First Quantum Minerals Ltd (FQM), a Canadian-based mining and metals company, has installed two of ThoroughTec’s latest generation CYBERMINE 5 Full-Mission simulators at its Zambian, Kansanshi copper-gold mine.
Ian McIntosh, Training and Development Manager at FQM, said: “We looked at simulators and realised their unique potential to prepare our operators for emergency scenarios and situations.”
FQM’s CYBERMINE 5th Generation Simulator System incorporates two ruggedised, containerised Base Units and three modular cabs, the Caterpillar 785-C, Hitachi EH3500 and Liebherr 9350. The simulators will be utilised heavily to train new recruits from the local community as well as refresher training for existing operators; every six months in the case of Hitachi truck drivers and once a year for the Caterpillar 785-C and Liebherr 9350 operators.
“Having the simulators to handle the bulk of the training requirement, saves us from removing machines from production and considering the number of operators we have it adds up quickly. We also have the ability to better prepare our operators for potential equipment failures – the WHAT IF scenarios.” said McIntosh.
McIntosh said he revamped the training processes after taking inspiration from the aviation industry. "If you look at their training methods, they put a huge emphasis on simulator training for their pilots," he said. "The airline industry has a program called Upset, Prevention and Response (UPRT) which takes pilots through emergency scenarios over-and-over again until they do it the right way and it almost becomes muscle memory. I wanted to mimic that in our simulator training process.”
ThoroughTec’s simulators allow operators to experience and practice responding to emergencies such as brake failures and vehicle fires.
Kansanshi Mine operates six trolley-assist lines on the pit ramps, with significant operational benefits including reduced fuel consumption, increased engine life and greater up-ramp speed, from 11kmph to 23kmph. To ensure that their truck drivers are proficient in the use of the trolley lines and thereby achieve their haulage-boosting potential, Kansanshi opted to include a custom Own Mine World in their simulator development. This ‘digital-twin’ of their mine site and operations gives trainee truck drivers the ability to practise using the pantograph system on their trucks, engaging and disengaging the trolley-assist lines at the ideal location and angle; and thereby avoiding mishap and inefficiency.
Another feature McIntosh saw and requested, following a tour of ThoroughTec’s factory, was the ability to network two or more simulator units – a common practice in the military simulation space. “I wanted the simulators to interplay, to train operators in teamwork and to provide them with a better understanding of how their actions affect the other operator.” noted McIntosh.