by Kathrine Moore
Fred Stanford, PEng, CEO and President of Torex Gold Resources Inc. [TXG-TSX] is a miner with 35 years of experience in the industry. Stanford began his mining career in 1981 at Vale, one of the world’s largest nickel mines, (formerly Vale Inco, CVRD Inco and Inco Limited Canada Limited). He served many roles there from underground foreman to President of Vale’s Ontario operations. In 2010, Stanford began his current role as CEO and President of Torex Gold, a Canadian based company producing from and exploring and developing its Morelos Gold Property in Mexico.
Stanford is the originator of The Muckahi Mining System, a two-way system that operates on an overhead monorail that combines face drilling and blasting with an ore conveyor system. The system can operate on steep inclines (30°, 58%) in a narrow heading.
In a February 2019 article by Daniel Gleeson, Stanford said, “If proven successful in 2019, the Muckahi technology will reduce the costs of future underground mining on the Morelos property (which includes the ELG and Media Luna assets) and will provide us with a competitive advantage when bidding on potential acquisitions and pursuing other options for commercial deployment.”
On April 3, 2019, Torex Gold reported that field trials were underway for the first piece of equipment for the proprietary Muckahi mining system. “The first tunneling blast of the field trials was taken on March 26th. The round was successfully drilled from the monorail mounted Muckahi jumbo drill.” The second piece of equipment, the Muckahi service platform is onsite and was commissioned in early June. The tramming conveyor and the mucking machine are on track for off-site commissioning in Q3. Testing of the Muckahi Mining System is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Stanford stated that, “The team is looking forward to completing the field trials in 2019. The goal is to demonstrate the Muckahi mining system capabilities over the full development cycle for tunneling, including on a minus 30-degree gradient, and to demonstrate the capability of the system to lower costs in long hole open stope mining. Exciting times!”
Torex Gold states that “We are developing what could be an industry changing technology.” The Muckahi Mining System will reduce underground mining capital expenditures by 30%, reduce mining operating expenses by 30% and reduces the time between investment and revenue by 80%.
On June 20, 2019, Stanford reported that they intend to mine the ELD deposit with the Muckahi mining system. Stanford said, “If as expected, the costs associated with Muckahi mining are lower than conventional mining costs, we may be able to lower the cut-off grade and increase the size of the mineral reserve. Excavation of the 30-degree down ramp to access the lower parts of the ELD deposit is underway, with four rounds taken. In the upper portions of the deposit, the excavations are nearly completed for the initial long hole stopes that will be mined utilizing the production aspects of the Muckahi system. To date the Muckahi system has performed as expected, we are all eager to progress through the next stages of the testing program, and if proven, then move forward with the strategic options it has the potential to unlock.”