Deep inside this mine…Nobel Prize winning science is unlocking the mysteries of the universe.
At Vale’s century-old Creighton Mine in Sudbury, Ontario, SNOLAB, a world-renowned science facility, is shedding new light on neutrinos and dark matter physics and improving our understanding of the universe.
Have you ever imagined that two kilometers below the surface there may be a physics lab with scientists and ultramodern equipment to unravel mysteries of the universe? It looks like a scene straight out of a science fiction movie, but it is one of Vale’s major investments in the area of innovation.
Among the main studies conducted at the site is one that is looking into a rare radioactive process called neutrino-less double beta decay, which could explain the development of matter and of the world. Some research projects are in search, for example, for particles of dark matter left over from the Big Bang, the great explosion that gave rise to the universe. Abundant in the Cosmos, neutrino is one of these particles. Electric charge-free and with an extremely small mass, it is considered a key element, because it can relate both with matter and dark matter.
For Vale, SNOLAB also serves as a mounting base for the three-dimensional seismic monitoring system called Pups (Polaris Underground Project), which provides detailed information about seismic activity to the mining industry. This geotechnical information, for example, helps Vale to plan deep mine excavations.
Digging deep to improve scientific knowledge is just another example of how Canada’s mining companies are driving innovation.