Archive | Green Mining

The 2010 Tom Peters Memorial Reclamation Award

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.
 
 This posting came from the Ontario Mining Association’s 90th Anniversary Publication (October/2010): http://www.oma.on.ca/en/resources/OMAat90three.pdf
 

The 2010 Tom Peters Memorial Reclamation Award was given to the Penokean Hills Field Naturalists (PHFN), the City of Elliot Lake and Rio Algom Limited for the work they did in converting the Milliken tailings management area (TMA) into a 182-ha wetland that includes marsh, bog and shoreline, as well as mature mixed forest.

The Milliken mine and mill operated from 1958 to 1964, producing 5.7 million tonnes of tailings to the Stanleigh TMA. During this period an estimated 76,500 tonnes of tailings were released to Sheriff Creek in an area later rehabilitated to form the Milliken TMA, This 17-ha area was remediated in the late 1970s. Drainage channels were installed on part of the tailings. The flat area that remained was covered by three feet of sandy gravel to form a ball field while the rest of the tailings area was flooded to form a wetland. The field was transformed in 1978 into an equestrian practice and competition field. In 1997, a berm was constructed at the outlet of the wetland to ensure the tailings remained saturated. In 2000, the berm and spillway were upgraded to safely cope with a probable maximum precipitation event.

In 1990, Erwin Meisner of the Penokean Hills Field Naturalists, asked Rio Algom whether it would consider transforming Sheriff Creek Park into the Sheriff Creek Bird Sanctuary. (The naturalists recognized the diversity of bird habitats that had evolved in the area.) With the support of Rio Algom, the PHFN secured support from the city and established a bird sanctuary at the park. In 1996, PHFN and Rio Algom entered into a “Stewardship Agreement” that identi¬fied operational objectives and prescribed activities for the sanctuary.

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Ontario Mining Association Works With Government Towards Greener, Cleaner Mineral Industry

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.
 
 This posting came from the Ontario Mining Association’s 90th Anniversary Publication (October/2010): http://www.oma.on.ca/en/resources/OMAat90three.pdf
 

The Ontario Mining Association’s Environment Committee is committed to helping its members improve the industry’s overall environmental performance by exploring, promoting and sharing best practices and technologies, with the goal of ensuring the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the industry.

The OMA encourages and supports its members to act responsibly by preventing or minimizing any adverse environmental impact arising from their activities, which include exploration, mining, processing and decommissioning.

Drew Lampman, the committee’s current chair, joined Omya Canada Inc, a calcium carbonate industrial mineral producer in Perth, 13 years ago as a project engineer. From the start he was involved with the usage of water and monitoring levels around the plant site. Over the years, his involvement with water matters increased and five years ago he became the environmental coordinator/manager for the site. Much of his work involved following the requirements for the operation’s permits, so it wasn’t much of a stretch for him to start applying for air and water permits as opposed to just following their conditions. This experience made him the ideal choice for eventually chairing the OMA’s Environment Committee.

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions – No Progress in Policy, Some Progress on the Ground – by Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues.

Throughout the history of the global environmental movement, no issue has seen anything approaching the elaborate policy structure and negotiation frameworks that surround the climate change and greenhouse gas mitigation area. 

International climate change policy has been focused around the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for over 20 years.  The IFCC is a United Nations entity created in 1988 that writes extensive reports, drawing upon input from 2500 scientific experts, 800 contributing authors, 450 lead authors, and 620 expert reviewers.  IPCC reports typically stretch into the thousands of pages. 

The UNFCCC has coordinated 15 Conference of the Parties (CoP) sessions over the past fifteen years.  These sessions have in the past featured hundreds of environmental groups, business delegations, and government departments.  Thousands of bureaucrats congregate at CoP sessions, often held in exotic locations that entail enormous travel distances and related airline GHG emissions.  Between CoP sessions, numerous working groups interact and themselves congregate in sub-committee meetings at locations around the world.  There are some 192 countries engaged in the UNFCCC process and these individual countries in turn support their policy discussions and documents with equally substantial resources and bureaucracies.  Some countries, such as Australia and the UK, have created entire government departments around climate change policy. 

In Canada, at least eight “climate change strategies” have been unveiled since the mid-1990s – five by Liberal governments and three by Conservatives – each plan outlining targets, actions, and commitments supported by the loftiest of communications rhetoric and printed on the glossiest of paper.  Through the years, the federal government has outlined plans and processes for clean development mechanisms, offset systems, early action credits, technology funds, reduction targets, emission trading systems, cap and trade systems and carbon taxes.  One particularly memorable offset document contained a 34 page glossary.  The combined worth of these documents, plus a toonie, would today buy a Starbucks coffee.  Continue Reading →

Russian Hydrology Student Particpates in De Beers Peatlands Reseach at Northern Ontario Diamond Mine

Russian Hydrology Student Yulia Orlova at De Beers Canada's Victor Diamond Mine

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Russian graduate student Yulia Orlova hopes to take lessons she is learning about muskeg at De Beers Canada’s Victor Mine home to better understand the dynamics of  Siberian peatlands.  She came to Canada last year and started her Masters in Geography at the University of Toronto.  Ms. Orlova is researching the impact of mine dewatering and mercury in peatlands under the direction of U of T professor Brian Branfireun.  This is one of the major research projects De Beers Canada’s Victor Mine is helping to sponsor.   

The 26 year old native of St. Petersburg graduated from St. Petersburg State University with a degree in hydrology.  She worked for three years both for the Russian government and a non-governmental environmental agency before continuing her studies in Canada. 

“There is expertise in Canada on peatlands and funding support and there were more opportunities to do research in my area.” – Russian Hydrology Student Yulia Orlova

“I wanted to come to Canada to study here,” said Ms. Orlova.  “There is expertise in Canada on peatlands and funding support and there were more opportunities to do research in my area.”  To complete her thesis on the hydrology of the James Bay lowlands, she collects and tests water samples from streams around the mine site and carries out analysis of the results and examines water chemistry.

Along with the academic component of her studies, Ms. Orlova, like all students and professors on the Victor site, is regularly engaged in safety training and orientation sessions.  Continue Reading →

De Beers Canada Victor Diamond Mine Doubles as Environmental Research Station

A casual observer could be forgiven for confusion over whether De Beers Canada’s Victor operation is Ontario’s first diamond mine, or a high-tech, sub-Arctic scientific research centre.  The mine itself has 13 employees dedicated to environment related jobs and at any time there could be at least 15 researchers on site.  Much of this ground breaking scientific work is related to commitments made in impact-benefit agreements with local First Nations.

In collaboration with five Canadian universities and various components of government, the Victor mine, which is located 1,070 kilometres north of Toronto near Attawapiskat, supports a number of independent but inter-related scientific research projects.  The mine invests $3.1 million annually in rehabilitation and environmental monitoring studies. 

Laurentian University, Queen’s University, University of Western Ontario, University of Waterloo and University of Toronto are all involved in various components of these research projects.  Professors along with PhD and Masters candidates from various disciplines are contributing to the advancement of knowledge about the James Bay lowlands and its ecology – knowledge that is shared for future benefit.

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Corporate Social Responsibility and Canada’s Mining Exploration Sector: Doing the Right Thing Wherever We Work – Jon Baird (June 23, 2009)

Jon Baird, Past President of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), gave this speech to the Economic Club of Canada on June 23, 2009

Check against delivery

Thank you for your generous introduction, Bill. In a 2007 speech here at the Economic Club, National Chief Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations didn’t pull any punches.

He opened his talk by describing the poverty, suffering and frustration that too many of his people live with.
He called for businesses to join the AFN’s Corporate Challenge and work together with First Nations to help address long standing problems and alleviate poverty. The National Chief described the resource industry as a natural partner for First Nations and called on both groups to work together for their mutual benefit.

So it’s fitting that the PDAC is here today to publicly introduce our new corporate social responsibility initiative, e3 Plus: A Framework for Responsible Exploration.

Aboriginal people and Europeans have been working together on the hunt for minerals in Canada since Jacques Cartier arrived here 500 years ago looking for, he said, “gold, rubies and other gems.”

The PDAC marks the industry’s long connection with Aboriginal people with the Skookum Jim Award, which is presented at our convention in Toronto every March. It recognizes Aboriginal achievement in the industry. Skookum Jim was a Tagish man who led the group that discovered gold in the Klondike in 1896 and touched off the Yukon gold rush.

Those of you outside the mining community may not be aware of how closely geoscientists in this country work with First Nations people. Continue Reading →

Anglo American Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart Speech to the Leadership Conference on Global Corporate Citizenship in New York (January, 29, 2009)

This speech by Anglo American Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart is an excellent example of the mining sector’s corporate social responsibility initiatives throughout Africa – Stan Sudol

Anglo American is one of the world’s largest mining companies focusing on platinum group metals, diamonds, copper, nickel, iron ore, metallurgical and thermal coal. For more info about their corporate social responsibility initiatives, go to: http://www.angloamerican.co.uk/aal/siteware/docs/sd-report-2009.pdf

Anglo American Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart

Mining companies don’t normally get much publicity and when we do, it tends not to be particularly positive. Nor are our products well-known
brands – for good reason. We don’t sell at JC Penney or Wal-Mart. Unlike our colleagues in the oil and gas sector, we don’t sell at the gas station. We produce commodities that are vital for modern society in a whole host of ways. But I confess I’ve never heard a dinner-table conversation revolve around whether someone’s home electrics are built with Anglo American copper, or their car’s catalytic converter with Anglo American platinum.

Both are possible: indeed the latter is quite likely, since Anglo American is the world’s leading primary producer of platinum, and platinum is a key element in cleaning exhaust emissions. Our other core businesses include base metals – copper, nickel, zinc; iron ore; coal; and diamonds – we are the largest shareholder in De Beers.

We are present in about 45 countries around the world, and employ some 190,000 people. Speaking here in New York, I guess I owe you a word of explanation about our name. We do not have major operations in America. But the United States did play a vital part in our history, alongside the United Kingdom, as these two countries were the source of the original capital that was raised by our founder Sir Ernest Oppenheimer to establish the company, over 90 years ago now, in 1917 in South Africa.

Despite being one of the largest mining companies in the world, with operations in so many countries, the reality of our business is that we sell
into bulk commodity markets. Commodity markets care a great deal about quality of the product; but quality aside, they don’t really care who
produces the metals. The result? We are not known as a brand by the general public. Continue Reading →

Canada’s Mining Sector Fails to Communicate with Media and General Population – by Stan Sudol

Leo DiCaprio on Cover of Vanity Fair Green Issue - April 2007A version of this column was originally published in the June 2007 edition of Northern Ontario Business .

The mining sector is ignoring the green light at the end of the tunnel that is attached to a 100-tonne locomotive driven by the environmental movement.

The collision is going to be messy! It will impact the industry at a time when the voracious metal demands of China and India could bring enormous prosperity to isolated Aboriginal communities throughout northern Ontario.

This constant demonization of the mining sector by media-savvy NGOs is also affecting the recruitment of the next generation of workers the industry so desperately needs.

From the Academy award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth that stars Al Gore to Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio posing on the cover of Vanity Fair – photographed in the Arctic with a cute polar bear cub to highlight global warming – there is no doubt that environmental issues dominate society’s cultural and political agendas.

Unfortunately, the mining sins of the father are certainly coming back to haunt the sons!

Past industry practices that were detrimental to the environment are still highlighted by the anti-mining crowd today.

Yet, the reality of mining in the 21st century is quite the opposite. Continue Reading →

Barrick Gold’s Dominican Republic’s Environmental Clean-up Reflects Modern Industry Approach – by Nancy White

This article is from the April 2010 issue of Beyond Borders: A Barrick Gold Report on Responsible Mining.

At the Pueblo Viejo project in the Dominican Republic, one of the most ambitious environmental clean-up efforts in recent mining history is underway. When the former Rosario Dominicana mine shut down its operations in 1999, proper closure and reclamation was not undertaken. The result has been a legacy of polluted soil and water and contaminated infrastructure.

Barrick acquired the property in 2006 as part of the Placer Dome acquisition. Today, what was once a hazardous area has been transformed into a safe and busy construction site, as some 4,500 employees and contractors converge to build the new Pueblo Viejo.

The clean-up is also creating a healthier living environment for nearby residential communities that have also been affected.

A Partnership Approach

Responsibility for the clean-up is shared between Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corp. (PVDC), a company jointly owned by Barrick (60%) and Goldcorp (40%), and the Dominican government. A special lease agreement (SLA), which set out the terms for both parties, was ratified by the Dominican National Congress and President Leonel Fernandez in November 2009. Continue Reading →

The Reclamation of Sudbury: The Greening of a Moonscape (Part 2 of 2)

This article was originally published in Viewpoint: Perspectives on Modern Mining, a publication of Caterpillar Global Mining (2008-Issue Four)

PERFECT TIMING

While mining companies were working on becoming better citizens of Sudbury, an effort was under way to begin turning around the community’s barren landscape.

The newly formed Regional Municipality of Sudbury created a “Technical Tree Planting Committee,” which in 1978 changed its name to the Vegetation Enhancement Technical Advisory Committee (VETAC). The organization is committed to the restoration and protection of Sudbury’s air, land and water.

At the same time, joint work between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Laurentian University was under way to create the “science” necessary to regreen Sudbury’s landscape.

As part of its reclamation efforts, Vale Inco had tried sowing grass seed—which would germinate, but the roots would wither as soon as they encountered the contaminated soil. After years of experimentation, Laurentian researchers—led by the late Keith Winterhalder, a Laurentian professor and former VETAC chairman—learned that an application of ground limestone could detoxify soil. They also learned that if a sparse grass cover could be established on a rocky hillside that had been treated with limestone and fertilizer, seeds from the few existing trees in the area would blow in, germinate and grow.

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The Reclamation of Sudbury: The Greening of a Moonscape Part (1 of 2)

This article was originally published in Viewpoint: Perspectives on Modern Mining, a publication of Caterpillar Global Mining (2008-Issue Four)

Community and industry come together to save the environment

Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, is a tourist destination, with major attractions like Science North and its internationally renowned science center and IMAX Theatre, dozens of lakes and scenic attractions. It has been called one of the sunniest areas of Ontario, with clean air and world-renowned environmental initiatives. It has even been cited by the United Nations for its land reclamation program and has won several other international and national awards.

However, Sudbury looked radically different just 35 years ago, when a group of transplanted professors, municipal employees, mining company leaders and local residents put their heads together to come up with a way to save it.

Years of mining, logging, fires, smelter emissions and soil erosion had taken their toll, wiping out almost all of the vegetation in the area and poisoning lakes and streams. Because there were no trees on barren sites, there were no leaves to create the mulch that protects the soil. As a result, the barren soil suffered from severe frost in the winter and too much heat in the summer.

Sudbury’s landscape was compared to the surface of the moon. Editorial cartoonists joked that birds had to carry their lunchboxes from tree to tree because they were few and far between.

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Mining as a Core Supplier to the Global Clean Energy Revolution – by Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart is vice-president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues. www.mining.ca This column was originally published January, 2009.

Few subjects are receiving as much attention in the daily media as that of our societal need to move towards a clean energy economy. This theme was fundamental to the platforms of all the Canadian federal parties in the recent election — each featuring an array of programs supporting this transition.

In the United States, the platform of President-elect Obama talks extensively of hybrid vehicles, electricity from renewable sources, low carbon standards and the ultimate objective of eliminating oil imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within a decade. Republicans in Washington talk of nuclear power, carbon capture and sequestration and battery development, among other initiatives.

Beyond the political and media coverage, it is evident that few subjects offer comparable transformative potential as changes to the world’s energy infrastructure. Developed economies have been driven for two centuries by the industrial combustion of fossil fuel — indeed there has long existed a direct macro-economic correlation of living standards with per-capita energy consumption.

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The Oil Sands and Climate Change — Some Important Considerations – Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues. www.mining.ca This column was originally published October, 2009.

The development of the western oil sands constitutes one of the world’s most significant economic stories of recent decades. Technological advances and increases in crude oil prices from $20 per barrel in the 1990s to $140 in mid-2008 together reinforced the oil sands’ economic viability and, through hundreds of billions of dollars of investment, sustained its production growth from test-well quantities to volumes exceeding one million barrels per day.

As with any source of energy, the process of extracting oil from oil sands raises a range of environmental issues. Its rapid development has served to position this sector as target number one among some environmental groups. In this respect, it is important that NGOs and public policy stakeholders not ignore some key realities.

Economic contribution

Oil sands development has increased wealth and economic activity in western Canada during the past decade, creating 200,000 jobs, including many in central Canada that helped to offset job losses in the manufacturing sector. It is also estimated that each direct job translates to nine additional jobs among suppliers and indirect beneficiaries. Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Green Miners Handle Broad Palate of Environmental Issues

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

The Ontario Mining Association Environment Committee has representatives from most member companies, who possess a wide spectrum of specialties and tackle a broad palate of issues and concerns.  Under the leadership of Committee Chair Nancy Duquet-Harvey of Northgate Minerals, about 30 of the green miners met recently in Timmins.  The group had an extremely full agenda in the session, which followed the second Ontario Mine Reclamation Symposium and Field Trip.

The OMA Environment Committee regularly deals with the Ministry of Environment and handles both analysis of proposed legislation and regulations and proactively develops programs, protocols and, in some cases, computer software to improve environmental performance and reporting of member companies.  The group makes it a habit of sharing best practices, communicating well and working co-operatively.  The collective expertise that members bring to the Committee makes it possible to effectively address issues that are highly complex and technical. 

Major items on the agenda for the recent Timmins meeting included responses to the Toxics Reduction Act and the air standards setting process under Regulation 419.  The Committee has made two submissions on the toxics reduction initiative, expressing support for the government´s intent, but concern about provisions for very broad regulation-making powers and the lack of any defined test setting out how “toxic substances” will be identified and designated. 

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Mining as a Core Supplier to the Global Clean Energy Revolution – by Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues.

Few subjects are receiving as much attention in the daily media as that of our societal need to move towards a clean energy economy. This theme was fundamental to the platforms of all the Canadian federal parties in the recent election — each featuring an array of programs supporting this transition. In the United States, the platform of President-elect Obama talks extensively of hybrid vehicles, electricity from renewable sources, low carbon standards and the ultimate objective of eliminating oil imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within a decade. Republicans in Washington talk of nuclear power, carbon capture and sequestration and battery development, among other initiatives.

Beyond the political and media coverage, it is evident that few subjects offer comparable transformative potential as changes to the world’s energy infrastructure. Developed economies have been driven for two centuries by the industrial combustion of fossil fuel — indeed there has long existed a direct macro-economic correlation of living standards with per-capita energy consumption. Societies that have been able to efficiently generate and transport energy from fossil sources have become far wealthier than those that cannot. To shift away from this dependency, even in a gradual manner, requires major changes in our underlying financial, fiscal and technological practices.

The market potential for new products and technologies associated with such a shift is staggering.

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