Mine safety is the aim of a $2.6 million state-of-the-art, rope-testing machine that will ensure accurate, timely testing of wire ropes used for lifting ore and other materials in mines.
The new machine will replace an outdated machine with rising maintenance costs that the province acquired in 1991. The aging machine was taken out of service six times in the past few years due to breakdowns.
The rope testing machine is located at the Materials Testing Laboratory operated by the Ministry of Labour in Sudbury. Mine operators are required by law to submit rope samples to the lab for testing. Half of the ropes submitted are from Ontario. The remainder are from across Canada and the rest of the world. The ministry charges fees to mine operators to test the ropes according to a news release.
The new machine will be able to test both wire ropes as well as synthetic ropes, which are likely to be used in the future.
Ontario has about 40 underground mines, with about 25,000 workers. Most of these mines are located in Northern Ontario.
The Materials Testing Laboratory tests between 500 and 900 ropes per year, as well as wire ropes used for suspension bridges worldwide, generating about $850,000 in annual revenue.