Archive | Green Mining

Miners turn to renewable energy to cut costs – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – November 16, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

VANCOUVER – Mining companies are gluttons when it comes to energy use as they haul, grind and process ore, but soaring costs and environmental concerns have many turning to cleaner alternatives.

With energy now representing about 25 per cent of production costs, more companies are making huge long-term investments in wind, solar and other renewable energy projects to cut expenses and clean up their operations.

Companies such as Barrick Gold Corp., Teck Resources Ltd. and Rio Tinto PLC have ambitious wind-farm projects under way that will reduce energy costs and provide the much-needed social benefit of showing the communities where they work that progress is being made to reduce their environmental footprint. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Diavik [diamond mine] begins wind farm construction

03 November 2011

After several years of studying renewable energy resources, Diavik Diamond Mines Inc., operator of the Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, is pleased to announce the start of construction of a wind farm at our mine site.

With investment from our joint venture partners, Rio Tinto and Harry Winston Diamond Corporation, approved earlier this year, and much planning completed, we have now advanced the Diavik wind farm to initial construction. Four 2.3 megawatt turbines will be constructed providing a capacity of 9.2 megawatts.

Diavik currently, relies on diesel fuel for all our energy needs. The wind farm will reduce our diesel use by approximately four million litres, about ten per cent of our total diesel consumption. Greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by approximately 12,000 tonnes, or six per cent of total emissions. By diversifying our energy mix at our mine we will offset some of the risks associated with reliance on diesel.

“The benefits of the initiative are numerous and will be realized for many years to come.  Continue Reading →

[Goldcorp’s Timmins] Site rehab near completion – by Chris Ribau (Timmins Daily Press – November 3, 2011)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

Goldcorp officials provide update on reclamation project

Life has returned to the Hollinger tailings area. A black bear and two cubs were seen roaming a grassy area that used to resemble a lunar landscape only 18 months ago.

Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines announced on Wednesday that Phase 2 of the Hollinger Tailings Management Area Rehabilitation Project will be completed by the end of November.

Phase 1 of the project began in 2009 and has been a high priority for the company given the acid-generating nature of the tailings.

Phase 2 of the project has focused on relocating all remaining tailings from private lands onto the Goldcorp’s Hollinger tailings facility, the final cleanup and chemical stabilization treatment of the McIntyre Concentration Dump, constructing a 1,100-metre drainage channel, completing work on the Hollinger (Gillies) Tailing Pond slopes and installing shoreline erosion protection. Continue Reading →

A New Addiction the US Can’t Afford: [Vanadium] Foreign Batteries – by By Ron MacDonald

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Ron MacDonald is Vice Chairman & Director, Senior Council Global Markets of American Vanadium Corp.

The US government’s commitment to supporting both the renewable energy and electric vehicle industries underlines the need for the rapid development of the automotive and mass storage batteries, and has thrown the spotlight on domestic vanadium supplies.

In the not-too-distant future, will America find itself exchanging an addiction to foreign oil with an addiction to foreign batteries? Or will it create a successful battery market policy through its current efforts to bolster manufacturing while securing strategic materials? Either way, it seems certain that playing a critical role will be a little known element: vanadium.

It’s easy to connect the four dots involved: (1) US government policy is focused on reducing reliance on foreign oil and lowering CO2 emissions; (2) As a result, renewable energy investments and electric vehicles production will capture an increasingly large part of the American economy; (3) Since renewables such as wind and solar require mass storage batteries to effectively integrate with the grid, and since electric vehicles require higher performance batteries to compete with gas-burning cars; then (4) new battery solutions are vital to the US hitting its policy targets. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Agnico-Eagle’s Goldex mine to suspend production during investigation and remediation of water inflow and ground stability issue; book value of Goldex to be written off (Oct/19/2011)

Stock Symbol:   AEM (NYSE and TSX) 

(All amounts expressed in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted)

TORONTO, Oct. 19, 2011 /CNW/ – Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited (“Agnico-Eagle” or the “Company”) announced today that it is suspending mining operations and gold production at its Goldex mine in Val d’Or, Quebec effective immediately.  This decision follows the receipt of an opinion from a second rock mechanics consulting firm which recommended that underground mining operations be halted until the situation is investigated further.

While the Company continues to assess the situation, it appears that a weak volcanic rock unit in the hangingwall of the Goldex deposit has failed.  This rock failure is thought to extend between the top of the deposit and surface.  As a result, this structure has allowed ground water to flow into the mine.  This water flow has likely contributed to further weakening and movement of the rock mass.

“Considering the safety of the Company’s employees, and the integrity of the mine’s infrastructure and that of the surrounding area, the decision was made to stop production indefinitely” said Sean Boyd, Vice-Chairman and CEO. Continue Reading →

OMA member profile: Blue Heron — providing practical environmental solutions for mining sector

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.

When Linda Byron-Fortin started Blue Heron Solutions for Environmental Management from her Timmins basement in 2004, she may not have envisioned it growing into the operation it is today with a payroll of 17 occupying a 7,000 square foot facility. 

From her Timmins headquarters, she can list among her mining clients De Beers Canada, Xstrata Nickel, Xstrata Copper, Goldcorp, Lakeshore, Northgate, Kirkland Lake Gold, St. Andrew Goldfields and a range of junior exploration and development companies.  Blue Heron’s spectrum of environmental services encompass planning and compliance, education and eco-retailing.

“I like having an ability to help people and I have an interest in management systems,” said Ms. Byron-Fortin.  “Most of my staff are ex-environmental coordinators from the resource sector who take an operational perspective on environmental permitting and compliance programs.” Continue Reading →

[Goldcorp mine restoration] ‘Liquid gold’ a big hit in Shania’s hometown – by Lisa Wright (Toronto Star – July 23, 2011)

Lisa Wright is a business reporter with the Toronto Star, which has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion.

After decades in the mining game, Goldcorp Inc. has finally figured out a way for its worker bees to make “liquid gold.” The enterprising environmental team at the Canadian company’s subsidiary in Timmins has transformed an old mine tailings property into a real hive of activity, where bees make honey amid the tall grass and flowering vegetation that until recently was a barren wasteland.

The Vancouver-based mining giant inherited the mined-out land as part of its purchase of a massive property known as Porcupine Gold Mines (PGM) in the northern Ontario city back in 2006.

The 58 hectares called the Coniaurum (which is Latin for constant gold) was mined for nearly 50 years and then abruptly abandoned in 1961 following a serious storm that breached tailings containment dams and caused discharge problems. Back then the industry was an unregulated wild west where miners would dig in and then just duck out when they were done.

Enter Goldcorp and modern day mining. Coniaurum is one of 20 burnt out mines amid its PGM operations and the first to be renewed as a wildlife habitat and rolling green field — and also an experimental ground on how to resurrect the rest of these eyesores. Continue Reading →

Goldcorp creating a good buzz [Timmins tailings restoration] – by Ron Grech (The Timmins Daily Press – July 7, 2011)

The Daily Press is the newspaper of record for the city of Timmins.

Six years ago, the Coniaurum mining tailings property was a barren site, resembling the surface of another planet. Today, the same are is covered with tall grasses and flowering vegetation. In the midst of this reclamation site, is an enclosed area of hives set up for honeybees.

For its efforts, Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines has earned an award for a reclamation project which went above and beyond the usual requirements for re-greening tailing sites. The Tom Peters Memorial Mine Reclamation Award was presented to Goldcorp at a provincial reclamation held in Sudbury last week.

The award was in recognition of improvements made to the Coniaurum reclamation property on Carium Rd. in Schumacher. Continue Reading →

Sustainability In Nickel Projects: 50 Years of Experience at Vale Inco – by S.W. Marcuson, J. Hooper, R.C. Osborne, K. Chow and J. Burchell (December 1, 2009)

The principal author, Dr. Sam Marcuson ( [email protected] ) is vice-president, business improvement for Vale Inco Limited, Mississauga, ON, Canada. This article was adapted from a plenary speech made at the CIM Conference of Metallurgists held August 2009 in Sudbury, Ontario. The full paper is available from the author or the conference proceedings.

Looking at the industry’s past and present with a view to projecting into the future can be a valuable exercise for executing and maintaining sustainable development

The first eight years of this century saw rapid growth in the consumption and production of nickel and related commodities. In response to growth in the BRIC countries, but especially China, new projects, many in under-developed countries, were initiated. Nickel pig iron, produced in aging Chinese blast furnaces, unexpectedly emerged. Simultaneously, scientists concluded that global warming is “unequivocal” and human activity is the main driver, “very likely” (>90%) causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950[1]. These factors point to a future in which sustainable development becomes of paramount interest to the mining and metallurgy industry.

To the practicing metallurgist and operator, “sustainability” may appear as keeping employees safe, meeting prevailing environmental regulations and contributing to social programs contractually agreed to, while maintaining a low-cost operation that meets production and financial targets. But this is a highly simplified view that ignores many of the sustainability concepts. Continue Reading →

Timmins: A Community Abuzz About Goldcorp’s Land Restoration Activities

This article is from Goldcorp’s new Corporate Social Responsibility in-house publication called Above Ground. (Fall/Winter 2010 issue)

Shania Twain’s hometown is a hive of activity as Goldcorp does a clean sweep – enriching habitat, raising honeybees and creating trails.

In the 100-year-old city of Timmins, Ontario (the “City with a Heart of Gold”), resides another centenarian – Goldcorp’s Porcupine Gold Mines (PGM). Since its discovery in 1910, PGM is North America’s longest continually operating gold mine – a testament to the mineral richness of this region.

Hence the allure to companies over the century – some digging in then ducking out, others going bankrupt and too many leaving unsafe lands behind. Over 20 abandoned mines blighted the PGM site for decades, until Goldcorp acquired the complex in 2006 and committed to resurrecting the lands as wildlife habitats, nature trails, green fields and even a new and improved sliding hill.

“We are not just here to take the resources and not give back,” says Dave Bucar, Strategic Development Manager for PGM. “In the past three years, we’ve spent upwards of $24 million just on reclamation of properties that we may never mine again… but it’s our duty to go in and clean these up.” Continue Reading →

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):

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.

Continue Reading →

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):

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.

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →