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This week, Canada’s BEAP, a young “cleantech” startup founded in 2020 that specializes in data-driven business intelligence for the sustainable management of physical industrial assets, announced a joint venture with Québec engineering firm Norda Stelo to bring artificial intelligence applications into the Canadian mining industry. The $1.2 million project is receiving government support through a province-wide Innovation Program managed through Investissement Québec.

Specifically, the partners will design a platform based on AI for predictive maintenance of static assets such as pipeline networks, conveyor lines, and buildings in the mining sector, which typically have little to no real-time data capture. The platform will merge data gathered during asset inspectors with human engineering knowledge to create machine learning models with better predictive analytics.

The firms say that in the mining sector alone, predictive or prescriptive maintenance of strategic mining assets may reduce cost and improve production growth by 20 to 25 percent. This application could potentially be used in 22 mines, 14 smelters and refineries, and 16 plants already operating in Québec. Eventually, this AI platform could also be used in the energy sector, which faces similar asset management issues.

“Innovation is the key to competitiveness for all Québec companies, including those in the mining industry.  The intelligent platform perfected by BEAP and Norda Stelo will allow them to improve their procedures so that they upgrade their performance.  Thanks to this digital innovation, all of Québec will benefit from the inventiveness, creativity and knowhow of these two companies,” said Lucie Lecours, Québec’s Minister for the Economy, on behalf of which Investissement Québec is administrating the program.

“This project is especially dear to us. Our team concentrates on preventing the negative economic, environmental, and human consequences of unexpected failures,” said BEAP President and Co-Founder Benoit Moffet Bédard. “We have developed a method for collecting and processing information that provides structured data for artificial intelligence analysis. We can thus improve our understanding of asset health by helping tools already in place. That knowledge enables mining companies to improve asset monitoring and simplify the operational process.”

Canadian mining company Minerai de fer Québec/Quebec Iron Ore, a subsidiary of Champion Iron that owns and operates Quebec’s Bloom Lake Mining Complex, has confirmed its participation in the project.

“For our fast-growing company, participation in this project allows us to contribute to the development of digital technology and artificial intelligence in our industry,” Champion Iron Limited’s Chief Operating Officer Alexandre Belleau said. “Although we already contribute to the reduction of global GHG emissions, particularly thanks to our high-quality iron ore products, we are constantly looking for projects to improve our sustainable practices during our operations.”


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