A Brief History

Mission Statement: “The Mining Diesel Emissions Council (MDEC) is committed to providing a global forum for the dissemination of the latest scientific and technologically advanced research to reduce and control diesel emissions in the mining workplace environment.”

Background: MDEC is organized by a Management Committee, comprising members of stakeholder organizations, including the mining industry, labour, government, research houses, consultants, petroleum producers, engine manufacturers, and emission control technology developers, on a voluntary basis.

Its roots go back many years. In the late 70's, concerns were growing over the increased use of diesels in underground mines and possible harmful effects. A unique agreement was reached between the governments of Canada, the United States and Ontario whereby funding would be pooled to jointly study the problem, to improve methods of monitoring components of diesel exhaust, study the effects of these pollutants and develop methods of controlling them. The executing agencies of this “Collaborative Diesel Research Advisory Panel (CDRAP)” were CANMET/NRCan, US Bureau of Mines and Ontario Ministry of Labour. Several other interested parties also participated in the Panel, including mine operators, R/D organizations, inspectorates and manufacturers.

This collaborative government consortium continued until 1986, producing much information on the nature of diesel particulate matter, the means of measuring it, add-on system development, and system performance assessment, demonstrating substantial reduction of DPM, and lowered impact on the health of workers.

This organized approach was the forerunner of the “Canadian ADHOC Diesel Committee” which was formed in 1986/87 in order to continue the provision of a venue for consultation among all segments of the mining industry, and foster R/D progress in the reduction of diesel emissions.

In Canada, at the same time, there was a focus on the application of ceramic filtration technology (first developed in 1981) in mines. The Federal Canadian Government funded a demonstration program of trap technologies in several mines which was designed to pass this technology from government to one Canadian manufacturer of emission control technologies. This program successfully proved that most heavy-duty production vehicles were suitable for use with trap technology without the use of active regeneration systems. Subsequently, the number of Canadian companies involved in trap technology development increased to at least four, and interest was likewise aroused in the United States. And, filtration systems have, as a result, been successfully applied, both above and below ground, in a number of countries.

In 1997, those attending meetings convened to report and discuss diesel emissions reduction, grew to well over 100 persons. This widespread interest required considerable additional resources to maintain the two-day annual event. In 1998, the forum changed its name to the Canadian Mining Diesel Conference. The event was sponsored by a number of organizations including CANMET-MMSL, engine and vehicle manufacturers and emission control technology suppliers.

Although not formally connected, the conference acts as a platform for information and progress of the DEEP (Diesel Emissions Evaluation Program) consortium, which sponsors projects to develop strategies to minimize exposure of operators in underground mines to diesel pollutants.

In 1999, in recognition of the international outreach of the conference, the name was changed to the Mining Diesel Emissions Conference. The preparation and administration of the conference is organized by a Management Committee. Two Co-Chairs facilitate this committee: one representing government and one representing industry.

In 2007, the Mining Diesel Emissions Council (the organization body of the MDEC conference) incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation under the Canada Corporations Act to formalize and expand its service to the industry and for sustainability.

The MDEC conference takes place every year in early October in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada. Delegates and speakers attend from all over the world to discuss the topic of vital interest to the mining industry.