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Bring us your challenge and we’ll take it from there


The AIL Mining Team has the expertise and the innovations to tackle the most difficult projects.

The AIL Group has over 50 years of experience in supporting our customers’ success by value-engineering specific solutions to help them save time and money. It’s our AIL Mining projects that give us some of our most complex challenges. And, it’s those types of projects that are building our success.

The bench strength of our national and international Technical Sales Teams and our in-house Innovation and Engineering Teams is key. Our people are well versed in the complexities of mine infrastructure and we work hard at providing an enhanced experience for owners, consultants and contractors alike..

“Having our own R&D team gives us the confidence to take on projects that others may shy away from,” says Wayne Ford, AIL’s Vice-President of Engineering Services. “Our innovative solutions often lead us to partner on a project at a very early stage." 

Some examples of innovation and value-engineering that have helped our customers, include:

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Using Geotextile MSE Wall technology on an underground salt mine’s haul road crossing to reduce the arch’s length and accommodate native waste rock backfill.

Deep in an underground salt mine, a corrugated steel arch haul road crossing was needed to allow haul and mining trucks to pass over a conveyor system. The only available backfill material was mine waste rock. The owner stressed their selection criteria would be based on finding a partner who could be innovative and customer-solution-focused. 

In an effort to accommodate the width and backfill requirements, AIL proposed a complete Arch-MSE-Wall solution that utilized the Geotextile MSE Wall technology and still aligned with the specification. AIL Engineering completed a thorough review of the backfill material and completed multiple advanced analyses to confirm that the performance of the arch and wall would be met. We won the project. 

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Developing a ‘stay-in-place’ steel formwork system for a reclaim tunnel’s hopper openings to eliminate wood formwork and accelerate construction. 

AIL Mining developed an innovative ‘stay-in-place’ formwork system that provided the reclaim tunnel with the required strength and reinforcement to support the hopper equipment. Super•Cor structures with bulkheads were placed around the hopper openings as concrete formwork. 

In the past, complex wood formwork was used for the concrete, which required skilled carpenters and disassembly of the wood forms after the concrete was set. Carpenters are costly and can be challenging to find in remote areas. Our ‘stay-in-place’ formwork system reduced the construction time, costs and waste associated with this.

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Using Geotextile Reinforced Soil (GRS) technology for a haul road drainage culvert in a surface gold mine to accommodate high settlement and the use of silt backfill.

The challenges on this Corrugated Steel Pipe drainage culvert at the bottom of a deep ravine were significant: a 3 m diameter pipe under 40 m of fill, with an estimated settlement up to 3 m. The project was originally specified as a standard culvert with good quality backfill. Once we got the drawings submitted, the geotechnical engineer raised the issue of the lack of granular backfill and very high settlement. 

The owner asked us to devise a way to use their native silty soils as alternatives. Our Engineering Team got to work looking at options to to make the design work with high fill loads, excessive settlement and the silty backfill. In the end, we created a composite solution using AIL’s GRS arch technology. Advanced analysis and design techniques were employed to capture the composite geotextile-soil-pipe interaction. In addition, we recommended moving the culvert more to the side of the ravine floor, where there was already significant fill. 

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Conducting our own full-scale, field testing at one of our manufacturing facilities (with strain gauges and deflection prisms) for the world’s largest buried arch bridge.

The largest buried arch bridge in the world will be built for an application in Europe in 2016. Utilizing our Ultra•Cor Structural Steel Plate, the structure will have a span of 25.5 m and a rise of 9.0 m. To ensure optimum results with this overseas installation, a full-scale field test of part of this structure was conducted at our facility in Dorchester, NB. 

The partial structure was instrumented with strain gauges and deflection prisms so readings could be taken during backfilling. Demonstrating its strength, the structure displayed superior performance. Results will be published at GeoVancouver 2016, one of Canada’s foremost geotechnical engineering conferences.

Got a mining infrastructure challenge? We can help.

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