The Elements of Innovation Discovered

Mining One lends expertise to EcoHoist

Metal Tech News- May 20, 2024

Mining consultant is assisting in the deployment of EcoHoist's innovative ore hoisting tech.

EcoHoist's lateral thinking when it comes to developing an economical solution for the vertical transport of material out of underground mines has drawn the attention of Mining One, an Australia-based consultancy firm for the mining sector.

"Ensuring safe and efficient haulage underground is becoming increasingly challenging," said Gary Davidson, principal mining engineer at Mining One. "Our industry must explore lateral thinking approaches that can lead to substantial improvements in haulage efficiency."

It was this type of lateral thinking that led the team at EcoHoist to develop a material hoisting system that is less expensive to build and operate than the skip hoist systems that have been traditionally used to transport ore and other materials to the surface at underground mines.

The potential of the EcoHoist system to substantially reduce the capital and operation costs at underground mines has already attracted the interest of ABB Group, a global market leader in mine electrification, automation, and hoist systems.

"No matter the mine in Australia, the challenge is how to get ore out of the ground safely and efficiently with high availability in very remote locations," Aaron Trueman, Australian business line manager for hoisting at ABB, said during an April announcement that the Swedish firm will collaborate on the development of EcoHoist. "Hoists are a critical mine asset to achieve this, and novel approaches to ore haulage such as EcoHoist are what the industry needs to deliver minerals essential to modern technology."

Now, Mining One is lending its underground mining expertise to the development and early deployment of the EcoHoist system.

"Mining One is delighted to be involved in the collaboration and validation of EcoHoist's technology, and we take pride in contributing to the development of the significant advantages it may bring," said Davidson.

Lateral thinking

While there have been incremental improvements to mine hoists over the past 150 years, the concept is much the same as the steam-powered ore lifting systems first introduced in the 1870s. The basic idea behind traditional mine hoists is that a large motor lifts skips, which are containers used to transport materials, up large vertical shafts.


The EcoHoist bucket elevator only requires two small mine shafts to transport material.

EcoHoist's lateral thinking approach to lifting materials out of underground mines involves the replacement of the traditional skip hoisting systems with a continuous bucket design that substantially reduces the size of the mine shafts needed to transport the same tonnage of ore to the surface.

The EcoHoist system involves a continuous chain of innovative buckets that lifts crushed material from depths of up to 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) through a small vertical shaft and dumps the material on the surface before the chain of buckets descends a second shaft.

The two 0.75- to 1.2-meter (2.5 to four feet) shafts needed for EcoHoist, depending on tonnage requirements, are substantially smaller than the five- to eight-meter (16 to 26 feet) mine shaft required for a traditional skip hoist system capable of moving the same volume.


The EcoHoist bucket design enables high volume transport through small shafts.

The conical geometry of the buckets allows them to be loaded quickly and symmetrically so that no support other than the central linkage is required for stability. As a result, there is no need for additional structural support or alignment rollers.

Additionally, the EcoHoist doesn't require an expensive headframe like a skip hoist.

This equates to lower capital costs to excavate the smaller shafts and install the hoisting infrastructure. And recent analysis indicates that the cost to operate EcoHoist is lower than running just one underground mine truck.

As a result, EcoHoist's solution has the potential to lower the economic hurdles for underground mines, while at the same time increasing production and reducing emissions.

"EcoHoist offers an opportunity for mining leaders interested in integrating a low-cost solution into their operation," Michael Short, business development engineer at EcoHoist, said earlier this year.

Mining One lends expertise

Making a step-change in the way material is hoisted out of underground mines will require at least some in the mining sector to be willing to make that leap with the inventor.

ABB, which supplied the first electric motor for a mine hoist in 1891, has already joined EcoHoist in accelerating the deployment of the innovative hoisting concept.

Now, Mining One is lending its underground mining expertise to the EcoHoist vertical material transport solution.


Mining One's technical expertise will assist in integrating the EcoHoist vertical material transport solution into underground mines.

The successful installation of an EcoHoist system into an underground mining project requires engineers to take many factors into consideration. The shape and size of the orebody being mined, geotechnical conditions, and the overall mine site layout are among the technical aspects that must be taken into account.

As an established mining consultancy firm with projects on six continents, Mining One brings deep technical expertise and experience to the deployment of EcoHoist's low-cost hoisting equipment.

"In order to successfully decarbonize and cut operational costs for our customers, our EcoHoist equipment needs to be seamlessly integrated into our customers' mines," said EcoHoist Managing Director Matthew Forrest. "Working with Mining One gives both us and our customers confidence that this will be achieved."

As an early collaborator on EcoHoist's innovative and economic solution to vertical ore transport, Mining One is poised to become the first accredited consultant for this economical vertical material transport solution.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

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With more than 16 years of covering mining, Shane is renowned for his insights and and in-depth analysis of mining, mineral exploration and technology metals.


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