Mines & Metal

Niobec Mine – Optimization of transfer points

Location Saint-Honoré, Québec
Year of realization 2020
Project Type OPEX

Opened in 1976, the Niobec mine is one of three mines in the world that produces niobium, a metal used in high performance steel alloys. In 2020, the mine planned a refurbishment of its main crusher. To carry out the work without stopping production, Niobec wanted to use a secondary crusher. Trinum was commissioned to design the system to temporarily divert ore entering the plant to the secondary crushing circuit. This temporary process was to operate without interruption as soon as it was commissioned and this during the 6 weeks of shutdown of the primary circuit.

Optimization of transfer points to avoid unplanned stops caused by blockages

TRINUM designed a system that allows the ore to be diverted while avoiding significant changes to existing equipment and without building new conveyors at great expense for the duration of the shutdown. To achieve this, TRINUM first carried out several numerical simulation studies to ensure that the flow diverting system would be adequate upon commissioning.

When Niobec engineers realized that it was possible for Trinum to digitally simulate the flow conditions in the chutes, they gave us the additional mandate to optimize all transfer points in the primary crushing system. Our team therefore revised and modified several ore chutes and eliminated the recurring blockage problems that caused up to 20 hours of downtime per week before our intervention.

Diverter Gate from Trinum S.A. on Vimeo.