Canadian fertilizer company Nutrien was exploring its options for improving worker safety in its Saskatchewan potash mines. Seeking an “out of the box” solution, the company partnered with Mitacs and the University of Regina to recruit top research talent — Tokini Briggs, Victor Okonkwo and Professor Raman Paranjape — who would develop new technology to solve Nutrien’s safety challenges.
We believe that building relationships with universities contributes to our industry-leading safety performance and Mitacs makes it seamless for everyone involved. — Craig Funk, Director of GeoServices & Land, Nutrien.
The successful collaboration resulted in the creation of a new computer algorithm, which identifies potential hazards in the mined-out cavern roofs and allows workers to execute the appropriate safety protocols in a timely manner.
“Partnering with Mitacs and the University of Regina has given us access to top talent and new ideas that will enhance our safety technologies,” says Craig Funk, Director of GeoServices & Land at Nutrien.
Nutrien is also incorporating the research team’s algorithm into a prototype for a new ground-penetrating radar system that will be installed on continuous-mining machines and used in potash mines across Saskatchewan. As well, Nutrien is continuing its research collaboration with the University of Regina to explore advancing the technology further and will share its enhanced-safety innovation with other mining companies in the province.
“We believe that building relationships with universities contributes to our industry-leading safety performance,” Funk says, “and Mitacs makes it seamless for everyone involved.”