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Raphaël Pelletier on mining - interview with Global Business Reports (GBR)

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Raphaël Pelletier on mining - interview with Global Business Reports (GBR)


Mining activity in Canada contributes to Howden’s product road map and acts as a compass for its future developments.

Raphaël Pelletier, Howden's Account Executive - Global Mining
Raphaël Pelletier

What services does Howden provide the mining sector?

Howden specializes in the air handling business. We provide engineered turnkey solutions from conceptual designs to equipment manufacturing, commissioning, and ultimately maintenance of the assets.

With regard to the mining sector, Howden built a name for itself as a fan manufacturer through its legacy brands and various acquisitions. Over the past decade, Howden has developed its Total Mine Ventilation Solutions (TMVS) offering end-to-end solutions. Through our TMVS offering, we can supply fans in addition to mine cooling systems, mine air heaters, ventilation control systems, and engineering services.

How important is Canada to Howden’s overall operations?

20% of Howden’s total mining business comes from Canada. Mining activity in Canada contributes to Howden’s product roadmap and acts as a compass for its future developments. It helps us develop strategies locally that can then be implemented on a global scale. Sudbury, for example, is considered the mining technology capital of the world, with developments in BEVs, and communication technologies, amongst many other innovative products.

What are the benefits of 3D modeling in ventilation design?

3D modeling has enabled Howden to engage at early stage customers with conceptual mine designs and help them move their project from a pre-feasibility, to feasibility, and into project execution. 3D modeling helps determine and visualize numerous factors such as tunnel size, ventilation raises, and overall ventilation strategies.

How can proper ventilation systems assist mining operators in lowering their carbon footprint?

In recent years, a Howden customer and a newer mine in the Québec area implemented our ventilation control system. It is ventilation on demand solution that allows the mine to adjust ventilation needs in real time based on the number of personnel underground and the machinery being operated. With the total amount of toxic gasses generated by the machinery and blasting activity, controlling ventilation is extremely important to miner safety. The VOD system helps increase productivity while reducing carbon footprint.

What adoption trends has Howden seen in the ventilation on-demand space?

Ventilation on demand is part of the solution that miners are implementing to achieve carbon emission reduction goals. Since this is an area of opportunity, more competitors are entering the space, which promotes a healthy competitive environment.

How does heating air improve ventilation and safety?

Heating is important in Northern mining environments due to ice build-ups in ramps, shaft collars and ventilation raises. Heating requirements are proportional to the amount of fresh air that is required underground. If the requirement of fresh air is optimized and distributed more efficiently, you reduce the required amount of heated air, which reduces carbon emissions, as air is heated using fuels such as propane, natural gas, or diesel in more remote locations.

Are there any unique considerations Howden considers when working in Québec?

Québec is one of the world’s biggest untapped mineral resources and situated in very attractive mining jurisdiction. Québec has distinct mining regulations that vary from other Canadian provinces. We also need to be mindful of the culture in Québec. The official language spoken is French. New companies entering the Québec market need to understand the culture to ensure the success of their project. There are also environmental challenges that must be taken into consideration. For half the year, temperatures fall below zero degrees Celsius, which contributes to added risk, costs, and planning when it comes to mining. With that comes added supply and logistics challenges when working in remote areas.

Do you have a final message for GBR’s readers?

Howden aims to maintain its leading position in mine ventilation solutions through organic growth and acquisitions. We have our own ESG targets, such as making a commitment to reduce our carbon footprint by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2035. Howden is also promoting women’s employment in the sector to reach a more gender-equal work environment. Additionally, we make safety a priority in our plants and construction sites. Finally, since 2021, 100% of Howden employees have received anti-bribery and anti-corruption training, and we aim to maintain this record going forward throughout the organization.


Article Date

Friday, 14 October 2022



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