Russian mining industry news update April 2020

Welcome to the first of a new series of monthly news round ups in the Russian mining & mineral extraction industries.

Here, we’ll be taking a look at some of the more interesting stories coming from this major mining country.

In our first instalment, we see a new system for testing driving fatigue enter the practical testing phase, a new Russo-Australian joint venture, and digital innovation from one of Russia’s top miners.

Russia mining news round up

Norilsk Nickel equips its Krasnoyarsk mines with new digital centres

From now until 2021, NorNickel will outfit its mines throughout the Krasnoyarsk region with digital mining operations and planning centres.

The latest centre was opened on March 20 at the Komosolsky mine, following on from the 2019 opening of a digital operations facility at NorNickel’s Oktyabrsky facility.

Each new digital facility will allow for 24-hour monitoring, letting workers identify any problems, keep track of technology and equipment performance, and generally allow for higher levels of efficiency.

According to NorNickel’s Polar Mining Chief Nikolai Utkin, the following facilities will receive the next range of digital upgrades:

• Taimyrsky Mine
• Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant

Polymetal signs strategic agreement with Blackham Resources

Polymetal has signed an agreement with Australian gold miner Blackham Resources to develop the Wiluna deposit in Western Australia.

Under the terms of the deal, Polymetal will receive 70% of concentrate mined at Wiluna for the first three years. By year four, the Russian miner has the option to buy 100% of all resources produced here.

Estimates forecast that Wiluna will produce up to 122,000 tons in Phase One, i.e. the first three-year period. As much as 195,000 ounces of gold could be recovered from the overall mined material.

Both partners have committed to lowering the carbon footprint of the Wiluna mine as a model for future gold mining operations. 

According to Polymetal, the mine will use pressure oxidisation to slash carbon emissions during the concentrate processing process. Blackham and Polymetal have pledged to share knowledge and technology further.

ALROSA tests driver fatigue software

ALROSA has partnered with OKO Systems to test drive fatigue recognition software on its trucks.

Over the past few years, the most common cause of mining-related road accidents came from drivers falling asleep at the wheel, reports

As such, the new technology is being trialled to see if it can reduce the number of these incidents at ALROSA mines.

OKO’s software works by reacting to eye movement, facial expressions, head turns, and other signs. The system itself resembles a DVR, and is placed in vehicle cock pits. If data indicates the driver is on the verge of falling asleep, a noise is made to alert them, which has to be physically disabled by the driver.

Should a lapse in concentration of more than 10 seconds be detected, a panic alarm will sound. 

This information is then sent to vehicle dispatchers, and the driver will be retired for the rest of their shift.

ALROSA has so far installed the OKO technology on vehicles at the Nyruba and Udachinsky diamond mines. 

As well as OKO solutions, ALROSA has imported three sets of Caterpillar Driver Safety Systems from the USA for testing at Udachinsky and Almazdortrans facilities.