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Province buys new $2.6M mining rope tester for Sudbury lab

Machine tests strength of ropes to be used in mines
Willet Green Miller building
Willet Green Miller building. (Supplied)

The province is investing almost $2.6 million in a new, state-of-the-art, rope-testing machine the government says “will put Ontario on the leading edge of mine safety and protect jobs for the next 25 years.”

The machine is used by companies across the world to ensure accurate, timely testing of wire ropes used for lifting ore and other materials in mines. 

"Our Ford PC government is committed to creating and protecting good jobs, especially in the North," Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour, is quoted as saying in a news release. "Our government is committed to investing in Northern Ontario to protect good jobs for years to come."

The new machine will replace one the province acquired in 1991, which was taken out of service six times in the past few years due to breakdowns. 

The rope testing machine is located at the Materials Testing Laboratory operated by the Ministry of Labour in Sudbury (it's located in the Willet Green Miller building on the Laurentian University campus). Mine operators are required by law to submit rope samples to the lab for testing. Half of the ropes submitted are from Ontario. The remainder are from across Canada and the rest of the world. The ministry charges fees to mine operators to test the ropes. 

"Rope safety is essential for mine operators to ensure their mines are operating safely and reliably," Scott said in the release. "This machine will help to keep workers in the mining sector safe across the world."
The new machine will be able to test both wire ropes as well as synthetic ropes, which are likely to be used in the future. The machine is scheduled to be completed and installed in the spring of 2020. The government's investment will help secure jobs at the lab, which play a vital role supporting the mining industry.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario has about 40 underground mines, with about 25,000 workers. Most of these mines are located in Northern Ontario.
  • A wide variety of minerals are extracted from Ontario’s underground mines, including copper, nickel, gold and other precious metals, diamonds, salt and gypsum.
  • The Materials Testing Laboratory tests between 500 and 900 ropes per year, as well as wire ropes used for suspension bridges worldwide, generating about $850,000 in annual revenue.