Archive | Mining Education and Innovation

Vale to automate iron ore mine to improve safety and production – by JP Casey (Mining Technology – September 13, 2018)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

The world’s largest iron ore miner Vale plans to operate its Brucutu iron ore mine in Brazil with a fully autonomous fleet of vehicles next year, following a successful trial of driverless technology, to improve production and safety at the operation.

The trial involved the deployment of seven Caterpillar 793F CMD fully-autonomous trucks at the mine for a month, following six years of research and development.

The project cost $62m and the site saw a 26% increase in the volume of ore transported during the trial, results that the company’s ferrous planning and development director Lúcio Cavalli called ‘promising’. Continue Reading →

Winter workers: How cold-adapted bacteria can benefit miners – by Christopher Pollon (CIM Magazine – September 06, 2018)

http://magazine.cim.org/en/

Nadia Mykytczuk, Industrial Research Chair in biomining, bioremediation and science communication at Laurentian University, spends a lot of time studying how micro-organisms like bacteria can be used to extract minerals and re-process legacy mine waste, all of which can reduce the environmental liabilities of mining.

As one of the few mining microbiologists focused on cold environments like Canada, she is working to create a Centre for Mine Waste Biotechnology that will nurture the next generation of scientists, companies and microbial mining tools.

CIM: What path led you to your current work at Laurentian University?

Mykytczuk: Very early on I was focused on how microbes work in various environments. While I was an undergrad at Carleton University, I got a co-op placement at the National Research Council looking at vaccine development for various pathogens; for my PhD at Laurentian, I looked at the adaptation of acid mine drainage (AMD) bacteria to acidic and cold environments. Continue Reading →

[Nevada Mining] Mineral extraction pioneer rethinks metallurgy – by Suzanne Featherston (Elko Daily Free Press – September 7, 2018)

https://elkodaily.com/

A pioneer of the state’s cyanide heap-leach technology is now testing a cleaner, zero-waste approach to mineral extraction that could revolutionize the industry.

The process has potential to unlock unrealized resources in previously mined material, and some proponents hope in its ability to extract precious metals from virgin ore.

Testing of an extracting liquid began on previously leached material from Comstock Mining Inc.’s nonactive Lucerne Mine in August 2017. Results a year later show that the technology can reduce cyanide while extracting valuable minerals, including silver and gold. Continue Reading →

Which mining supercycle? – by David Robinson (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – August 20, 2018)

http://www.sudburyminingsolutions.com/

Growing talk of a new supercycle for mining is encouraging, but a totally different kind of supercycle may be more important for mining supply firms.

The supercycle of the first years of our new millennium was a sustained period of rising commodity prices, supported by population growth and infrastructure expansion in emerging markets. The broader economic boom collapsed with the global financial crisis of 2007–2008.

The mining sector saw an orgy of investment and acquisitions that left major players over-extended and created excess capacity that held prices down for years. The past decade was nothing like a slump. Global output of metals continued to rise, only prices dropped. It is an oddity of GNP accounting that increased production can appear as lower GNP when prices drop. Continue Reading →

Taking teleremote to a new level: Musselwhite grows Ops Centre in Thunder Bay – by Graham Strong (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – September 2018)

http://www.sudburyminingsolutions.com/

Goldcorp Inc.’s Musselwhite Mine is working toward becoming a full-fledged smart mine with all the safety, cost-savings, and other benefits that come along with it. Its new Integrated Remote Operations Centre (IROC), which opened in Thunder Bay in June, allows operators, communications/dispatch personnel and supervisors to work at the mine virtually.

Peter Gula, Musselwhite’s mine general manager, said that the most dangerous work such as loading and rock breaker operations are performed teleremotely. New technology including fibre-based networking has allowed the company to physically move operators out of the mine and into an office building in Thunder Bay, 500 kilometres to the south.

“I’ve had this vision of trying to get as many people offsite as possible,” said Gula, who transferred to Musselwhite in 2015 from Red Lake where he worked for 27 years. “Every person that we have up at site has about a $40,000 a year cost associated with it. That includes travel, housing, and all the staff and services that go to support the people working at Musselwhite.” Continue Reading →

Tailings to the rescue: UBC professor Greg Dipple aims to prove that tailings could be a mine’s secret weapon for reducing its carbon footprint – by Cecilia Keating (CIM Magazine – August 22, 2018)

http://magazine.cim.org/en/

In order to avoid an increase of the global temperature by two and half degrees by 2100, the scientific consensus is that society must achieve net negative emissions ­­– in other words, pull more planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air than we produce.

According to University of British Columbia Bradshaw Initiative for Minerals and Mining professor Greg Dipple, the mining industry could become a major player in helping society achieve this goal. For over a decade, he has been researching a process in which tailings waste naturally draws CO2 from the air and traps it into new stone formations.

Dipple’s focus has been on how to accelerate and optimize the phenomenon and recreate it on a large scale at mine sites. Next year the findings of his research will be applied to active mines for the first time. Continue Reading →

Mining-polluted water a potential source of antibiotics – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – July 16, 2018)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

University research reveals links between algae and health benefits

Research from Laurentian University in Sudbury is showing that waterbodies located within five kilometres of abandoned Northern Ontario mine sites could be a potential new source of antibiotics.

Led by Dr. J.A. Scott, a professor of bioengineering at the Bharti School of Engineering, the research was published in a recent issue of Phycologia, a journal that features work related to the scientific study of algae, or phycology.

Through his earlier work, Scott had studied microalgae to determine if they could be used to produce biofuel. But because of their beneficial attributes, he speculated the algae could also be used to produce health products, particularly antibiotics. Continue Reading →

Algoma University joins alliance, jumps into mining research – by James Hopkin (Soo Today – July 10, 2018)

https://www.sootoday.com/

Pan-Northern Mining Research Alliance conceived to address challenges in mining sector

The Pan-Northern Mining Research Alliance (PNMRA) will be meeting in Sault Ste. Marie this fall to identify and communicate its funding needs to both federal and provincial governments.

The alliance – which counts Algoma University and Sault College as members – is a collaborative effort between ten post-secondary institutions in northern Ontario.

“The alliance is going to seek industry engagement, supports and collaboration through targeted research opportunities,” said Dr. Pedro Antunes, who is the executive research lead and Canada Research Chair at Algoma University. “The idea is to positively influence government priorities and industry needs that will benefit all of northern Ontario.” Continue Reading →

Sudbury Accent: Sudbury as the ‘Harvard’ of hardrock mining [Part 4 of 5] – by Stan Sudol (Sudbury Star – June 6, 2018)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

The Sudbury Basin is Ontario’s metallic equivalent to the Alberta oils sands without the massive open pits as most of the mines historically have been underground. For 135 years, the region’s unique polymetallic ore-bodies have produced nickel, copper and significant quantities of cobalt, gold, silver and platinum group metals (PGMs).

It is the third largest source of PGMs after South Africa and Russia. Many multi-generational families earn good middle-class salaries in the many mines, two mills, two smelters and one refinery. Roughly 30 per cent of provincial mining activity takes place in Sudbury, according to the Ontario Mining Association.

Glencore’s recent C$900 million investment in the development of its Onaping Depth project and Vale’s C$760 million phase one development of its Copper Cliff Deep mine are indications of growing confidence in the future of the region. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Iron Ladies of Mining Tech – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – June 2018)

https://www.forbes.com/

A digital-technology revolution is rocking the world’s mining industry just as it has seen a symbolic influx of women into executive roles long reserved for men.

Two iron ore projects in Australia demonstrate what’s happening as the world’s biggest mining companies, BHP and Rio Tinto, move closer to committing more than $3 billion each to what Rio Tinto calls “intelligent mining” and BHP “the mine of the future.” Both are about to make radical changes in their most profitable divisions by designing mines without the burden of legacy equipment, some of which hasn’t changed in decades.

Driverless trains and trucks, already being used in a number of projects, will be joined by an array of sensors, radar controls and Wi-Fi systems that will provide the data to control every aspect of work in the Koodaiderie and South Flank mines–all the way through to rail transport and the final stage of ship loading. Continue Reading →

Charging ahead: The move to battery-powered underground mining fleets is gathering speed – by Peter Braul (CIM Magazine – April 23, 2018)

http://magazine.cim.org/en/

It is also opening up miners to a new realm of possibility.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs), once considered fringe, have rapidly come onto the radar of every OEM in the underground mining industry. Almost all of them are working on new battery-driven models or ways to convert existing products to electrical power. That shift might seem a little outsized, given the number of mines that have actually deployed battery electric technology to full effect.

But Goldcorp’s vice-president of corporate affairs and energy, John Mullally, predicts that the rate of adoption of BEVs will accelerate rapidly over the next five years and expects many underground mines built in Canada will choose battery-powered vehicles over a diesel fleet, and even underground mines already in operation will consider a shift to an all-electric underground fleet.

“By moving away from diesel and by achieving other reductions associated with the use of clean technologies, Goldcorp can avoid more than 7,000 tons of CO2 and eliminate three million litres of diesel fuel, one million litres of propane and 33,000 megawatt hours of electricity every year,” said Mullally, who also stressed the positive impact on air quality and noise level that has already been noted by the development miners at the company’s all-electric Borden mine near Chapleau, Ontario. Continue Reading →

[Nadia Mykytczuk – Laurentian University] Research chair on first name basis with microbes – by Ella Myers (Sudbury Mining Solutions – August 22, 2016)

http://www.sudburyminingsolutions.com/

Taking biomining and bioremediation to the next level

Biomining and bioremediation are one step closer to wider use in the mining industry with the creation of a new position at Laurentian University geared towards commercializing the technologies.

As of July 1, Nadia Mykytczuk is Laurentian University’s first industrial research chair in mining, bioremediation and science communications. Ontario is investing more than $630,000 through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to create the five-year research chair position.

“It’s less of a teaching load and more research,” said Mykytczuk. “The impetus was to create a vibrant research program and initiate new projects with industry. The research chair matters because we have a very long legacy of mine waste impacts in Canada and the world, and we now have the opportunity to use biotechnology to help decrease those impacts.” Continue Reading →

South Australian geologists to drive a revolution in minerals exploration – by Anthony Dodd (The Lead – April 03, 2018)

http://theleadsouthaustralia.com.au/

A new research centre has been established to help reduce the cost of mineral exploration in Australia in order to boost output.

Replacing the Deep Exploration Technologies CRC, the newly established MinEx Cooperative Research Centre will begin operating in July at the University of South Australia and in Western Australia.

Chief Scientific Officer for the MinEx CRC and John Ralston Chair in Minerals and Resources Engineering at UniSA’s Future Industries Institute, Professor David Giles, said his objective is to enhance the efficiency of minerals exploration nationally.

“In the Australian context, the cost of exploration for new deposits has risen over the past 30 years and our success rate has declined,” Prof Giles said. Continue Reading →

$2M for Sudbury Laurentian engineering school – by Staff (Sudbury Star – March 18, 2018)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

The Bharti School of Engineering at Laurentian University has received $2 million from the Canadian mining firm, IAMGOLD Corporation Inc. The money will fund the creation of a collaboration space for engineering students in the newly constructed Cliff Fielding Research, Innovation and Engineering Building. To honour this contribution, the space will be named the IAMGOLD Student Engineering Junction.

In addition, money will support engineering lab refurbishment, upgrades to technology and equipment, research, scholarships as well as student activities and field trips.

“We are grateful to IAMGOLD for their continued support of Laurentian students. This investment will further enhance our students’ learning experience at the Bharti School,” Markus Timusk, director of the Bharti School of Engineering, said in a release. “Engineering students from across disciplines will have a place to gather, collaborate and share ideas and knowledge. Students will also have access to leading-edge technology and additional experiential learning opportunities.” Continue Reading →

The Sudbury recipe: How the city came to be a global centre of mining innovation (Canadian Mining Journal – February 2018)

http://www.canadianminingjournal.com/

Sudbury has a long history as an important mining centre in Canada, with the first of many nickel-copper mines, Murray, built in the late 1880s.

But over the past 15 years, the city has become known as a mining innovation hub, with a dense and extensive network of service and supply companies and research institutions whose influence stretches well beyond northern Ontario.

The feat is all the more impressive considering the price of nickel – the commodity that was most responsible for Sudbury’s rise as a mining centre – is far from booming. (It was US$6.21 per lb. at press time.) Ian Wood, director of economic development at the city of Greater Sudbury, says that the reason for the strength of the city’s mining service and supply sector stems from the needs of thetwo dominant nickel giants in the area – Glencore (formerly Falconbridge) and Vale (formerly Inco). Continue Reading →