Our proprietary Monorail-based Mining System (Muckahi) has been in development over the past decade. From early 2020 to mid-2021, the individual components of the technology were tested as a system at our El Limón Deep (ELD) underground mine. Aspects of the monorail-based technology are currently being deployed for development of the Guajes Tunnel, a ~7 kilometre long tunnel that will connect ELG from the north side of the Balsas River to Media Luna on the south side.
Where a traditional underground mine uses wide rubber-tired loaders to carry ore to the surface, the monorail-based system uses narrow, low and long trains operating on a network of overhead monorails. The monorail-based trains operate in smaller and shorter tunnels, which has the potential to deliver economic and environmental benefits. With no diesel trucks or other heavy diesel-powered equipment, CO2 emissions could be reduced significantly relative to a conventional mine.
Potential economic and environmental benefits of the monorail-based technology are driven by:
- A system that could be all-electric and easily automated
- Reduced tunnel size and length. Tunnels to achieve elevation change could be 4 times steeper and therefore only ¼ of the length of a conventional elevation change tunnel
- Two-way traffic in tunnels that are half the size of conventional tunnels that only deliver one-way traffic
- Reduction in the rehandling of ore and waste
- Fewer processes from the stope to the processing plant, allowing for greater simplicity and operating interactions
While the monorail-based technology has progressed since the beginning of the ELD test program, additional process and equipment engineering is required to achieve desired advance rates, cycle times, and associated cost efficiencies. We continue to have confidence in the potential of the technology and are currently considering a PEA level study to utilize monorail-based equipment to develop the smaller EPO deposit near Media Luna, which would allow for additional testing of the integrated system within a live production environment. Torex owns the intellectual property, and future improvements are to be shared between Torex and Muckahi Inc, a third-party entity which holds a license to use the technology.