The preliminary technical programme for the APCOM 2019 conference in Wroclaw, Poland, (June 4-6) has gone live, showing off some of the highest quality peer-reviewed papers on ‘digital transformation’ in mining, from resource estimation to mine operation and safety.The conference topics include:Geostatistics and resource estimationAPCOM said: “An entire three-day conference stream provides more than 20 leading- edge and peer-reviewed papers by world-class practitioners from leading mining companies and by world-leading research institutes.”Papers on this topic include: Transforming Exploration Data Through Machine Learning from MICROMINE’s Mark Gabbitus, Rock mass characterisation using MWD data and photogrammetry from Luleå University of Technology’s Sohail Manzoor, and Rethinking Fleet & Personnel Management in the era of IoT, Big Data, Gamification, and low-cost Tablet Technology from MST Global’s Sean Dessureault.Mine planningThere will be about 15 papers on newest IT-supported techniques in mine planning, uncertainty reduction, geomechanics, modelling, simulation and the most recent software technology, according to APCOM.Papers on this topic include: A procedure to generate optimised ramp designs using mathematical programming from Delphos Mine Planning Lab, AMTC/DIMIN, Universidad de Chile’s Nelson Morales, Incorporation of geological risk into underground mine planning from NEXA Resources’ Rafael Rosado and a presentation from AngloGold Ashanti’s Andrade Barbosa titled, Economic Optimisation of Rib Pillars Placement in Underground Mines.Scheduling and dispatch“Around 15 papers address long- and short-term scheduling optimisation, the application of neural networks and genetic algorithms as well as risk mitigation and related software systems. A keynote talk covers the impact of Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and gamification on fleet scheduling topics,” APCOM said.The conference has attracted speakers on this subject from Clausthal University of Technology, AngloGold Ashanti, University of Alberta, AusGEMCO Pty Ltd, Newmont Mining Corp, Advanced Mining Technology Center and Maptek.Mine operation in digital transformationThere are more than 20 papers in this stream covering mining equipment related topics in the area of LHD transport, drilling and longwall operation, as well as underground communications and new digital technologies in mine safety, as well as product quality optimisation.Speakers from the Kola Science Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Breakline and breakdown surfaces modelling in the design of large-scale blasts), Komatsu Mining (The Digital Mine eco-system), Tunnel Radio (Hybrid 5G Fibre Optic/Leaky Feeder Communication System) and Epiroc (Monitoring of a stoping operation, digital transformation in practice) are set to present papersEmerging technologies and robotics in miningUnder this topic, there are a number of sessions with almost 10 papers covering the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in mining, the benefits of upcoming technology in robotics, mechatronics and communications, as well as the changes in machine design through digital transformation, APCOM said. Also a completely new transport system is presented in this stream.Papers in this stream include: More Safety in Underground Mining with IoT and Autonomous Robots (TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Institute of Mining and Special Civil Engineering), Application of UAV imaging and photogrammetry for high-resolution modelling of open pit geometry and slope stability monitoring (Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno) and The concept of walking robot for mining industry (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology).Synergies from other industriesA plenary speech from an active airline captain will lead this session, talking about the impact of human-machine interfaces on decision-making of automated equipment and in control centres, APCOM said. Other papers will be on the transferability of building information modelling from commercial construction to mining.A paper from MT-Silesia Sp zoo called: From machine construction to mechatronic system design: Digital Transformation is changing the way of thinking! is included. There are also talks from MobileTronics GmbH’s George Biro on, Rethinking mining transport: Trackless trains for mass transport in mining and KGHM Polska Miedeź’s Mariusz Sangórski presenting, Energy Management System Maturity Model – Systematic Approach to Gain Knowledge about Organization’s Real Engagement in Energy Efficiency Area.The conference takes place at the convention centre of the Wroclaw University of Technology and is accompanied by an exhibition, APCOM said. A social programme, conference dinner with entertainment and partner activities are available as well as field trips on June 7.“A post-conference hike in the Karkonosze Mountains is offered from June 8-10, with overnight stays in two microbreweries on the ridge, is a relaxing finish to the technical discussions of the week,” APCOM said.All presentations are to be held in English. Simultaneous translation to Polish is provided if requested by a sufficient number of participants.International Mining is a media partner for APCOM 2019.
MEDICAL RESEARCHERS from Japan and Britain have won the Nobel Prize in medicine for work in cell programming, a frontier that has raised dreams of replacement tissue for people crippled by disease.Shinya Yamanaka of Japan and Sir John Gurdon of Britain found that adult cells can be transformed back to an infant state called stem cells, the key ingredient in the vision of regenerative medicine.“Their findings have revolutionised our understanding of how cells and organisms develop,” the Nobel jury declared. “By reprogramming human cells, scientists have created new opportunities to study diseases and develop methods for diagnosis and therapy.”Among those who acclaimed the award were Britain’s Royal Society, Ian Wilmut, “father” of Dolly the cloned sheep, and a leading ethicist, who said it eased a storm about the use of embryonic cells.Stem cells are precursor cells which differentiate into the various organs of the body. They have stirred huge excitement, with hopes that they can be coaxed into growing into replacement tissue for victims of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases.Gurdon, 79, said he was grateful but also surprised by the honour, since his main research was done more than 40 years ago.In 1962, he discovered that the DNA code in the nucleus of an adult frog cell held all the information to develop into every kind of cell. This meant that an adult cell could in essence be reprogrammed.His landmark discovery was initially met with scepticism, as the journey from immature to specialised cell was previously deemed irreversible.“I’m amazed and immensely grateful and astonished that they should recognise work done such a long time ago,” Gurdon told Swedish Radio. ”Of course I’m extremely grateful to be recognised with Shinya Yamanaka who’s done this wonderful work.”“It is particularly pleasing to see how purely basic research, originally aimed at testing the genetic identity of different cell types in the body, has turned out to have clear human health prospects,” he later told reporters in London.‘A waste of time’ as a teenagerBased at Cambridge University, Gurdon is fond of recalling that his school tutor told him when he was 15 that it would be a “total waste of time” to pursue a career in science, and credits his mother with encouraging him to follow his passion.More than four decades later, in 2006, Yamanaka, now 50, discovered how mature cells in mice could be turned back to their youthful state using a batch of reprogramming genes.The advantage of this would be to avert the need to use stem cells taken from early-stage embryos. These are hugely versatile but have stirred ethical controversy.“This is not only a giant leap for science, it is a giant leap for mankind. Yamanaka and Gurdon have shown how science can be done ethically,” a professor of practical ethics at the University of Oxford, Julian Savulescu, told the Science Media Centre in London.Yamanaka “deserves not only a Nobel Prize for Medicine, but a Nobel Prize for Ethics,” he said.Yamanaka, a professor at Kyoto University, has pointedly warned of the ethical controversies of science.“We should limit the application of technology to treatment or what can make patients happier,” he has said. “We may be able to generate new life (with this technique), so we are presented with another ethical issue.”Stem-cell research is still at a very early stage, and only a tiny number of human trials have taken place. In the field of so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, for which Yamanaka was singled out for the Nobel, work is still only in the lab.He was modest about the honour on Monday, telling reporters he was “just an obscure researcher” who planned to carry on his research. ”I really feel that I have to realise a medical application and contribute to society as soon as possible,” he said.The pair had been among the frontrunners for a Nobel after they won the prestigious Lasker Prize in 2009 and Yamanaka shared the €1.2 million Millennium Technology Prize earlier this year with a software engineer.Because of the economic crisis, the Nobel Foundation has slashed its prize sum to eight million Swedish kronor (€930,000) per award, down from the 10 million kronor (€1.16 million) awarded since 2001.- © AFP, 2012