The next chapter of MacLean Engineering

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MacLean Engineering, based in Collingwood, Ontario, is expanding its position as a provider of electric machinery, as well as its geographic footprint

MacLean Engineering is expanding its roster of electric mining vehicles, as well as its global footprint. 

In November, the Collingwood, Ontario-based company attended Québec Mines + Énergie conference in Quebec City, to showcase its battery electric fleet performance as well as speak to the latest addition to the MacLean ground support product line, the RB3-Scaler.

“Quebec is where the MacLean mining story started with founder Don MacLean’s roots tracing back to Malartic and Chibougamau; it’s where hundreds of units are currently working underground from the Abitibi, to Nunavik and the Kivalliq, to the Saguenay; and, it’s where the next generation of electric, remotely controlled, and increasingly autonomous MacLean mining vehicles will help shape the next generation of mining in this province as well as in Nunavut,” said Tony Caron, MacLean’s vice president of Quebec and Latin America.  

The MacLean RB3-Scaler was designed in response to the global mining industry’s need for safe and productive mechanical scaling options. 

The scaler was recently unveiled at ExpoMinera, Mexico’s bi-annual national mining show. 

MacLean EV Series

The scaler is available with battery electric propulsion, part of the MacLean EV Series line of zero emissions mobile mining equipment that spans the company’s ground support, ore flow and utility vehicle product categories.

By the end of 2019, more than 30 MacLean EV mining vehicles will be working underground at nine mine sites in Canada, operated by three major mining companies in two provinces. 

The MacLean EV Series design incorporates onboard charging that plugs into mines’ existing electrical infrastructure, along with liquid cooled and data-rich battery technology, to deliver a low heat, low noise, low maintenance, zero DPM mobile equipment option that has amassed about 40,000 hours of operating time in Canadian underground mines to date.

“The MacLean message to our Quebec industry colleagues is: we have a proven and instantly mine ready battery electric fleet solution,” said Kevin MacLean, president of MacLean Engineering.

“Since the launch of our fleet electrification program at MINExpo in 2016, MacLean has focused its EV product development efforts within the mining vehicle categories that we built a global reputation in for safety, durability and productivity going back to the 1970s. 

“Battery electric vehicles are the next chapter in our almost half-century focus on production support mining equipment solutions for the global hard rock industry.”

Nunavut MacLean

Recently, MacLean Engineering announced it has partnered with the Rankin Inlet-based Nunavut Investments Ltd. to create Nunavut MacLean Inc., an Inuit-owned business registered on NTI’s Inuit Firm Registry. 

The new business will provide a long-term platform for supporting MacLean specialty mobile equipment at Agnico Eagle’s underground mines in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut.

“This is the third Aboriginal agreement we have forged in Canada, building on the success of our First Nation partnership for the Borden project in Ontario, as well as the First Nation and Inuit partnerships for the Voisey’s Bay project in Newfoundland and Labrador,” MacLean said.

Nunavut Investments is owned and operated by Patrick Tagoona, a Rankin Inlet resident and entrepreneur who also has an extensive professional background with executive staff positions at the Kivalliq Inuit Association and the Government of Nunavut, as well as the president of Sakku Investments Corporation.

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“I am excited to partner with a leading mining vehicle manufacturer in support of a leading mining company that is creating sustainable job and business opportunities for the Kivalliq,” Tagoona said. “This type of true partnership is how resource development should be done.”

There are currently more than 30 MacLean mining vehicles servicing Agnico Eagle’s Nunavut operations at the new Meliadine underground mine and the Amaruq Whale Tail underground project. 

The Agnico Eagle fleet of MacLean mobile equipment includes rock bolting, concrete transporting, material transporting, explosives charging, shotcrete spraying, secondary reduction drilling, mobile rockbreaking as well as elevated platform maintenance and services installation.

“We’re honoured to be a part of the Agnico Eagle story across the Americas and especially in Nunavut, with our Val d’Or branch leading the way on account management, commissioning, training and field service support,” Caron said.

“Creating a business with Patrick Tagoona is a testament to our commitment to the Kivalliq and to ensuring that our mining vehicles working underground at Meliadine and Amaruq have the best possible support network above ground, one that builds local capacity for servicing heavy equipment in the Arctic.”

Mexico expansion

Looking much further south, MacLean has also started to expand its Querétaro, Mexico facility for production, with component manufacturing for its mining division’s product line to be followed by manufacturing complete machines. 

The first phase of the expansion will include the addition of assembly bays, weld bays, a burn table and overhead cranes, bringing the company’s total manufacturing footprint in Mexico 5,600 square metres. 

Currently, 30 MacLean employees work at the company’s Querétaro branch, including sales and marketing personnel, skilled tradespeople, technical and training support specialists, along with virtual reality and vehicle monitoring system programmers. 

“This is a major statement to our global customer base, something that we hope is seen for what it is — a proof point for the extent to which we see the Latin American underground mining market as key to our company’s future and, a significant investment in de-bottlenecking our three manufacturing facilities in Ontario,” MacLean said.

MacLean equipment is at work in underground operations across Mexico, as well as Peru, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Colombia and Ecuador.

“The MacLean engagement in the Mexican mining industry started with the opening of a branch over seven years ago, and since that time we have grown to support a wide range of mining companies in Mexico looking for mobile fleet solutions along with world-class service, training and parts support,” said Rene Valle, general manager of MacLean operations in Mexico and Central America.

“This latest investment by MacLean represents a first for our company — establishing manufacturing outside of our main base in southern Ontario — and it is worth noting that with this move, MacLean also becomes the only global OEM in Mexico conducting manufacturing activities in-country.”