The 4th International Conference of Shaft Design and Construction (or SDC 2019) was held in Toronto on November 18-20, 2019. We took it as an auspicious sign that the conference, first held in 1959, was for the first time taking place outside of the United Kingdom and in our backyard. As the world’s only conference specialized in shaft sinking, design and construction, participation in this industry-leading event was a priority.
The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum and Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining partnered to support the conference, featured 35 mining companies from 18 countries, and over 350 professionals attending. The attendees represent the best, most knowledgeable, and most active shaft sinking organizations in the business.
The SDC 2019 was an educational event organized for shaft designers, constructors, equipment suppliers, as well as mine owners carrying out or considering shaft sinking projects. It was a great opportunity to see what the future holds, what techniques are being developed, and learn from the example of other teams and projects. Also valuable was the chance to exchange ideas and network with fellow leaders and innovators in the field.
DMC was proud to be a Platinum Sponsor for this conference and put our best foot forward with a 17 person delegation that represented Operations and Engineering from DMC’s UK, US, Vaughan and Sudbury offices.
Going to such a specialized conference reminded us that while the industry is a large one, there is still a community atmosphere and many familiar faces. Nearly every technical paper was supported by someone in the crowd – attendees had personal experience with the subject matter or sample project being presented, which added valuable perspective and anecdotal evidence to presentations.
DMC presented two white papers, both based on our experiences with the Shaft Boring Roadheader (SBR). Dieter Trödel and Ken McIntyre presented a case study on the Sirius Minerals project in the UK, detailing the innovative approaches we have put in use to ensure safety, speed, and success as we sink record-depth shafts to a polyhalite deposit. Dieter also presented a paper with Herrenknecht’s Patrick Rennkamp regarding SBR technology, development, setup, and use at the Jansen Mine project in Saskatchewan.
As shaft sinking is a core expertise for us, this conference was a valuable opportunity to speak about our experiences and achievements. It was also very informative to learn about the latest construction techniques and technologies, and gratifying to present on our contributions to the field.
DMC was proud to deliver 2 of the 3 papers about SBR technology in practice, and also shared a video about our SBR work specifically for the event. Overall 63 papers and presentations, and two keynote sessions were shared about a wide variety of shaft sinking topics, from methodology, modeling, case studies and inspection, to equipment and safety.
Our goal at SDC 2019 was to share our experience, learn new insights and build upon our abilities to become a world leader in shaft sinking. Our work with the SBR is unique in the industry and DMC was very proud to share our hard-won perspectives, achievements and learnings with colleagues, and ultimately helps establish a greater role for DMC.
We believe the SDC 2019 Conference was a tremendous success, and a great opportunity to see where the industry is headed and how we can remain part of that progress. We’d like to thank the organizers, sponsors, and everyone who attended for making the event such an unforgettable and constructive experience. We are encouraged by the passion and advancements in the field, and looking forward to the next SDC Conference.