Capstone

Ice bridge makes propane supply a delicate operation

Superior Propane team overcomes the restrictions of an ice bridge to provide storage solutions and a steady propane supply to Capstone’s Minto mine.

THE CHALLENGE

Imagine a location so cold and treacherous its roads—and a bridge that provides passage—are made of ice.

That was the challenge Superior Propane faced when moving propane and equipment to Capstone’s isolated mine in the Yukon.

Moving material safely is always of utmost importance to the Superior team, but this project took the challenge to a new level. The engineered ice bridge that Capstone built demanded a precise load requirement for Superior’s trucks that were bringing in large propane storage facilities, the associated installation equipment and the propane that powers it all.

“We needed a supplier that understood the logistics of the footprint. The weight of the trucks had to be accurate to make sure the bridge could handle it,” said Brad Skeeles, vice-president of Capstone’s operations.

When it comes to propane as an energy source, particularly in the deep winter, a steady supply is critical to keep the mine operating. Keeping it coming without interruption no matter what was also a demand the Superior team needed to manage while making safe passage.

THE SOLUTION

Organization and optimization were key words on this icy project.

“Superior always came prepared and demonstrated they could manage the job,” said Skeeles. “Working responsibly was critical because safety is non-negotiable.”

That meant planning shipments ensuring that the ground pressure of each truck and it’s load did not exceed the maximum capacity of the ice road and bridge.

Precision was also important when it came to scheduling since access to the site was limited by road and weather conditions. The Superior team worked closely with Capstone to ensure deliveries and shipments could be made despite these challenging conditions.

“Commitment of supply and safety mean everything to us.” said Skeeles.

They acted swiftly, professionally and used their considerable mining expertise to provide a customized energy solution, including seamless transportation all needed materials.

BUSINESS BENEFITS

Superior Propane acting quickly, worked with Capstone to build a custom storage and delivery plan to meet the unique challenges the ice bridge presented. With all water access to the mine being seasonal, a winter ice bridge was the only alternative delivery method. However, there is a gap period when neither the barge delivery nor the ice bridge delivery was viable. At that point, Superior augmented the onsite storage to ensure sufficient propane supply prior to the ice bridge becoming available.

Partnership, collaboration and outstanding customer service are the hallmarks of a client relationship with Superior Propane. It’s something mining companies have come to depend on from the Superior team.

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