Canadian Mining Journal

Feature

MegaDome explains why fabric buildings make sense

Why fabric buildings make sense at mine sites.



Once the prospecting, exploration, discovery and advanced exploration stages of a project are completed, it’s time for development and construction. At this point, important investments have been made and the site needs to be prepared for the exploitation phase. Fabric buildings offer a cost-efficient and flexible solution for mining sites. Compared to conventional buildings, they are quickly installed, can be easily delivered in remote regions and generally come with a wide range of foundations that can be adapted to all kinds of grounds.

Installation of an 90- by 336-ft. building at the Gahcho Kué diamond project in the Northwest Territories. CREDIT: MEGADOME

Adapted to remote locations

Mining sites are often located in far or isolated regions that are difficult to access. The first challenge is to find an efficient way to deliver the materials and structure for quick installation. At MegaDome, our in-house engineering team has designed buildings that can fit entirely in one container. This feature turned out to be very useful for the Gahcho Kué mining project, a diamond mine situated on an island to the north east of Yellowknife. We delivered a building to the site on an ice road that is only accessible two months a year. Installation of the 90 x 336-ft. fabric building only took six to eight weeks to complete.

Remote sites are often located on different kinds of grounds, which can complicate the installation of buildings. Our team of experts has developed a wide range of foundations that can adapt to all kinds of grounds, the most popular of which are concrete blocks that require very little excavation. For one of our projects with De Beers, it was impossible to install foundations. Instead, we used beams and steel wire rods to secure the building. The result was a resounding success, with a solid structure resistant to all possible weather conditions.

Quick installation

One of our clients, Champion Iron Mines (formerly Consolidated Thompson), ordered four fabric buildings that were installed in a record time of 18 months. These were the first buildings to be installed on their construction site, which wasn’t initially cleared and was being used to store machinery and materials for the construction of their conventional buildings. Osisko Mining in Malartic also started developing its construction site with the installation of a MegaDome building, which they used to store equipment, machinery and materials. Once the construction phase was completed, they converted it into a storage building. Fabric buildings can also be used as maintenance workshops or for drill-core storage.

Innovative engineering

Our designs ensure durable and resistant structures. They are built using structural steel subject to standard, with qualities such as fixed steel composition validated by mill testing. The structures are built with oval tubing making them more resistant than round and rectangular tubes of similar dimensions. The lower section of the arches, which are the most exposed to dirt and corrosive elements, are always hot dipped after welding to ensure the protection of the steel and the durability of the structure. The entire structure and its components can also be hot dipped for extra protection.

The mining industry often faces operational challenges such as limited power supplies. To help with this issue, the structure is covered with a PowerShield membrane, designed with the most advanced polymer technology on the market. It lets natural light in easily all day, which is an essential feature where energy is scarce. This durable and waterproof membrane is assembled at our factory to ensure its quality.

Many mining sites face extreme weather conditions. Canadian Royalties’ project, for example, is located in the Far North where the company has to deal with extreme cold. They chose MegaDome buildings because they can be easily insulated and ensure a tempered room whatever the weather.

Our engineering team designs all of our buildings directly at our office, to boost efficiency and help meet the unique daily needs of our clients. Canadian Royalties, for example, had a very specific ask. They were looking to install one of their buildings on top of multiple containers. Our engineers adjusted the structure to make this possible, while ensuring the same safety and durability offered by all of our buildings. In addition, they made sure all industry norms and certifications were respected.

Our team of experts has a clear understanding of the challenges faced by the mining industry. With that in mind, we design innovative buildings that can adapt perfectly to mining industry environments. We begin every project by evaluating the client’s unique needs and goals, backed by the help of a dedicated expert that works with them in the field at every step, from concept to execution.

This article was supplied by MegaDome (www.megadomebuildings.com). The company can be reached at info@harnois.com.


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