its consortium partners, Motion Metrics will design, develop, and deploy a commercial mine-to-mill energy efficiency solution over the course of the project which spans 3.5 years. Upon successful completion, mines worldwide will be able to order and deploy this solution, without changing their daily operations, to meet their sustainability targets while reducing their comminution costs.
SDTC is an independent federal foundation and Canada’s largest funder of domestic cleantech entrepreneurs. This flagship program aims to identify and fund Canadian companies developing and demonstrating new technologies with the potential to transform the environmental and economic prosperity of Canada and become global leaders in their field. SDTC moves at the speed of business to deliver timely and competitive sustainability solutions.
Established in 2001, SDTC has since invested more than $1.15 billion in 400 small- to medium-sized companies tackling everything from plastic waste to electric vehicle efficiency; today, these companies reduce greenhouse gases by an estimated 18.1 megatonnes annually.
Comminution, the process of reducing particle size so that valuable minerals can be liberated from the ore, consumes an estimated 4% of global electrical power and accounts for ~50% of overall power consumption at an average mine site. With this funding, Motion Metrics will develop a mine-to-mill solution that will reduce energy consumption during the comminution process by at least 15%. For a medium-sized copper mine, this energy saving translates to approximately 130K tonnes of CO2e and 2.6M cubic meters of freshwater savings each year.
In this project, the proposed solution by Motion Metrics focuses on the post-blast optimization of the comminution circuit. Specifically, Motion Metrics will use advanced digital imaging and AIoT (Artificial Intelligence of Things) sensors to measure particle size distribution (PSD), mineral composition, and other relevant variables to target two main areas for improvement:
· Reducing energy consumption: By measuring crusher/grinder input and output PSD, mechanical settings can be autonomously adjusted to achieve optimal closed-loop performance.
· Eliminating waste: By monitoring the ore content at various stages in the comminution process, low-grade waste can be eliminated from the energy-intensive processing stream.
These improvements will result in many important environmental benefits. Since power generation in many regions relies on fossil fuels, reducing electrical consumption indirectly reduces air pollution and carbon emissions. Eliminating waste from the processing stream means that mines will also be able to process less ore without affecting yield, leading to a reduction in fresh process water consumption and mining rates.
Motion Metrics is an industry leader in 3D imaging and artificial intelligence-based sensing of PSD (also known as rock fragmentation) and has been at the intersection of mining and technology for more than 16 years. Combined with its expertise in the core technologies needed to tackle this project and unique understanding of the mining sector, the company is positioned to deliver this much-needed mine-to-mill optimization solution.
Additionally, Motion Metrics will rely on the expert knowledge of its valuable consortium partners to meet the project objectives:
· UBC Mining Department: Motion Metrics will work with the University of British Columbia’s Norman B. Keevil Mining Engineering Department, who will provide scientific counsel, graduate students, and access to a world-class laboratory facility.
· Optimize Group: A high-caliber boutique mining and sustainability consulting company who will provide their unique expertise in mining and processing technologies.
· KAZ Minerals: A high-growth copper company who will provide access to their Aktogay mine (an existing customer of Motion Metrics) in Kazakhstan for field-testing, prototyping, and deployment of the proposed solution.
· Steinert USA: Motion Metrics will leverage the ore sensing, ore sorting, and ore separation expertise of Steinert during this project.
Read the government press release.
Read the SDTC news article.