Archive | Mining Environmental, Water Shortage and Land Reclamation/Revegetation Issues

Coalition forms to reclaim abandoned coal mine lands across Appalachia and rebirth them – by Jake Flatley (West Virginia Metro News – November 14, 2018)

http://wvmetronews.com/

BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. — In an effort to clean up abandoned coal mine lands and give them new life, a coalition of groups in the Appalachian region has formed.

20 former coal sites stretching across four states were mentioned in the report authored by the Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition, “Many Voices, Many Solutions: Innovative Mine Reclamation in Central Appalachia.” A highlight in the report of the sites is a mixed agriculture and renewable energy project proposed on a former strip mine in Boone County.

“We are trying to find ways to not necessarily reinvent the wheel but take what we see as best practices in different areas that would be applicable in different sites such as abandon land mine sites,” Jacob Hannah, Conservation Coordinator with Coalfield Development Corporation, said. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Like Silicon Valley? Miners face uphill slog in drive to go digital – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – October 31, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

In many ways the mining industry is losing the public relations battle
against environmental activists. Many of the latter fail to distinguish
between the various types of commodities being mined, the processes
being used in extraction and the usefulness of the resource in
helping, or hindering, action against climate change.

MELBOURNE, Oct 31 (Reuters) – The mining industry wants to shed its image as a low-tech shoveller of dirt and instead be seen as a cutting edge digital-savvy employer of choice. It’s a feat that could be compared to teaching an elephant to ballet dance.

While mining companies have been quick to adopt new technologies to drive costs lower, there is an increasing recognition that the industry needs to embrace the so-called digital revolution if it is to prosper in the future.

This means moving well beyond the driverless trains and trucks that have helped Australia’s major iron ore miners cut the cost of producing a tonne of the steel-making material by about two-thirds over the past decade. Continue Reading →

Mining and the environment: the biggest conservation projects in mining – by JP Casey (Mining-Technology.com – October 29, 2018)

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

As the mining industry becomes more aware of the environmental damage large-scale extractive operations can cause, many are taking steps to reduce the harmfulness of their operations.

Often, this takes the form of extensive land rehabilitation projects, where companies set out long-term plans to redevelop land after a mine has been exhausted; however, many companies have adopted a more specific approach, engaging in operations to protect individual species of wildlife native to the lands where they mine. Here are five of the biggest conservation projects in mining.

Appalachian Wildlife Center, Kentucky, US

In July this year, biologist David Ledford announced the formation of the Appalachian Wildlife Center, a non-profit organisation that aims to construct a conservation area on former mining land in the US state of Kentucky. The area will cover 12,500 acres, a third of which will consist of plains and grassland built on former mine sites. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto completing the mining ‘circle of life’ – by Jasen Lee (KSL.com – October 23, 2018)

https://www.ksl.com/

SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly 30 years ago, the first gold was mined in Barney’s Canyon near the site of the world’s largest open pit mining operation.

Since then, the mine has completed its life cycle, and Rio Tinto Kennecott is restoring the site to resemble the state nature originally intended — at a cost of over $50 million.

Located on the east slope of the Oquirrh Mountains, 5 miles north of the Bingham Canyon Mine, the Barney’s Canyon Mine operated from 1989 to 2013 and produced more than 2 million ounces of gold, according to Steve Schnoor, reclamation manager for Rio Tinto Kennecott. Toward the end of the life cycle, the company began transitioning to the reclamation process, he said, in preparation for the eventual discontinuation of active mining. Continue Reading →

Lithium miners’ dispute reveals water worries in Chile’s Atacama desert – by Dave Sherwood (Reuters U.S. – October 18, 2018)

https://graphics.reuters.com/

Earlier this year, the world’s two biggest lithium producers publicly celebrated new deals with Chile’s government that will allow them to vastly increase output of the ultralight battery metal from the Atacama, the world’s driest desert.

U.S.-based Albemarle Corp and Chile’s SQM operate just 3 miles (5 km) apart in the remote Salar, a basin in the Atacama that is home to one of the world’s richest deposits of high-grade lithium. Lithium-ion batteries are key components for most consumer electronics, from cellphones and laptops to electric cars.

In celebrating the new contracts, the two companies said they were confident they could significantly boost output without drawing more than their current quotas of lithium-rich brine, or saltwater, that has for millennia accumulated in pools beneath the Atacama. The rivals said each had all the brine they needed for current and future production. Continue Reading →

As Australia’s mining boom wanes, rehabilitation of abandoned mines offers lessons for the world – by Bianca Nogrady (Eco-Business.com – October 12, 2018)

https://www.eco-business.com/

Across the globe, countries are figuring out how to bring plants and animals back to abandoned mines. With as many as 60,000 such sites, Australia could offer important lessons.

The 1986 Australian film Crocodile Dundee brought global fame to its leading man Paul Hogan, but the real star of the show was the vast, ancient landscape of the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.

Kakadu is the jewel in the crown of Australia’s national parks, but this unique wilderness is also home to one of the world’s largest uranium mines. The Ranger mine has been operational since 1980 but its time is drawing to a close; mining ended in 2012, and processing of the remaining stockpiled ore is expected to finish in 2020.

So what then for the mine site? It’s a question being asked with increasing urgency around Australia as the mining boom that has powered the Australian economy for nearly fifteen years wanes. There are as many as 60,000 abandoned mine sites, some in otherwise pristine ecosystems found nowhere else on earth. Continue Reading →

Leagold closing Brazil mine for two months due to drought – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – October 11, 2018)

http://www.mining.com/

Canada’s Leagold Mining (TSX:LMC) has had to temporarily shut down its Riacho dos Machados (RDM) mine in Brazil as a result of continued drought conditions in the country’s Minas Gerais State.

The Vancouver-based miner said it planned to resume operations in early December, with the commissioning of the grid powerline project.

RDM was closed in August last year and restarted, on an intermittent basis, in early November with the onset of the region’s rainy season. Continue Reading →

Chile: Questions about Water Availability could Threaten the Mining Industry – by Mervyn Piesse (Future Directions.org – October 10, 2018)

http://www.futuredirections.org.au/

South America holds two-thirds of the world’s lithium reserves and Chile alone possesses almost half of the world total. Copper is also important to the Chilean economy and accounts for almost half of its export earnings. Many large Chilean copper mines are ageing, however, and the supply of high-grade ore has diminished.

To maintain production, copper producers are increasingly forced to exploit copper sulphide deposits, using a process that is more water-intensive. The Chilean Government is also simultaneously moving to exploit the country’s vast lithium resources, which could further strain water supplies in the resource-rich, but water-poor, Salar de Atacama.

As most of Chile’s lithium is dissolved in briny water drawn from Andean salt flats, it can only be extracted through a lengthy evaporation process. Conversely, Australian lithium reserves are predominantly found in hard rocks. Australia is currently the largest world supplier, despite holding less than ten per cent of the world’s identified lithium resources. Continue Reading →

Vale celebrates completion of emissions reduction project – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – September 15, 2018)

 

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Scientist David Pearson still has a vivid memory of a “bad air day” when he was getting out of his car at Laurentian University in the early 1970s, prior to the Inco Superstack being built.

“I ran from my car to get in the building,” he recalled, during a press conference Friday at the Vale Copper Cliff Smelting Complex. “It was not a pleasant experience.” Friday’s event marked the end of the mining company’s six-year, $1-billion Clean Atmospheric Emissions Reduction project.

It involved the construction of two new converters, which have special hoods to capture sulphur-dioxide gas, and a new wet-gas cleaning plant that captures 85 per cent of the sulphur-dioxide emissions previously emitted by the Superstack.

As well, Clean AER introduced a baghouse/fan building that acts like a giant vacuum cleaner, reducing metals particulate emissions by 40 per cent, and a pair of new 450-foot stacks that will be more efficient to operate than the Superstack. Continue Reading →

In Chilean desert, global thirst for lithium is fueling a ‘water war’ – by Dave Sherwood (Reuters India – August 29, 2018)

https://in.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – On Chilean water regulator Oscar Cristi’s desk, a small white espresso cup teeters atop piles of documents and loose folders that appear on the point of collapse, perhaps an apt metaphor for the growing water crisis in parts of the Andean country.

Sitting in his eighth-floor office adjacent the presidential palace, Cristi, a PhD economist, lays out a map of Chile showing key watersheds for mining. Swaths of the mineral-rich north are colored blue, denoting areas where aquifers are over-exploited. Soon, if Cristi gets his way, they will be red, meaning new water rights will be banned.

Reams of water rights were granted by Chilean governments over decades with little consideration for their cumulative impact as miners scrambled to stake claims on the small pockets of water available in the salt flats of the Salar de Atacama. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Chile says to clamp down on water rights in lithium-rich Salar de Atacama – by Dave Sherwood and Fabian Cambero (Reuters U.S. – August 23, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile is preparing major new restrictions on the extraction of water from the lithium-rich Salar de Atacama salt flats, home to top lithium miners Albemarle and SQM SQM_pb.SN, the head of the country’s water authority told Reuters on Thursday.

Water authority chief Oscar Cristi said in an exclusive interview that regulators had stopped issuing new permits to extract water from the southernmost sector of the Salar’s watershed, known as C2, which is a key water supply for BHP’s Escondida copper mine, the world’s largest, and Antofagasta’s Zaldivar mine.

Cristi said the government had granted BHP and Antofagasta permits to pump six times more water from an aquifer at Atacama than it could sustain, prompting the ban. BHP has since proposed to cut water extraction from wells in C2 by more than half, but Cristi said regulators still believed that rate to be “insufficient.” Continue Reading →

Cobalt mining conference taking shape – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – August 10, 2018)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Land rehabilitation, mining legacy and cobalt exploration are featured topics at September event

There’s definitely a dual meaning that applies to the inaugural Green Mining Conference being held in the Town of Cobalt this September.

For decades, the northeastern Ontario community of 1,100 endured the environmental legacy issues left behind by the town’s famed Silver Rush at the turn of the last century; something Agnico Eagle Mines has spent considerable time and money on to clean up old mine workings.

At the same time, Cobalt is back on the world stage as an exploration hotspot for its namesake metal that’s powering the expanding electric vehicle battery market. Continue Reading →

Glacier-Protection Bill Dropped in Chile and Miners Applaud – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – June 28, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Chile’s mining industry is cheering a decision to drop a glacier-protection bill, saying the proposed rules were conceived to thwart mineral extraction. One academic says the move imperils glacial networks.

Environmental Minister Marcela Cubillos requested the withdrawal of the bill from the lower house last week, nullifying former President Michelle Bachelet’s push for special protections that included banning certain activities on and around glaciers.

The slow moving masses of ice high in the Andes Mountains will now come under more general protections for environmentally sensitive areas, newspaper La Tercera cited Cubillos as saying. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Terrapure’s Terratec division awarded for innovative mine reclamation program with Vale Canada

Canada’s leading environmental service provider solves a municipal problem and a mining problem with one, sustainable, cost-saving approach.

BURLINGTON, ONT., June 25, 2018 – Terratec Environmental, a division of leading environmental solutions provider Terrapure, has established a new, sustainable option for managing biosolids during winter months, when farmland application is prohibited and storage is complicated.

Instead of disposing of a nutrient-rich resource through incineration or landfill, Terratec developed a program to apply biosolids to mine-impacted land for reclamation and revegetation. Acknowledging this significant contribution to the field, the Water Environment Association of Ontario (WEAO) presented Terrapure and Vale with the 2018 Exemplary Biosolids Management Award.

“The program is the first of its kind in Ontario, so we’re excited to see that it’s gaining momentum; the mining industry is now identifying biosolids as a key strategy in mine closure scenarios,” said Jeff Newman, Director of Business Development at Terratec. “This approach is a real win-win. Municipalities get an off-season biosolids management alternative, and mining companies get an effective tailings cover system.” Continue Reading →

The diesel-addicted mining industry is finally embracing renewable energy, but it’s not just because of the environment – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – June 11, 2018)

http://business.financialpost.com/

With diesel prices rising in tandem with oil prices, the quest for sustainability has pushed many companies to look closely at their energy usage

About a 10-hour drive northwest of Toronto, in an area with no history of mining and little exploration, Goldcorp Inc. is tunneling a hole, currently at least 120 meters below the pine tree forests and lakes that dot the surface, for what it hopes will be one of its most sustainable mines yet.

Borden, as the mine is to be called when it starts producing in 2019, will be modest in size at about 250,000 ounces of gold per year under current estimates.

But Goldcorp harbours big ambitions to make it the first all-electric underground mine in Canada where everything from the trucks that haul ore, to the ventilation system that provides oxygen to its subterranean workers, run off energy taken from the electrical grid. Continue Reading →