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Mining pioneer honoured by industry

Don MacLean an inaugural inductee into International Mining Technology Hall of Fame
Don MacLean (left), founder of MacLean Engineering, is pictured with son Kevin after being inducted into the 2014 International Mining Technology Hall of Fame as a pioneer in the mining technology field.

Don MacLean, who founded MacLean Engineering in 1973, is being internationally recognized as a pioneer in the mining technology field.

MacLean is an inaugural inductee into the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame, in the underground production category. Awards were bestowed during a gala in Utah in February.

MacLean, a former Inco employee who worked in Sudbury, developed drawpoint obstruction clearance machines for block caving rigs, including blockhole jumbos in the late 1970s. It was a simple concept that revolutionized underground bulk mining.

He also spearheaded the invention of high-reach and medium-reach rigs in the 1990s and the Ro-Bust. These rigs helped operators break drawpoint boulders below the brow by utilizing high-pressure water impulses. This technique licensed a technology from South Africa munitions manufacturer Denel.

As a technical innovator, MacLean’s vision and willingness to create and adapt new technologies not only drove his company’s success in the international market, but greatly influenced the underground mining equipment scene.

MacLean’s son and company president, Kevin MacLean, was impressed by the quality of the inductees, all of whom played an integral role in transforming the industry in the last decade. Their contributions have enhanced productivity and improved safety in mining.

“We are extremely proud that through their research International Mining chose to recognize Don’s place within that group,” he said.

“Although it is Don’s name on the award and the company, there are so many people that have contributed not only to the Blockholer line, but to the company as a whole. Don did not do this alone, and he and I would both like to recognize all of those people who have contributed to the quality of MacLean products over the last 40 years.”

MacLean Engineering’s corporate headquarters is located in Collingwood, while the design and manufacturing occur at facilities in Collingwood and Owen Sound.

MacLean Engineering also operates facilities in Sudbury, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, South Africa, and Australia.