SK Godelius was selected to create an automated/robotic solution to safely perform the loading process of the sulphuric acid trains at Vale’s facility in Greater Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Their facilities have five mines, a mill, a smelter, and a refinery, and it is the world’s largest Nickel producer.
In the mining industry, sulfuric acid is a by-product of smelting processes. This is then typically stored and transported by rail. Its management carries significant risks both for the operators directly involved, as well as for the nearby communities and the environment.
There are significant challenges related to acid handling, especially in rail car acid loading operations.
In a first stage, the contract will focus on a “proof of concept” of a solution that reduces the risks in the operations of acid loading in trains.
The chosen strategy – which demands among other challenges – the automated opening of the hatches and the valves of the wagons – involves artificial vision, robotics, and teleoperation technologies, developed by SK Godelius.
SK Godelius was chosen by Vale as part of a selection process involving numerous technology companies, both from Canada and internationally. This process has been managed by NORCAT, an organization that promotes and catalyzes multiple, highly innovative initiatives in the global mining industry.
“Our goal with the Acid Train Car Loading Challenge was to identify and engage innovative companies like SK Godelius to develop a solution that removes workers from exposure to harmful concentrated acids,” said Brendan Skiffington, Regional Innovation Coordinator of NORCAT. “SK Godelius’ proposed solution not only has the potential to solve Vale’s challenge, but is also an innovative approach that will make the global mining industry safer.”
Vale SA is a Brazilian multinational corporation engaged in metals and mining with operations worldwide. The company is the largest producer of iron ore and Nickel in the world. Annually, its Canadian operation in Sudbury, Ontario, produces almost 65,000 metric tons of Nickel. Vale’s facilities in Northern Ontario have five mines, a mill, a smelter, and a refinery. It is one of the largest integrated mining complexes in the world.
About SK Godelius
SK Godelius, founded in 2011 in Chile, is an engineering company specialized in making feasible the remote operation of machines, vehicles, robots, and processes of the mining industry. The priority of the projects is increasing safety and productivity. The company opened its first Canadian office in Toronto in 2020 and expanded its business to Northern Ontario in 2021 when the second office was opened at NORCAT Underground Centre in Sudbury. SK Godelius is part of the Sigdo Koppers Group, a global engineering player in mining and other industries, with headquarters in Chile and a global presence.