The flexibility and versatility of HCI Energy’s Hybrid Cube is poised to provide much-needed broadband coverage along the route to and through Detour Lake Mine in Northern Ontario, Canada. Located approximately eight kilometers west of the Ontario-Québec border and 180 kilometers northeast of Cochrane, this gold deposit is actively mined 24 hours a day, despite its low level of accessibility. With the technology innovation in place, workers, suppliers and surrounding communities will benefit from a much safer travel path with reliable telecom coverage.
Initially in operation from 1983 to 1999, Detour Lake Mine is located on property that was acquired in 2006 by Detour Gold when the property contained a near-surface gold resource of 3.4 million ounces. Construction on the new mine development began in 2011 and was completed in 2013. The mine was acquired by Kirkland Lake Gold in 2020, a year in which more than 516,000 ounces of gold was produced. Safe travel to the mine is critical given its position as the second largest gold-producing mine in Canada. However, a combination of unique challenges plagued this project.
In addition to being completely off-grid, the string of communication tower sites delivering coverage to the area is subject to extreme cold temperatures. Furthermore, client requirements were heavily driven by a green initiative to utilize a high percentage of renewable energy. This eliminated most traditional solutions and led the client to select HCI Energy to design a custom solution to fit the need.
The problem presented an exciting challenge to the engineers at HCI. The project team quickly determined its eight-foot by 10-foot Hybrid Cube with solar array would serve as the base of the design. The standard on-grid lithium battery storage capacity was then increased to accommodate additional off-grid demand the site would require. Beyond the Cube’s inherent solar capacity, an additional ground-mounted solar array was added to the project to minimize the use of the propane-powered DC generator in delivering always-on power.
HCI is proud to be involved in this impressive undertaking with the client. The team anticipates a growing partnership for the future using a solution that can be deployed in other off-grid locations as the client seeks to be a leader in moving toward a renewable and sustainable energy future.