Through an innovative wall system advanced with assistance from Cambrian College, a Sudbury-based company is helping mining companies improve safety for workers while increasing productivity. 

Closing off underground mine tunnels after a section has been mined is an expensive and risky process, requiring the construction of barriers up to 10 metres wide to allow for the mined area to be filled in. To reduce the risk of harm for miners, mining companies ensure they stand at least six metres back from the section being closed off, but following this precaution greatly increases costs, impedes ongoing work at the mine, and still results in worker injuries from falling debris. 

DKR Manufacturing developed an innovative wall system that uses extension poles to let miners install a custom-built wall from 20 feet away (pictured above at one-fifth of the actual size). Increasing distance from the construction zone ensures safety while avoiding the need to close off a section of the tunnel that could be used for continuing operations. 

Seeking an easier and more efficient means of installing the wall, DKR Manufacturing collaborated with Cambrian College to create adjustable attachment points for the wall system. The two-year effort was supported by OCE’s Voucher for Innovation and Productivity I (VIP I) program with co-funding from NSERC’s Engage Grants for Colleges. Four third-year students from Cambrian’s civil engineering, mining engineering and animation programs gained invaluable industry experience working on the project. 

DKR Manufacturing sold and installed over a dozen wall systems to mining companies in the Sudbury region, including Glencore and Vale. The improved version of the wall system developed with the help of Cambrian College is expected to increase DKR sales throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada.