The Elements of Innovation Discovered

RIINO ore haulage monorail to make debut

Metal Tech News - July 10, 2024

Autonomous, zero-emissions ore haulage system to be showcased at Ontario rock quarry test site.

Replacing the diesel haul trucks that currently do the heavy lifting at most mines is the largest hurdle to overcome when it comes to achieving the net-zero emissions goals of mining companies. An electric ore hauling monorail being developed by Canadian mining tech startup RIINO Inc. could provide an efficient zero-emissions solution to the diesel ore haulage dilemma.

Having already attracted interest and funding from the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) and a trio of major mining companies, RIINO has now partnered with Rainbow Concrete to build a one-kilometer (0.6 miles) prototype of the zero-emissions monorail system at the Rainbow Concrete Quarry in Ontario.

Slated for completion by the end of 2025, the rock quarry demonstration site will allow the performance parameters of RIINO's cutting-edge ore haulage to be validated at full scale. It will also allow mining companies to observe the monorail in operation.

In addition to offering a place where the RIINO rail can be tested and demonstrated to potential mining clients in a real-world setting, the Rainbow Concrete Quarry site will showcase to the wider public an innovative technology being advanced to improve the safety and ESG credentials of mining.


(Left to right) RIINO CEO Aaron Lambert, Rainbow Concrete Owner Boris Naneff, and RIINO COO Curtis Reay at the Rainbow Concrete Quarry.

RIINO President and CEO Aaron Lambert says the mining tech startup's collaboration with Rainbow owner Boris Naneff "has been incredibly fruitful" in helping to advance and showcase this innovative ore haulage system.

"Boris' consistent support has proven invaluable to our consortium of mining partners and our technological advancements," RIINO's CEO said.

The RIINO advantages

If proven to be commercially viable, the RIINO ore haulage system could offer several advantages to traditional diesel burning and even next-generation electric haul trucks.

In addition to the inherent climate, cost, and safety advantages that come with being fully electric and autonomous, the RIINO rail requires much less space to haul the same tonnage of ore as conventional surface and underground haul trucks.

This means that the diesel haul trucks that have traditionally lumbered up the wide and dusty haul roads circling out of open pits could be replaced with a narrow monorail train pulled by an electric motor that does not need to stop for a recharge and can pull multiple cars of ore or waste rock up grades as steep as 30%. In addition to lowering the costs and emissions directly related to ore haulage, the ability to haul ore on a narrower and steeper track could translate to a smaller pit and a reduction in the quantities of waste rock mined.

The RIINO rail could also shrink underground mines that are currently developed much larger for mining trucks to pass, about five meters (16.4 feet) each way. A RIINO tunnel would need to be about three meters (9.8 feet) in each direction, which could reduce the tons of material needed to be excavated to reach underground ore by up to 70%.

For both surface and underground mining, it is estimated that the RIINO rail could lower haulage costs by 50 to 90%.

Major mining partners

The potential advantages offered by the RIINO ore haulage system have piqued the interest of those seeking to push the envelope when it comes to accelerating green technologies for the mining sector.

In August, RIINO received C$780,000 (US$573,000) of funding administered by the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA), a Canadian initiative to accelerate the development and commercialization of technologies to make the mining sector more productive and sustainable.

"This funding supports developing our technology solution with a focus on changing the way we mine and reaching the mining sector's net-zero initiatives," Lambert said at the time.


Path of the RIINO demonstration rail to be installed at the Rainbow Concrete Quarry.

Intrigued by the potential of the RIINO monorail to reduce both the CO2 emissions and costs of transporting ore, Agnico Eagle Mines, Rio Tinto, and Vale joined a consortium backed by the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) late last year to further investigate the technology.

Four months of scoping-level studies carried out by the mining consortium helped to prepare the ore-hauling monorail for its debut at Rainbow Concrete Quarry.

RIINO says the 2025 completion of the Ontario demonstration site will be a significant milestone on its path to revolutionizing the mining industry with a sustainable, low-cost, and safe system for hauling ore at the mines of the future.

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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