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All-electric, automated mining hauler aims to be operational in 2026

The RIINO monorail is currently under development in Sudbury
Sudbury-based RIINO Inc. is developing an all-electric, automated monorail for the mining industry.

Tough and resilient, much like its namesake, the RIINO cargo hauler will be ready to charge into the mining industry in 2026, according to its inventor.

Aaron Lambert, the company’s Sudbury-based founder and CEO, came up with the concept for the all-electric, zero-emission monorail about a dozen years ago while working as a mine contractor.

With the demand for minerals rising, and mine development challenges increasing in complexity, Lambert intuited the industry’s need for a haul system that reduces construction and operational costs, while boosting efficiency and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.

“This is something that the mining industry is not only interested in, but it's something that they do need to be able to continue developing mines,” he said.

Lambert said he’s now been working on the monorail in earnest for about 18 months, consulting the industry on its needs and building an executive team.

This past June, RIINO Inc. received $780,000 in development money through the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) network, a Sudbury-based research and innovation coalition aimed at speeding up the time it takes for companies to get their mining technologies to market.

RIINO was one of three Northern Ontario companies of the 24 recipients announced to share in $15 million in funding.​

The low-profile monorail is designed to carry both payload and personnel for surface and underground operations. | Supplied image

​Part train and part roller coaster, the all-electric, automated monorail is being designed to haul both rock and personnel, with surface and underground applications.

Travelling at speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour, the RIINO will be able to haul payload of 400 tonnes on flat grade, and up to 120 tonnes at 18 per cent grade.

“It has direct power, similar to a subway where you have the third rail direct power supply, but also onboard batteries to supplement the power supply when needed,” Lambert said.

Fast, efficient, low-cost and zero-emission, Lambert believes the RIINO hits on all the requirements of modern mine machinery.

Development on the RIINO is expected to kick into high gear in 2024.

Lambert has struck a deal with local entrepreneur Boris Naneff, the owner-operator of Rainbow Concrete, to construct a full-scale, operational pilot system at Naneff’s aggregate quarry. RIINO Inc. received the appropriate build approvals from the Ministry of Mines this past fall. 

Engineering on the project will continue through 2024, and Lambert anticipates the pilot will be up and running in 2025.

“We'll be doing all our testing (there), and we will have it open to bring the visitors from the mining industry and also open to the public later on, once we're ready, so everybody can see the new technologies and the advancements for the mining industry,” Lambert said.

Moving into commercialization by the end of 2025, Lambert said the company will remain headquartered in Sudbury, with job opportunities for engineering, technical trades, and more.

He's aiming to have the RIINO in a working mine in 2026.

Sector response so far has been encouraging, he said.

“I've been engaging with industry for the past three years, and because there's been so much positive feedback and interest in this type of technology, (that’s) why it's been advancing, why we are continuing to be able to develop it and move forward."