International Minerals Innovation Institute

SASKATOON AND HUMBOLDT, SK – September 19, 2019:  A new project looks to demonstrate the power and cost-efficiency of deploying advanced modeling and simulation tools to investigate how dust is released underground in potash mines as ore moves from the rock face to skipping to surface.

The International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) and WESTEST are partnering in their first joint project to investigate how dust is released at ore transfer points underground under IMII’s Exploring Innovations program. This program supports the application or testing of new scientific methods or technologies. 

WESTEST contracts PAMI skilled engineers and experts to perform modeling and numerical simulation. These experts, under Dr. Hubert Landry’s leadership, have vast modeling and simulation experience and expertise in a multitude of industries. This project is the first opportunity Dr. Landry has to apply his skills to this topic for the minerals industry.

“Dust is ever present in mining operations, whether in the mining systems or in milling processes.  It has the potential to create low visibility conditions and effect machinery performance through equipment failure,” says Al Shpyth, IMII’s Executive Director. “It is something the minerals industry seeks to control, and this project, which will take advantage of new computational power, offers the potential to gain new insights into how dust first gets airborne and moves underground, and therefore how to better control it.”

“Modeling and numerical simulation is a powerful tool that allows engineers to better understand how equipment and products perform, and how they may be improved,” says David Yee, Vice President, Saskatchewan Operationsfor WESTEST. “Such understanding is paramount to managing potential risks, including those related to safety,” he adds. 

IMII is contributing $25,000 on behalf of BHP, K+S Potash Canada, Mosaic and Nutrien for this 6-month project with WESTEST providing $10,000 in kind, predominantly in the form of advanced software for modeling and simulating the dust environment. The results of the project will be reviewed by industry subject matter experts for insights into the potential to further dust management.


For more information:

Al Shpyth, Executive Director, IMII

Phone: (306) 668-2057

David Yee, Vice President, Saskatchewan Operations, WESTEST

Phone: 1-800-561-8378


International Minerals Innovation Institute is a unique innovation supporting network of mining companies, government departments and agencies, and post-secondary and research institutions, jointly funded by industry and government.  It exists to deliver innovations that matter to mining in Saskatchewan.


WESTEST is an industrial testing and engineering facility with two decades of proven, industry-respected service delivering advanced product engineering and development integrated with a wide array of physical testing capabilities to equipment and vehicle manufacturers across North America. With growing computer-aided engineering capabilities to augment its physical testing expertise, WESTEST evaluates components, full vehicles and machines for a broad range of equipment and manufacturing industries.

News Release – pdf version