Tag Archives: deep learning

Shedding Light in Underground Mines

Demystifying Artificial Intelligence: Will AI Shed Light in The Darkest Spots of Underground Mining?

Demystifying Artificial Intelligence: Will AI Shed Light in The Darkest Spots of Underground Mining?

The mining industry is being transformed by technological advances in both standard digitization and artificial intelligence (AI). Digitalization in safety and production allows mines to work more efficiently, saving hours of labor and operating costs. In many of the world’s largest companies, artificial intelligence is currently being utilized and integrated into almost all aspects of the job.

Mining technology is advancing at an exponential rate and proving itself to be irreplaceable in production and operations management. As this technology merges with our daily lives there are a number of common concerns that must be addressed.

Since the introduction of self-driving cars, experts and consumers have questioned the safety of allowing artificial intelligence to replace humans. The consensus seems to have emerged that these technologies can be more accurate at assessing risk than a human being and can even be better at resolving the situation. Despite the benefits, there are a handful of concerns from industry managers and executives about their implementations.

When addressing these concerns, however, we find optimization of productivity as a major benefit of implementing an AI system. It can help by suggesting the most effective ways to manage:

  • Personnel
  • Maintenance
  • Emergencies
  • Geotechnical Mapping

We had the opportunity to interview Jean-Marc Rousseau, the Director of Technology Transfer at the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO), our newest partner.  He gave us an inside look on how AI will progress in the future and how the mining industry can implement these new technologies.

Newtrax: How is AI being regarded within the mining industry?

Jean-Marc: I look at it from this perspective: we are now able to have autonomous vehicles running in cities without a driver. Because of this I certainly can foresee in the future that new mines will be operating completely automatically, with self-driving vehicles. There will certainly be someone in control above ground, but there will fewer miners underground. If a self-driving car can be trusted on the streets of a city, machinery should also be trusted to drive through a mine.

AI is also able to solve many common productivity problems that arise in a mine. For example, there are many hours of work that are lost when a machine breaks down. One thing that AI could do, with enough data, is it could predict when equipment will need maintenance. This will help companies by saving them time and allowing them to fix problems before they happen.

Newtrax: What are some misconceived notions people in the mining industry have about AI?

Jean-Marc: Not everyone understands AI in the same way. Most people have limited knowledge but the most important thing to understand in AI is what we call “deep learning.” Deep learning, simply put, is when the machine learns by example.

An expert in the field can help the AI machines learn by giving them examples of different situations, and then the machine will copy what it was taught. This is how self-driving cars learn how to drive and how Google Translate learns languages.

Deep learning is what will enable mining machines to make real-time decisions. They will learn what to do through simulations and will be able to react appropriately just as an experienced operator would.

Newtrax: What is the ROI that mining companies should keep in mind when considering the implementation of AI technologies for an underground project?  How does the AI help make decisions easier?

Jean-Marc: To start, it possible for AI technologies to learn geographical mapping. It can learn where a company is most likely to find mineralization in exploration phases. It is able to analyze a map and if it has enough data, can learn from where experts were successful in previous attempts.

AI can also help companies by saving them time and money in operations. It will look at the data and make quick, effective decisions. This will help companies cut downtime of machinery, keep productivity high, and help mitigate unpredicted events.

Newtrax: Where does the responsibility lie for researching and providing AI technologies in the mining industry, in regards to the private sector and other academic or research institutions?

Jean-Marc: I think the mining industry must get involved. The software is publicly available for anyone to use. There are even AI scientists that have released their own software and algorithms. The only thing that is not public is the data that these AI machines must learn from. This is how the machines will learn how to be effective and make good decisions through the deep learning the data offers.

So educational institutions can help mining companies if it is a partnership. You can’t have one without the other.  We are able to come up with algorithms that will help these companies but they mean nothing without having the data to implement.

CIM 2017

Newtrax & IVADO Host the First Artificial Intelligence Workshop at CIM 2017!

Newtrax & IVADO Host the First Artificial Intelligence Workshop at CIM2017

Join us for the first Artificial Intelligence workshop at CIM 2017, hosted by Newtrax and IVADO on May 1 at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal.

CIM 2017

How Can Artificial Intelligence Benefit Your Mine?  


Special Guest Speaker Jean-Marc Rousseau, Director of Technology Transfer for IVADO  will guide us through the latest AI concepts and their potential to optimize underground mines.

Newtrax and IVADO believe the combination of high-quality datasets with world-class AI expertise can deliver powerful decision-making tools for the underground hard rock mines of the future.

Join us as we uncover the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence in the context of mining operations management.

May 1, 2017 – 12:30 p.m. until 1:30 p.m.

Room 511B – Palais des congrès de Montréal

1001 Jean Paul Riopelle Pl

Montreal, QC H2Z 1H5 

artificial intelligence 2

Newtrax partners with world-leading AI research center

Newtrax partners with world-leading AI research center to discover new insights in underground hard rock mines

artificial intelligence mining

Montreal, QC – March 1, 2017 —  Newtrax Technologies Inc. (‘Newtrax’) – the leading provider of safety and operations management systems for underground hard rock mines announced it has partnered with the Montreal-based Institute for Data Valorisation (IVADO). Together, they will create new value for existing customers with the big data generated from Newtrax systems installed around the world.

Jean-Marc Rousseau, Director of Technology Transfer for IVADO, said “the customer problems Newtrax is trying to solve and the datasets they have are a perfect fit for the expertise of our deep learning and operational research hubs”. Deep learning, the subset of artificial intelligence focused on teaching machines to find and classify patterns in mass quantities of data is now the cornerstone of growth for Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and a host of other Silicon Valley companies.

The world’s largest concentration of independent artificial intelligence (AI) researchers and several of their pioneers happen to be based in Montreal, Quebec. Momentum is building for the city to become the global hub for deep learning expertise. In 2016 alone, the Canadian government and the Quebec government, together with the private sector community, announced investments of more than $230 million in Montreal universities to create a learning hub to explore AI and big data.

Google also recently opened a deep learning & AI research group in Montreal linked to its Google Brain group in Mountain View, California. Shibl Mourad, the head of engineering for Google’s Montreal office, says the company hopes to help turn the city into a “super-cluster” of AI knowledge that will attract corporate investors, burgeoning startups, and researchers. He said much of the credit goes to Yoshua Bengio and his colleagues, whose research over the last decade has put the city ahead of its competitors.

Alexandre Cervinka, CEO of Newtrax, said “since our headquarters are in the middle of what is becoming the Silicon Valley of AI with the world’s largest number of independent data scientists a stone’s throw away from our R&D center, we are well positioned to leverage locally what globally is a very scarce talent pool”.

Breakthroughs in AI have historically been constrained by the absence of high-quality training datasets, not by algorithmic advances. Rapid progress in machine vision, language translation, and games only occurred after relevant and specialized big data became available.

In this context, Newtrax and IVADO are confident the combination of high-quality datasets with world-class AI expertise will deliver powerful decision-making tools for the underground hard rock mines of the future.


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