Outlook 2012: Morrison to lead CEMI into a new era [mining research] – by Heather Campbell (Sudbury Star March 30, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

The Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation has made a few changes to prepare for its continued growth. Peter Kaiser, founding president during the startup phase of CEMI, has passed the leadership baton to Douglas Morrison, chair of Holistic Mining Practices, who joined CEMI in 2011 as vice-president.

Kaiser will not be going very far as he will continue to lead the Rio Tinto Centre for Underground Mine Construction, a division of CEMI. During the five years of his leadership the organization more than doubled the initial investment by the Ontario government and founding partners Vale, Xstrata Nickel and Laurentian University.

CEMI directs and coordinates step-change innovation in the areas of exploration, deep mining, integrated mine engineering, environment and sustainability for the metal mining industry. This year, CEMI’s cumulative program funding exceeded the $40-million threshold.

Morrison says that he takes on his new role with the intention of continuing to engage with the best scientists and engineers the academic community has to offer, and to engage our industrial experience to convert this knowledge into practical solutions that can be implemented as routine into mining operations.

“We also want to collaborate with as many mining research organizations as we can so we do not duplicate what has already been done, but also bring fresh minds to bear on problems that the industry has struggled with for many years, combining long years of experience with the youth and enthusiasm of today’s students for the benefit of the industry as a whole.”
CEMI moves into these changes with some significant successes in 2011.

“The acceptance of our proposal for the Smart Underground Monitoring and Integrated Technologies (SUMIT) for Deep Mining is underway, once all the partners sign on we will be installing the instrumentation,” said Morrison.

The project involves Laurentian University, Queen’s University and University of Toronto.

“The project will monitor changing ground conditions through displacements and seismic signals and gain a better understanding of the response when mining.

Morrison in his new role would like to explore additional areas that meet CEMI’s mandate.

Having focused much of its efforts on deep mining it would like to broaden to cover all of five theme areas — mineral exploration and geophysics, deep mining, mine design, environmental and mine construction.

“The area of the environment where we have not done a lot of work,” said Morrison.

“That is looking at tailings, waste management and waste water management. In most mining projects in the world the tailings and waste water issues are the major constraint in new mining.

“Sudbury has made significant contributions in the recovery of the Sudbury area and we are globally recognized as an example of how to recover the environment but we can always improve on it. There are always advancements to be made in tailings and waste management.”

Morrison’s position with CEMI as chair, Holistic Mining Practices, provides a number of potential projects to explore.
“Like to see if it is possible to reprocess tailings, extract and redeposit using more modern techniques which would make the complete footprint smaller than previous years,” explained Morrison.

CEMI is looking forward to its growth and another promising year ahead. It currently has 30 research projects underway with 30 professors and fifty undergraduate, graduate (MSc, PhD and PDF) and co-op students involved.