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Part I of our new series on the Electric Mine


7 growing gold projects Reimagining Casa Berardi SEPTEMBER 2018 | | PM # 40069240

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SEPTEMBER 2018 VOL. 139, NO. 07


CMJ 16 •

FEATURES CANADIAN MINING JOURNAL 16 Part 1 of our new series on the Electric Mine – a profile of MacLean



30 How miners can get more out of critical control management systems.


21 CMJ looks far and wide to highlight some of Canada’s most promising gold exploration projects. 27 Hecla Mining is modernizing its Casa Berardi mine in Quebec – and reaping the rewards.


DEPARTMENTS 4 EDITORIAL | An electrifying proposition.

6 CSR & MINING | Michael Torrance explores the possible applications for blockchain in the sustainability space. 8 UNEARTHING TRENDS | EY Canada’s Jay Patel discusses how battery minerals and technologies are disrupting mining. 9 IN MY MINE(D) | Mark Wittrup of Clifton Associates argues that changes to the Impact Assessment process under Bill C-69 are counter-productive. 10 COMMENTARY | Jason Dion and Brendan Frank of Canada’s Ecofiscal Comission argue in favour of putting a price on the risk of mining disasters. 12 COMMENTARY | Brock Higgins of Leaders International explains why the mining sector needs more Indigenous leadership in the board room. 13 FAST NEWS | Updates from around the mining ecosystem. SEPTEMBER 2018

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MacLean Engineering’s battery-powered 975 Omonia Bolter. CREDIT: MACLEAN ENGINEERING

Coming in October Canadian Mining Journal looks at mining in Quebec and the Maritimes. Plus our semi-annual Equipment Maintenance & Repair supplement and a feature report on comminution.

For More Information

Please visit for regular updates on what’s happening with Canadian mining companies and their personnel both here and abroad. A digital version of the magazine is also available at



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CANADIANMINING 38 Lesmill Rd. Unit 2, Toronto, Ontario M3B 2T5 Tel. (416) 510-6789 Fax (416) 510-5138



Editor-in-Chief Alisha Hiyate 416-510-6742 Twitter: @Cdn_Mining_Jrnl


News Editor Marilyn Scales Production Manager Jessica Jubb Art Director Barbara Burrows Manager of Product Distribution Jackie Dupuis 403-209-3507 Publisher & Sales Robert Seagraves 416-510-6891 Sales, Western Canada George Agelopoulos 416-510-5104 Toll Free Canada & U.S.A.: 1-888-502-3456 ext 2 or 43734 Circulation Toll Free Canada & U.S.A.: 1-800-387-2446 ext 3505 Group Publisher Anthony Vaccaro Established 1882

Canadian Mining Journal provides articles and information of practical use to those who work in the technical, administrative

and supervisory aspects of exploration, mining and processing in the Canadian mineral exploration and mining industry. Canadian Mining Journal (ISSN 0008-4492) is published 10 times a year by BIG L.P. Mining. BIG is located at 38 Lesmill Rd., Unit 2. Toronto, ON, M3B 2T5. Phone (416) 510-6891.

Legal deposit: National Library, Ottawa. Printed in Canada. All rights reserved. The contents of this magazine are protected by copyright and may be used only for your personal non-commercial purposes. All other rights are reserved and commercial use is prohibited. To make use of any of this material you must first obtain the permission of the owner of the copyright. For further information please contact Robert Seagraves at 416-510-6891. Subscriptions – Canada: $51.95 per year; $81.50 for two years. USA: US$64.95 per year. Foreign: US$77.95 per year. Single copies: Canada $10; USA and foreign: US$10. Canadian subscribers must add HST and Provincial tax where necessary. HST registration # 809744071RT001.

From time to time we make our subscription list available to select companies and organizations whose product or service may interest you. If you do not wish your contact information to be made available, please contact us via one of the following methods: Phone: 1-800-387-2446 ext 3505; Fax: 403-245-8666 ; E-mail: Mail to: Jackie Dupuis, 2nd Flr. 816–55th Ave. N.E. Calgary, Alberta T2E 6Y4. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada.


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An electrifying proposition Alisha Hiyate


s they mature, underground mines are reaching new depths, and encountering issues with productivity, rising costs and worker safety. Technologies such as ventilation on demand, and automated and remotely operated equipment are helping miners meet the heat, ventilation and other challenges of mining at several kilometres depth. One of the most interesting new technologies to emerge in response to these challenges is the rise of battery-powered underground mining equipment. This month, we’re pleased to bring you the first part in a series of articles about the electric mine of the future. We’re excited to take an in-depth look over several issues at some of the practical and technical issues miners and suppliers are tackling as the industry begins a transition to electric underground mines. This month, we profile Maclean Engineering, a Collingwood, Ont.-based company that is quickly becoming a leading supplier of battery-powered mobile equipment for underground mines. Of particular note, the company credits Goldcorp for giving it the push it needed to develop its electric vehicle line. By committing to building Canada’s first all-electric mine, Borden, which will be in production in 2019, Goldcorp gave MacLean certainty its machines would find a market. It also gave the company a deadline that drove it to develop its first battery powered machine in just one year. Turn to page 16 for the full story. This issue is also our annual gold-themed issue. In mid-August at presstime, the gold price had broken below US$1,200 per oz. and seemed determined to stay there. The strong U.S. dollar has taken some of the shine off the yellow metal, which started out the year at over US$1,300 per oz. Given how much mining and exploration activity and market interest in our industry depends on the gold price, we’re hoping this isn’t a sustained trend. As gold prices swoon, it’s more important than ever for gold miners to stay focused on costs. Companies like Hecla Mining are doing the hard work of squeezing as much margin as possible out of every ounce of gold they produce. Hecla, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2016, is a true believer in innovation as the way to increase productivity and safety at its mines. Its Casa Berardi mine in Quebec, which It acquired five years ago, is a perfect example. Turn to page 27 to read how a combination of new technology and exploration success have renewed the underground mine’s fortunes. And for a look at some of tomorrow’s potential gold mines, we also bring you a look at seven promising gold exploration projects across Canada, on page 21. CMJ CANADIAN MINING JOURNAL |


2018-08-24 10:43 AM


Blockchain as a tool to advance sustainability By Michael Torrance


lockchain has been hailed as a technology as revolutionary as the internet. Does it have any application in the sustainability space? The answer is “yes” though the potential applications are only just beginning to be explored. Blockchain is most widely associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, but this aspect of blockchain is only a small part of the technology. Blockchain is an (essentially) incorruptible and highly decentralized ledger. Whereas formerly a record of transactions would be stored on a single proprietary information system or computer, a blockchain system is stored across many. Each record, or block on a blockchain contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. The record is permanent and is resistant to modification of the data, in part because the modifications would have to happen across multiple distributed ledgers all at once. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks. In essence, the blockchain provides a permanent, permissionless, public and transparent record of transactions or other activities. Some blockchains allow applications to be built on top, utilizing the technology for an endless array of use-cases. This includes blockchain based contracts which automatically execute when the conditions set out in the contract are met, or incentivizing, through the distribution of valuable cryptocurrency, participation in markets that can create lists or predictions of future events. Blockchain devotees see the technology as socially revolutionary because it allows for the disintermediation and decentralization of formerly highly centralized processes. Whereas a transaction or contract would formerly need to be administered by banks, lawyers, governments or others, blockchain has the potential to create a disintermediated economy where users can leverage technology to transact autonomously. The application of blockchain to advance sustainability is also the subject of much interest in the blockchain community. For example, the Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition (BSIC) is an initiative of ConsenSys, a venture production studio based in Brooklyn. BSIC incubates, develops, and implements blockchain products and solutions that can address social and environmental challenges across the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on topics like 6 | CANADIAN


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One could envision how blockchain based executable contracts could be developed alongside community engagement initiatives and impact benefits agreements. Financial Inclusion, Supply Chain, Identity & Vulnerable Populations, Energy & Environment. Even before its work with the BSIC, ConsenSys actively incubated projects like Viant which has undertaken a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to prototype its asset-tracking and supply chain modelling platform to track and trace fish caught in the South Pacific. The initial effort resulted in a fully-traceable product, geo-located, tracked, and digitally signed for at every juncture on its journey from the oceans of Fiji to dinner plates at a New York conference on blockchain. The potential for supply chain track and trace on a public, transparent and highly secure public ledger has application far beyond the fishing industry. In the mining sector such technology could facilitate local procurement initiatives or facilitate the tracing and tracking of conflict minerals, as is already being done by a start-up called EverLedger for raw cut diamonds. The possibilities are immense and only beginning to be explored. One could envision how blockchain based executable contracts, like those being developed by the start-up OpenLaw, could be developed alongside community engagement initiatives and impact benefits agreements. Blockchain characteristics would be valuable to promote transparency and provide accountability where trust and integrity are essential in the implementation of such agreements. Yet another application of blockchain is in the development and tracking of “reputation,” including corporate reputation regarding sustainability. There already exists a multi-million dollar industry around environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings used by asset managers and investors in assessing the sustainability of their invested companies. Blockchain could improve and make such ratings processes more transparent and decentralized. For example, “token

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curated registries” have been built on blockchain, which can curate lists of just about anything. An example in operation is the adChain Registry, which is a community-curated registry of ad-supported websites, executed through the use of an Ethereum based cryptocurrency called adToken (ADT). AdChain participants are rationally incentivized to include or reject websites from the registry based on the merits of ad performance and inventory quality, using purchased ADT to vote for proposed sites considered for inclusion on the registry. Applied in the sustainability context, this technology could develop lists of the world’s most sustainable companies, companies that can be trusted in the context of stakeholder or community engagement, that provide acceptable sustainability disclosure or list quality green or social bonds. Unlike preceding approaches to developing such lists, blockchain processes will not be centralized, proprietary and opaque, but rather open, transparent and populated with the wisdom of a wide market of experts. Blockchain based prediction market technology (like the prediction market tool Gnosis) could be applied in the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings space to develop real-time, company specific ESG ratings used by

investors, through market mechanisms. Such a mechanism would increase the ability of investors who use such data to participate in the generation of the rating, allow for collaboration across the marketplace and increase transparency of the process. Companies could use the real-time data to build key risk indicators or identify, instantaneously, how events or news are impacting their reputation for sustainability. Technologies are even being developed around blockchain to facilitate dispute resolution. One day it could be possible for company grievance mechanisms to be managed, for free, through decentralized blockchain based staking and arbitration protocols. This technology could be built on top of blockchain based audit protocols (modelled after current methodologies for human rights, labour standards or environmental and social sustainability audit frameworks) allowing for claims of compliance to be publicly and transparently recorded and subject to challenge from interested stakeholders. These potential uses of blockchain are the tip of the iceberg and depend only on how creative developers and sustainability professionals can be in finding potential use-cases. CMJ MICHAEL TORRANCE is chief sustainability officer for BMO Financial Group.

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08/24/2018 10:00:47 AM CANADIAN MINING JOURNAL |


2018-08-24 10:38 AM


Creating a portfolio fit for future demands By Jay Patel


echnology is often referred to as the disruptive force changing the way businesses work, how they drive efficiencies and what channels they use to reach consumers. It’s changing many intangible aspects of the business, but how is it changing the physical products it delivers? It’s easy for a consumer to look at a new smartphone to see it has a bigger screen, fancy rounded edges and a longer battery life. But the raw materials that make up that new product may not be as obvious. Behind it all, the technology driving new products and demand is also driving an increasing reliance on many of the basic resources mining and metals companies produce. Let’s take the smartphone for example. It uses lithium-ion batteries. Cobalt is the critical component used in those lithium-ion batteries, which are also used in electric vehicles (EVs), laptops and personal computers – and likely more products to come. Right now, approximately three out of four Canadians own a smartphone. While EVs are estimated to reach 13 million globally by 2020, and 130 million by 2030. The EY Canadian Mining Eye outlines that total battery consumption is expected to account for approximately 61% of global cobalt demand by 2022 – compared to the 49% we saw last year. That’s a predicted 22% jump in just five years. On top of new product demands, there is also an increasing pressure on economies to move away from a reliance on fossil fuels and increase focus on more sustainable, renewable minerals. So what does this mean for mining and metals companies? Management teams will need to actively review how changing demand for new and traditional commodities will fit into their portfolio, and consider when and where to start investing. There’s great excitement around the potential for mineral supply in battery technology – battery metals transactions have started to pick up globally, with deal value for rare earth/lithium assets up by 22% year-on-year in the first half of 2018 – but many big players have yet to move into this space. Despite the sector’s appetite, companies remain cautious for the time being as they look for avenues toward strategic growth. To do this, some mining and metals companies are turning to joint ventures (JVs) and strategic partnerships, while others are looking at options to acquire small projects and/or expand-



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Battery metals transactions have started to pick up globally, with deal value for rare earth/ lithium assets up by 22% year-onyear in the first half of 2018.

ing existing projects. There are opportunities and challenges to consider for each route. JVs can help spread the cost and risk of a project while enhancing a company’s portfolio and increasing access to resources like reserves, technology and capabilities. However, JVs have to be managed effectively in order to gain lasting value. Challenges arise with conflicting management culture, which can impact decision-making and result in prolonged timelines. That’s why project objectives and priorities need to be set from the get-go. Strategic partnerships are ideal to gain access to knowledge and resources. Partnerships can aid in building better brand awareness while increasing access to new markets and customers. The challenge sits with finding the right partner with which to build a mutually beneficial relationship. Mining and metals companies looking to enter a partnership should be evaluating companies and/or industries that are complementary to growth plans that meet changing demands. Acquiring existing projects gives access to an established customer base, talent and operations. It also alleviates much of the work involved with product development, hiring and financing. Mining and metals companies will need to make sure they are assessing the right synergies ahead of any deal. Failing to do so can lead to lost talent, production and innovation from the acquired. It’s hard to predict the path of disruption, but having a solid understanding of the impact of changing attitudes and technologies will play a key role in predicting demand for new and traditional metals moving forward. In the meantime, mining and metals companies should be evaluating avenues for strategic growth that will position their portfolios effectively to respond to changing markets. CMJ JAY PATEL is the EY Canada Mining & Metals Transactions Leader. He is based in Toronto. For more information, visit

2018-08-17 3:33 PM


Bill C-69 politicizes the IA process – to everyone’s detriment By Mark Wittrup


n February, based upon the popular mythology that more participation will bring better Impact Assessment (IA) processes and results, the federal government introduced legislation to replace the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), introducing changes that have the potential to affect the licensing of new projects and natural resource developments. In Canada, undergoing a federal IA is considered a worst-case scenario for permitting and we can expect more projects to require this in the revised, and likely expanded, Designated Physical Activities Regulations. There is a potential that projects, such as potash developments, currently regulated only by provinces will end up captured by the federal process. Despite the government’s IA reform promises of timeliness and predictability, the proposed legislation will deliver significantly more process at the front end to accommodate broader stakeholder input, and to align with other jurisdictions, including First Nations. (The bill indicates that under certain circumstances a First Nation could be another jurisdiction for the purposes of the act, but only partially spells out the criteria.) The new 180-day Planning Phase is billed as a planning tool, but allows the government to reject a project based solely on broad policy grounds. While there is merit in getting issues on the table early to aid in project design, the proposed process will exacerbate the current poor state of IA in Canada, which already suffers from a lack of predictability and timeliness. It is unlikely any form of consensus can be achieved with so many different voices and agendas involved, all with no requirements to follow the government’s timelines, or for the most part, skin in the game. It sets the stage for politics to override common sense and pragmatism when responsibilities and timelines are not placed on all participants. The environmental assessment process in Canada is already an arduous journey for a proponent, and to add significantly more ‘soft’ process and political uncertainty compounds the risk to a proponent and cost for development. In fact, given the Planning Phase and its participation scope, and the requirement for ministerial or cabinet approvals at the end of the IA process, it appears specifically designed to allow for political interference. Government can add 80-day delays almost indefinitely under the proposed act to reflect its level of political discomfort. In the bill, the government has enhanced the participation of Indigenous groups and raised the expectation that they will have an effective veto under the free and informed consent model. Proponents and Indigenous groups are both left with SEPTEMBER 2018

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The new IA processes will help polarize those for and against development by providing more mechanisms for delay and challenge.

high expectations of success in the revised legislation but no mechanisms to ensure a common solution is reached. As now, it may remain the responsibility of the proponent to pre-emptively fashion agreements with Indigenous groups to get ahead of the IA process. The federal government promises that it will be a more efficient and timely IA process. As a long time practitioner, it is difficult to see how this can happen with a larger audience for participation, increased participants funding, a mysterious Planning Phase, and all groups believing they have a veto, or at a least, the ability to manage the outcome. This makes the process ripe for conflict and politics. Overall, the government is trying to fix what is not broken. What is broken is the government’s ability to act as the impartial brokers in the IA process after decades of neglect created by political expediency, which has devolved the IA process into decision making by vocal interest groups. Since the 1970s, environmental protection has evolved from a “mystery” into a sophisticated, well-regulated practice. As the science has become better understood, the focus has shifted to social justice and rights in order to focus opposition to projects. Environmental protection is the result of a strong economy, and despite the naysayers, economic development and environmental protection, including the protection of human health and safety, are not mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, the new IA processes will help polarize those for and against development by providing more mechanisms for delay and challenge. This pushes the decision making to the political arena propelled by the most vocal. The proposed IA process will create significant delays, missed opportunities and likely impact those that need that economic development the most: northern and Indigenous communities. The tragedy is that most parties can agree on the outcomes: prosperity and economic development that is protective of the environment and human health and safety. CMJ MARK WITTRUP is vice-president, environmental and regulatory affairs, with Clifton Associates, based in Calgary. CANADIAN MINING JOURNAL |


2018-08-17 3:35 PM


Managing environmental risk in mining by putting a (fair) price on it By Jason Dion & Brendan Frank


ike many important forms of economic activity, mining comes with risks to the environment. Faro and Giant mines in Canada’s North underscore the costs that can arise from non-remediation. And Mount Polley provided us with a vivid reminder of the risks that can come with tailings dams. Of course, mining disasters are the exception, not the rule. And the mining industry and governments work hard to avoid them. But a new report from Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, Responsible Risk, shows how we could benefit by putting a price on risk, especially the risk of mining disasters. And it shows why risk pricing works best when it’s fair. What do we mean when we say “risk pricing”? Governments put a price on risk to the environment using a tool called financial assurance. financial assurance requires companies to promise or commit funds against their environmental risks. The bigger the risk, the more they commit. Bonds, insurance coverage, and industry funds are examples of different kinds of financial assurance. Using financial assurance in the mining sector is not new. Across Canada, governments already use financial assurance to address the risk of non-remediated mines being orphaned or abandoned. Different provinces take different approaches. Quebec, for example, requires full financial assurance against closure costs within two years of approving a mine’s closure plan. British Columbia, on the other hand, allows operators to make annual payments until the mine reaches the end of its life. No matter where a mining firm operates, however, it needs financial assurance in some form to cover the risk of non-remediation—be it cash, insurance or letters of credit, environmental bonds, a sinking fund, or some other financial agreement. Pricing risk in this way doesn’t just make sense for the tax-paying public; it also makes sense for industry. It improves public confidence in mining by showing that companies are accountable for damage they cause and have an incentive to operate responsibly. Canada has come a long way when it comes to orphaned and abandoned mines, and financial assurance is a big part of the reason. How can we price risk fairly? financial assurance works best when it isn’t one-size-fits-all. Mining companies and operations are all unique in the amount of environmental risk they pose, depending on their production processes, waste streams, location, and other factors. The risks can also be financial. A thinly-capitalized company with a single operation is probably less able to 10 | CANADIAN


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The idea may be new for the mining sector, but we already require financial asurance against the risk of disaster in many sectors in Canada, including pipelines, rail transport and offshore drilling.

cover unexpected costs than a bigger one. The Ecofiscal Commission’s analysis shows that provincial financial assurance policies for remediation functions best when they recognize these kinds of differences. For example, Ontario treats firms differently based on the amount of financial risk they pose, as assessed by independent ratings agencies. And Yukon requires financial assurance in line with existing – rather than planned or eventual – site disturbance. Differentiating companies based on their unique risks should be a guiding principle in the design of provincial financial assurance policies. Doing so gives mining companies a powerful economic incentive to find new ways to reduce environmental risk. The lower the risk they pose, the less they’ll pay in financial assurance. This approach is also fairer. Low-risk operations shouldn’t have to subsidize the potential costs of higher-risk ones. The fairer we make financial assurance, the better it is for society and the mining sector. Though financial assurance policies are currently used in the Canadian mining sector, there is one important gap—disasters. Financial assurance currently covers the risk of non-remediation on mine sites, but not the risk of accidental releases or tailings dam failures like Mount Polley. This leaves the public exposed to a significant source of risk. If a disaster were to occur, there is no guarantee that the responsible company would pay the costs. For example, if a company was bankrupted by a disaster, Canadian taxpayers would get stuck with the bill. The Ecofiscal report presents a strong case for applying financial assurance to the risk of mining disasters. Doing so would strengthen incentives to reduce risk and would make another Mount Polley less likely. What would this look like? For most mining companies, covering this risk themselves would be too large of an expense. But by using financial assurance that pools risk, we could keep costs low and help Canadian mining companies stay competitive. For example, companies could pool their risk in an

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try fund. Or Canada could put together a “Superfund” to pool risk across different industrial sectors, including mining, as occurs in the United States. Hybrids of these options are also possible. This idea may be new for the mining sector, but we already require financial assurance against the risk of disaster in many sectors in Canada, including pipelines, rail transport, offshore drilling, and nuclear energy. Governments and the mining sector have done a lot to address the risk of another Mount Polley. It’s time we started talking about pricing it as we do in these other sectors. The mining sector can be a valuable part of this conversation by highlighting the importance of making disaster risk pricing fair. Not all tailings dams pose equal risks. Different tailings composition, dam construction, and dam locations translate to different levels of risk. Mines also differ across other risks, like the risk of Acid Mine Drainage. Financial assurance can and should reflect these differences. Where mines’ unique risk was too difficult or costly to measure, we could use risk proxies. For example, the Mining Association

of Canada’s Tailings Management Protocol represents a world-class standard for tailings management. Mines that meet it could potentially face lower financial assurance requirements. Financial assurance is a cost-effective way to manage mining’s environmental risk. It reduces the risk of disasters at a lower cost than other policy tools because it provides companies with flexibility in how they reduce risk. No one understands mines better than the companies who own and operate them, so it makes perfect sense to provide them with options. By embracing financial assurance, the mining sector can end up with more of a say in tailings risk management than it will have if other instruments are used. We’re already using financial assurance in the mining sector, but there’s plenty of room for improvement in how we use it. We should certainly broaden its use by applying it to mining disasters. But we should also make sure it is fair. CMJ JASON DION is the lead researcher at the Ecofiscal Commission. BRENDAN FRANK is a research associate at the Ecofiscal Commission (


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2018-08-21 1:00 PM


The business case for Indigenous inclusivity in the board room By Brock Higgins


n Canada, the legal duty to consult is often considered key to bridging the gap between the interests of natural resource companies and the rights of Indigenous communities. The idea is that, if consultation is conducted effectively, both sides walk away with interests aligned, and projects progress without pause. In reality, however, this is rarely the case. Most natural resource projects face great difficulties in progressing past the consultation stage and may even fail to get off the ground. While the duty to consult may seem simple enough, consultation can prove tricky in practice. Meaningful and informed consultation requires considering not only economic and employment opportunities for community members, but also other vital community values, such as social, spiritual, educational, and environmental. Often, it is difficult for companies to truly understand the community’s profound responsibility to protect and preserve resources for the next generations. To fulfill the duty to consult, corporate leaders – including directors, negotiators, executives and legal counsel – must be able to fully grasp the complex issues, interests and perspectives at hand – or risk a project stalling before it even starts. While consultation can require resources and time, the payoff is clear: Creating meaningful and trusted relationships with Indigenous communities can reduce costly delays, win local support, and advance project development. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that natural resource companies are increasingly embracing early and active consultation as a way of reducing risk and improving the prospects of a project’s success. Many project teams boast their projects are actually improved because of the involvement of Indigenous communities. However, even as companies look outwards to engage a diverse set of stakeholders, their efforts are often hindered by a lack of internal representation. A 2017 survey by the Canadian Board Diversity Council found that Indigenous professionals comprised only 1.1% of FP 500 executives across sectors. With key strategic decisions often made at the board and executive level, this shortage of Indigenous talent at the top can have far-reaching consequences. Consultation with Indigenous communities has long been a critical aspect of executive duties, and the inclusion of Indigenous voices can bring informed and valuable insight to this process. Many Indigenous executives come to the table with experience, knowledge and the trust of communities.



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Having experienced and knowledgeable executives at the helm can help companies identify viable community partners, understand the unique perspective and history of the community partner, communicate and collaborate in a culturally respectful way, plan for potential setbacks, and establish tailored consultation and operations plans. Likewise, trust is key to relationship building, unlocking the potential for increased access, open communication, and effective negotiations with communities. As Indigenous communities play a more integrated role in the natural resources sectors, you can be sure they’ll notice whether proponents have successfully hired and retained Indigenous people in their senior ranks. Not only can diverse senior leadership increase a project’s chance for success, but it can also create a trickle-down effect in terms of talent. The Indigenous workforce is the youngest and fastest growing population in Canada, making up 4.9% of the country’s entire population, with nearly half of that under the age of 25, according to StatsCan. Young Indigenous professionals are eager and ambitious, seeking out opportunities for advancement and for mentorship by trusted and reputable senior leaders. At the same time, they are also socially responsible, preferring to work within companies that are known for creating positive connections to their communities. Companies that demonstrate inclusivity at the top advance their ability to attract and retain Indigenous talent at all levels, finding themselves well-positioned to tap into this pool of next-generation talent. There are vast opportunities for mutually beneficial business relationships between natural resource corporations and Indigenous communities in Canada. By now, Canadian natural resource companies know that executing a successful operation requires careful planning, decisive leadership, and most importantly, early engagement with impacted Indigenous communities. As they pursue projects, these companies often pour huge sums into planning, physical capital, and community consultation efforts. But for these efforts to succeed, it’s time that companies look inwards to invest in Indigenous CMJ talent strategies – starting at the top. BROCK HIGGINS is a Partner at Leaders International, an Indigenous and diversity-centric executive recruitment firm that operates across Canada. A citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario, Brock brings almost 15 years of experience leading executive search engagements across the mining and natural resource sectors.

2018-08-17 3:36 PM


Updates from across the mining ecosytem

Metal Earth research focuses on ocean crust


ark Hannington, Margaret Stewart and Justin Emberley from the University of Ottawa have partnered with Metal Earth to provide insights to ore deposits in the Superior Craton. The joint Modern-Ancient Ocean Crust project studies modern ocean environments to develop an understanding of the factors that localize deposits on the sea floor. Researchers will then be able to take this knowledge and apply them to the ancient deposits in the Abitibi in the Superior Craton. The advantage of studying the seafloor is that it provides the opportunity to observe the different stages throughout the mineralization process. Deposits currently on land initially formed in ancient oceans and represent the culmination of these processes, making it difficult for the Metal Earth team to study the distinct stages of mineralization. Throughout the modern oceans, different stages in the mineralization process are currently taking place in different plate tectonic settings and can be observed and compared to the ancient deposits currently on land. The Modern-Ancient Ocean Crust team has chosen a location on the sea floor that holds similar characteristics to that of the Abitibi in the Superior Craton. They considered tectonic environments, rock and deposit types to end up in the Northern tip of the Lau Basin surrounding Fiji. The project will be specifically studying VMS deposits (zinc, copper, lead, gold) utilizing geophysics and geological mapping. The Modern-Ancient Ocean Crust team will head out on the research vessel on Dec. 10, returning on Jan. 27, 2019. Instruments will be used to measure the magnetic signatures of rocks, heat flow through the crust, and the deep structure of the oceanic crust. The team will be mapping the topography of the seafloor, collecting rock and sediment samples, and identifying plumes in the water column that may indicate areas where metals are being deposited on the seafloor. This fall, the team will release a geological map of the Lau Basin. This will be SEPTEMBER 2018

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Bathymetric map of the northern Lau Basin showing its complex geology and structure. CREDIT: MERC, GLOBAL MULTI-RESOLUTION TOPOGRAPHY DATA SYNTHESIS

one of the first geological maps of the sea floor. After the collection of data is complete in January, they will be analyzing and interpreting the data to be able to start making comparisons with the Metal Earth team in the spring of 2019. Metal Earth, the Mineral Exploration

Research Centre’s (MERC) research project, seeks answers to fundamental questions related to how secular changes in Earth’s evolution have resulted in differential metal endowment in space and in time in the Precambrian shield (see https:// CMJ

• FINANCING | MineSense closes US$18M deal in drive to



ineSense Technologies has closed a US$18-million equity financing to position itself for full commercial launch. Led by Prelude Ventures, the round included industry leaders Caterpillar, Mitsubishi Corp. and new investor ABB Technology Ventures (ATV), ABB’s strategic venture capital unit. The financing, which was oversubscribed, also included existing investors Aurus Ventures, Chrysalix Venture Capital and Cycle Capital. The participation by Caterpillar represented a second investment by the mining equipment giant. Mitsubishi Corp. has also provided active support since their

late 2017 debt investment, converted to equity in this round. The addition of ABB as a new strategic investor rounds out MineSense’s mining industry partners. “At ABB, we are committed to driving automation and productivity in the mining industry. We are excited by the direct impact to the bottom line that the MineSense technology may provide to our customers,” said Brandon Spencer, Managing Director of Business Unit Process Industries at ABB. “We look forward to working with MineSense’s team to help them expand their offering as a key component of the FAST NEWS CONTINUED ON PAGE 14



2018-08-21 1:01 PM


| continued from page 13

integrated, smart mine.” MineSense CEO Jeff More said the funding, coupled with strategic support from the industry leading companies, will help accelerate the commercialization of MineSense’s digital offering, and helpd the company expand into key mining regions worldwide. MineSense, a British Columbia-based company recently named to the Global Cleantech 100 and winner of the Automation of Everything award, is a pioneer in industrial IoT providing realtime, sensor-based ore data and sorting solutions for large-scale mines. The company’s fast, scalable, and robust mineral sensing platform creates transformational value by providing precise, accurate, realtime grade control and ore routing decisions at the point of extraction for maximum resource conversion and metal recovery, reducing the CO2 emissions and the consumption of wear materials, energy, water and reagents during the whole mining process. CMJ



Edge3 launches distracted driving platform

dge3 Technologies, a leading supplier of machine vision, deep learning and artificial intelligence technologies, announces the commercial launch of a new platform – CloudDETECT. This cloud-based AI solution leverages existing camera equipment that may already be installed in commercial trucks, transit or rail fleets and analyzes driver recorded video in order to assess driver performance. It identifies unsafe behaviours so that fleet managers may proactively improve overall fleet safety. Driver distraction is far more prevalent than accident only data suggests, increasing by as much as 46% since 2013. In an effort to mitigate the increased risk, commercial fleets have been installing in-cabin cameras to assist accident investigations and facilitate insurance claim assessments. However, it is costly and time consuming to review driver footage, so the majority of the video is never viewed unless there is a traffic incident. Unfortunately, the unviewed footage contains a wealth of

information about driver behaviour, both good and bad, that may help inform fleet managers about the safe operation of their vehicles and how best to improve overall driver performance. With the introduction of the AI-powered analytics of CloudDETECT, fleet managers now have the ability to analyze 100% of all recorded operator video. The CloudDETECT platform not only reveals the prevalence of certain types of distractions across the fleet, but also provides a method to quickly sort and search these lengthy videos, identifying specific behaviours of interest including hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, drinking, smoking, texting, cell phone use, reaching around in the cabin, and eating. Users may also define other criteria. With CloudDETECT, fleet managers and HR personnel are able to identify driver performance issues, analyze trends over time, and assess driver improvement before and after training, said Tarek El Dokor, founder and CEO of Edge3. CMJ




& the dedicated international team that made it all possible.


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2018-08-21 1:01 PM

• IIoT |

Weir Minerals launches Synertrex platform


digital interface. It can identify problems before they occur, reducing downtime, and optimize equipment performance across an entire circuit. Remote management Weir Minerals’ Synertrex IIoT platform collects and analyzes data in real time allows for simplified from sensors attached to equipment. CREDIT: WEIR MINERALS maintenance. Wear and tear can be easily monitored, and trouble hydrocyclones, GEHO PD pumps, spots detected before they escalate into Enduron HPGR, Enduron screens and major issues. Whether it’s a drive system, Enduron crushers; however there are structural or lubrication issues, Synertrex plans to expand the range of compatible provides the tools to keep mining equip- products. Customers with existing Weir Minerals’ products will be able to retrofit ment at its most profitable. Through the platform, customers will sensors to equipment. In other news, the Weir Group PLC have detailed real-time insight into how their equipment is performing, and recently completed the acquisition of machines will be able to learn over time. ESCO Corp., the world’s leading proInformation is displayed on a simple, easy vider of ground engaging tools for surface to understand dashboard which can be mining and infrastructure markets, for an accessed via any device or integrated into enterprise value of US$1.3 billion. ESCO has surface mining’s most extensive existing operational systems. At this stage, the platform can be installed base of lip systems that house paired with Warman pumps, Cavex short-cycle consumables. CMJ

eir Minerals has launched advanced IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) platform, Synertrex. Delivering an advanced level of understanding, Synertrex allows operators to monitor every aspect of their equipment’s operation, prevent problems and increase throughput. “We believe our Synertrex platform will have a significant impact on the mining industry, transforming customer operations through improved productivity and safety. Working with technology market leaders Microsoft and Dell has enabled us to develop sophisticated predictive software and hardware which is robust enough to operate in extreme conditions across the globe,” said Ricardo Garib, Minerals Division president. Utilizing cloud computing, the Synertrex platform involves placing smart sensors on an array of Weir Minerals’ products which gather critical operating data for advanced analysis. The data is transformed into powerful insights which are relayed to the customer through a

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• Ice Roads & Runways • Large Diameter Drilling • Mine Reclamation – Care & Maintenance • Remote Infrastructure Planning • Site Services & Crushing



2018-08-21 1:01 PM


In this series, we look at some of the key suppliers and mining companies that are working to develop a new template for underground mining – the electric mine of the future.





MacLean Engineering to offer full EV line by year-end 16 | CANADIAN


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2018-08-23 9:23 AM


PROFILE MacLean Engineering’s battery-powered BT3 Boom Truck. CREDIT: MACLEAN ENGINEERING

By Alisha Hiyate


here’s a “We’re hiring!” sign in front of MacLean Engineering’s Collingwood, Ont., office. The company is looking to expand most of its manufacturing facilities here, in Barrie, and in Owen Sound. It’s even difficult to find a meeting room: After leaving a conference room for a tour of the Collingwood facilities, it’s taken when we get back. Our guide, and product manager Anthony Griffiths, has to scramble to find us another meeting space. Business is booming for MacLean, which has a 45-year history as a designer and manufacturer of mobile underground mining equipment. With a capacity to produce 14-16 units a month overall, the company can’t keep up with orders, Griffiths tells CMJ at the end of June. “At this point, we’re booking into next year,” he says.


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MacLean Engineering was founded in 1973 by Don MacLean, a mining engineer and long-time miner and entrepreneur. Now, the chairman of the company, Don’s son Kevin MacLean, who has degrees in mechanical engineering and computer science, has served as president since 2005. The company employs about 650 people globally, including facilities in Sudbury, Val d’Or, Thompson, Man., Creighton, Sask., Mexico, Peru, Australia and South Africa. Its current product line includes its popular scissor bolter for ground support and utility vehicles, including boom trucks, scissor lifts, ANFO loaders and emulsion loaders. Since its founding, MacLean has delivered more than 1,200 machines to customers, including more than 500 bolters. CONTINUED ON PAGE 18



2018-08-23 9:23 AM

PROFILE MacLean also has municiMacLean’s battery powered pal, environmental and indus975 Omnia Bolter. trial product divisions, but CREDIT:MACLEAN ENGINEERING mining comprises the bulk of its sales. Recently, the company has placed itself at the centre of one of the biggest future trends in underground mining – the elimination of diesel fuel in favour of electrification – a move that will help ensure its mining division continues to thrive in the future. While most of the machines that MacLean makes are diesel powered, interest in the company’s new electric vehicle line, launched in 2016 with an EV version of the company’s scissor bolter, is starting to take off. “Diesel is still the primary seller, but that’s changing, slowly but surely,” says Griffiths, who is MacLean’s sales product manager for electrification. “Based on what we’re seeing from customers, I would say 2020 will probably be the real tipping point. It’s certainly started – we’ve been in discussions with just about every major mining company.” The company is getting ready – by the end of 2018, battery powered versions of its complete fleet will be available to purchase. Goldcorp ‘put us on the map’ Griffiths credits a lot of the interest in MacLean’s EV line to Goldcorp, which committed in 2016 to building Canada’s first all-electric mine at its Borden gold project in Chapleau, Ont.

Canadian Mining Journal’s Buyers’ Guide is published every November and is also available online at You can register your company for FREE at any time. Just follow the prompts from the Buyers’ Guide link, download the forms and return. You will be listed online within a couple of business days. The deadline to have your company included in the print edition of the Buyers’ Guide is fast approaching: October 4. You can enhance your print and online presence with paid enhancements such as your logo and 75 words of text. For any questions about the Buyers’ Guide please contact us at 416-510-6891 or 1-888-502-3456 ext. 2 or 43734. You can email the publisher directly at



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“Goldcorp really was the one that sort of took the leap of faith. They jumped out and said we’re going to buy this stuff – we don’t want to talk about it, we want to buy it.” Goldcorp’s order for EV equipment “put us on the map,” Griffiths adds. The gold miner ordered six units to start, followed by a second order for nine units. They include MacLean’s 975 scissor bolters, CS3 cassette carriers, SL3 scissor lifts and a BH3 blockholer. In addition, Goldcorp has another EV unit at its Musselwhite mine in northern Ontario, and Vale has just bought one for its Sudbury basin operations. MacLean also has three demo units, for a total of 20 EV units all together (nine are scissor bolters and the rest boom trucks, scissor lifts, emulsion loaders). “It’s pretty exciting the interest we’re gathering,” Griffiths says. “Just this week we’ve been contacted by projects in the United States, South America, and Europe. It’s coming in from all over – it’s not just Canada .” While cost pressures of ventilation – especially as mines go deeper – and safety concerns about exposure of workers to diesel particulates are driving underground mines toward battery powered fleets, recent developments in battery technology are now making it possible for suppliers to manufacture powerful, safe, reliable and efficient battery powered equipment that speaks to those concerns. MacLean is not alone in working on an EV line, but it is one of the first to have a commercialized product ready for the market. Starting in 2015, it only took a year of development for the company to produce its first EV unit – a process some observers said would take closer to five. “We’re a very entrepreneurial based company, we’re pretty nimble, and we don’t have a huge amount of people,” Griffiths says, adding that there aren’t a lot of layers of decision making. “It was quite an achievement, and that was basically because we knew the order was coming (from Goldcorp). So in some ways that was good because it forced us to get it done.” First principles In developing its EV series, Maclean stuck to several “first principles” to ensure the line’s success. First, any battery system it adopted had to work with the company’s existing machines so that they could be retrofitted. The systems had to be compatible with existing power supply and voltage requirements in mines,

2018-08-24 10:40 AM

Rather than asking its customers to change out depleted batteries for fully charged ones, MacLean also wanted to go with on-board charging to make the machines as easy to use as possible and reduce costs. The company’s chosen batteries were sourced from a German supplier whose lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt product is used in buses, trains, heavy trucks and other applications in Europe. “A lot of battery suppliers that came to us really didn’t have any kind of track record – these guys have been in business for over 20 years.” The batteries consist of three battery trays of 30.67 kW each that are then stacked up into a package to form the battery core. “All of our units right now are based on three trays, but we can expand or shrink that as required by the duty cycle, so our system is very scalable and adaptable – it’s not one size fits all.” In addition to high energy density and a long life cycle, the batteries have a sophisticated thermal management system. “We can control the temperature and the temperature spikes inside the battery cell itself through this heating and cooling system – so you certainly lessen the risk of any kind of thermal flare up with the batteries.” A battery monitoring system keeps track of the temperature of each battery cell, the energy it’s discharging, when it was charged and how big a charge it received. It can also tell Another view of the 975 Omonia Bolter. CREDIT: MACLEAN ENGINEERING

so customers would not need to build any additional infrastructure to use the technology. Third, the system had to be flexible so that emerging technology could be incorporated. And finally, the system had to perform at least as well as – if not better than – diesel-powered machines. To achieve all of this, MacLean worked with the Collingwood-based engineering firm MEDATech to source and integrate best-in-class EV drive components into the MacLean equipment line, rather than buying a complete system. “We wanted to be able to buy the best-in-class batteries, best-in-class chargers, the best motors,” said Griffiths.


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2018-08-23 9:24 AM

PROFILE the operator how the battery Product manager Anthony Griffiths is performing and whether it’s and CMJ publisher Robert Seagraves. being charged correctly. CREDIT: CMJ Currently the data is contained in a manual data logger on the battery, and it gets manually downloaded to a memory stick, then into a computer. That’s just an interim step, however, with MacLean working on Wi-Fi capability. Charge times and how long the charge will last depends on how the machine will be used – if it’s at the face working, for example, it can be more easily recharged than if it’s being driven a lot. The system’s regenerative braking capability gives the battery a re-charge of up to 35% when going down ramp. Also, if four battery chargers are used instead of three, charge times can be shortened to as little as 35 minutes, making it possible to fully charge a vehicle over lunch, for example. A trial completed at Glencore’s Nickel Rim South mine in Sudbury last fall showed that a boom truck on a 65% charge was able to complete four runs down and up a 2.5-km ramp carrying 16 bags of shotcrete before needing to be charged. In a second test, the operator used the 10-minute opportunity available while the truck was being unloaded to plug the machine in for a partial charge, then did a full charge over lunch. In that instance, the operator was able to complete six runs before lunch and six runs after lunch over a 10-hour period. “We went from four cycles to twelve, never really needing a full blown charge, so that made it much more economical and it tied in with what the operator was doing. He’s loading the deck, the vehicle is idle, so take that opportunity to plug in and charge,” Griffiths says. “The battery really likes to be at 50%, so that’s the ideal state. Anything on either side of that 50% is the optimum – energy in, energy out and it preserves the life of your battery. In this case, the highest we ever went was just under 85% and the lowest was around 40% – so that’s right in the sweet spot.”

Cost of ownership While there is a premium on EV units, the cost of ownership is actually competitive with diesel units. For a BT3 Boom Truck, the modelled total cost per hour comes to $102.61, compared to $105.93 for a Tier 3 unit and $115.80 for a Tier 4 unit. This doesn’t include savings on fuel or ventilation – costs are only compared on operating the unit. “The biggest savings is in maintenance – all your scheduled maintenance, parts, changing your filters, oils, all that stuff goes away. If you’re not maintaining your vehicle, it’s being used, which provides an uptime in your vehicle availability and your return,” notes Griffiths. The savings are much higher if you factor in the cost of diesel and ventilation, however. “When you tie in the ventilation and the elimination of the diesel particulate, the battery unit really looks like the right choice.” As MacLean gears up for the tipping point in EVs, it’s also planning the next advances in its machines. “There’s a big push on right now for automation and connectivity to the internet, so vehicle monitoring, vehicle location – CMJ we’re devoting a lot of time and energy to that.”



THE FUTURE WHAT WE DO • Shaft Sinking • Raise Boring and Raise Excavating • Mine Construction and Infrastructure • Mine Development and Rehabilitation • Mining Engineering Services and Design • Contract Mining



Photo courtesy of BHP incorporating Rio Tinto’s “Mine of the Future” ™ technology



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2018-08-23 9:24 AM

The Milky Way above the Springpole exploration camp.




HOPES By Marilyn Scales

There are hundreds of advanced exploration stage projects that count gold among their targets across Canada. Not all of them are being explored for their gold potential, but those juniors who are focusing on gold have been able to raise funds and move forward. There is an old saying that if you want to see an elephant, go where the elephants are. The same is true of gold mining. If you want to find gold, go where the gold mines are. Here are a few of the places companies are looking. SEPTEMBER 2018

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Skeena Resources’ Snip property, in B.C. CREDIT: SKEENA RESOURCES

SKEENA RESOURCES Snip Barrick Gold built and operated the Snip mine, in B.C.’s Golden Triangle, from 1991 to 1999. During that time about 1 million oz. of gold was produced. Although the average grade was 27.5 g/t gold, the gold price wouldn’t break US$325 and by the end of 1999 was down to US$290 per oz. The costs of running a stand-alone mine and mill

were high. Skeena optioned and then earned 100% of the past-producing mine in July 2017. The company quickly began to re-explore the property. With the gold price last year hitting US$1,200 to US$1,300 per oz., the project was a great deal more interesting.




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The mine has seen approximately 8,500 metres of underground development, and 280,000 metres of historic drilling. An 11,000-metre phase two underground and surface drill program is currently under way. The assays are very high – 9.14 g/t over 10.2 metres,16.02 g/t over 12.3 metres, 36.65 g/t over 2 metres. Besides high grades, the Snip property now enjoys access via a paved highway from Smithers, grid power within 17 km, and access to new year-round ocean port facilities in Stewart, B.C. None of this infrastructure was available when the mine was operated in the 1990s. Snip looks to be lining up as a winner for Skeena. The company also has in its portfolio the former Eskay Creek gold mine, which produced 3.3 million oz. of gold and 160 million oz. of silver from 1994 to 2008. Grades there were 45 g/t gold and 2,224 g/t silver. Look for a maiden 43-101 resource estimate later this year.

FIRST MINING GOLD First Mining acquired the Springpole property – one of Canada’s largest undeveloped gold projects – when it acquired Gold Canyon Resources in November

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Cradle to cradle


The core shack at First Mining’s Springpole project.

2015. The deposit lies about 110 km northeast of Red Lake, Ont., roughly halfway to the historic Pickle Crow gold mine. First Mining is very confident about Springpole. It is engaged in consultation with local Indigenous peoples and other stakeholders, and it plans to complete the federal and provincial environmental process by the end of 2020. And if everything goes according to plan, the initial gold pour at Springpole could occur in 2024. There are good reasons to be optimistic. The preliminary economic analysis prepared in 2017 proposes a large open pit mine and 36,000-t/d processing facility. At full production the mine would have an average annual output of 296,000 oz. of gold and 1.6 million oz. of silver. The all-in cash cost would be US$806 per oz. of gold equivalent. The PEA outlines a 12-year mine life with a post-tax net present value (5% discount) of US$792 million and an internal rate of return 26.2%. The initial capital costs are pegged at US$586 million, and the payback period would be 3.5 years. Resources: The Springpole deposit contains

139.1 million indicated tonnes grading 1.04 g/t gold and 5.4 g/t silver. The indicated resource contains 4.7 million oz. of gold and 24.2 million oz. of silver. The inferred resource is 11.4 million tonnes at 0.63 g/t gold and 3.1 g/t silver, containing 230,000 oz. of gold and 1.1 million oz. of silver.

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2018 drilling targets to expand the Three Bluffs deposit at Committee Bay. CREDIT: AURYN RESOURCES

AURYN RESOURCES Committee Bay Auryn Resources acquired 100% of the Committee Bay project in September 2015. It lies in the Committee Bay Greenstone Belt about 180 km northeast of Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank mine in Nunavut. The project benefits from existing infrastructure, a 100-person camp at the Three Bluffs deposit, and a pair of satellite camps in the southwest part of the belt. There are a number of high quality exploration targets within the greenstone belt. Auryn has selected several of them for drilling this year, with drilling beginning in July. Of particular interest is the expansion of the Three Bluffs deposit, where 4,000 metres of drilling should expand the resource to depth and along strike. The company has raised roughly $15 million so far this year. Much of it is earmarked for Committee Bay and the Gibson MacQuoid projects in Nunavut and Homestake Ridge in British Columbia’s Golden Triangle. Auryn is also working two gold projects in Peru. CONTINUED ON PAGE 24


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Resources: The only estimate from Committee Bay covers the Three Bluffs deposit. The indicated

portion includes 1.8 million near surface tonnes averaging 7.72 g/t gold for 437,000 oz., and 310,000 underground tonnes at 8.57 g/t gold for 86,000 oz. Inferred resources total 590,000 near surface tonnes at 7.57 g/t containing 144,000 oz. of gold plus 2.9 million underground tonnes at 7.65 g/t containing 576,000 oz. of gold. For readers who are keeping track, that is 524,000 oz. contained in the indicated material and 720,000 oz. in the inferred material.


PL GOLD MINE RE-START AS EARLY AS 2019/20 Positive Feasibility Study Completed: average annual production of ~46,000 ounces over minimum 5 year mine life Global gold resource remains open at depth and near surface on strike resource expansion potential has been confirmed Well Structured emerging Canadian gold producer with resource expansion potential at PL and Nokomis gold deposits and exploration potential CANADIAN MINING JOURNAL |


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GoldMining’s Yellowknife gold project. CREDIT: GOLDMINING

GOLDMINING Yellowknife GoldMining says its Yellowknife gold project is comprised of several properties spread out from 17 to 100 km north of the town of Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories. They include Nicholas Lake, Ormsby, Goodwin Lake, Clan Lake and Big Sky. The Ormsby property is home of the Discovery mine that operated 1950 to 1969, producing an estimated 1 million oz. of gold from ore grading 28 g/t. GoldMining is reviewing the existing database of information from the Yellowknife Greenstone Belt and a 43-101 resource estimate is under way. Meanwhile, the company acquired additional gold claims this year – the Narrow Lake property – that is contiguous Nicholas Lake and Ormsby properties.


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The Yellowknife Greenstone Belt is certainly worthy of additional exploration. The historic mines – Giant and Com to the south and Discovery to the north –together produced about 15 million oz. of gold. Historic resource: The following is not 43-101 compliant, but may

be interesting. Measured and indicated resources at 27.1 million tonnes grading 1.97 g/t gold (1.7 million oz.) at a 0.5 g/t cut-off for open pit and 1.5 g/t for underground material. The inferred portion is 5.8 million tonnes grading 2.62 g/t gold (487,000 oz.) using the same cut-off criteria.

PURE GOLD MINING Madsen Madsen is a former gold producer with 2.4 million oz. of gold to its credit. It operated between 1938 and 1976. The property has been explored by Claude Resources and Placer Dome in the 1990s. Claude produced a maiden 43-101 resource estimate in 2013 and Pure Gold purchased the property in 2014 with the goal of consolidating the Madsen Mine Trend and expanding resources. Pure Gold updated the PEA for the project, 16 km west of Red Lake, Ont., in 2018. This company, unlike most of the juniors mentioned here, is solely focused on one project, advancing it as quickly as funding will allow. The project is fully permitted, allowing the operation of a 1,000-t/d mill and carbon-in-pulp circuit. There is a 1,275metre deep shaft and headframe at the site, a portal and ramp, as well as 27 levels of underground workings. The PEA suggests that the pre-production capex requirement will be only $51 million. The after-tax NPV (5%) is $258 million and the after-tax IRR will be 47%. Payback will be achieved after 2.8 years. An updated resource estimate is expected later this year, and a definitive feasibility study is underway.

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Pure Gold’s Madsen project in Red Lake, Ont. CREDIT: PURE GOLD

Resources: The Madsen deposit has indicated resources of 5.8 million

tonnes grading 8.9 g/t gold and containing 1.7 million oz. The inferred portion contains 587,000 tonnes at 9.4 g/t for 300,000 oz. of gold. A potential expansion could include mining the small Russet South and Fork deposits.

underground mine and establishing several small open pits. The property has a maintenance shop, backfill plant, explosives magazines, laydown yard, mine rescue station, water storage pond, power substation, compressor system, and 1,000 t/d mill. To put the old mine back into production, the company will have to dewater the old workings, rehabilitate the existing CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

MINNOVA CORP. PL Since acquiring the PL high grade, former gold producer in 2011, Minnova Corp. has been steadily advancing the mine toward reopening. The 2018 feasibility study recommends a $34.3 million pre-production capex. This includes reopening the

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General layout of the PL project site. CREDIT: MINNOVA CORP.


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GOLD PROJECTS The White Gold project in the Yukon.

ramp, stabilize the old stopes as required, rehab part of the 1109 level, and embark on additional lateral development. The mining method will probably be up-dip stoping. The mill will be placed back in service with conventional crushing and grinding, a gravity circuit, flotation, regrinding, and cyanidation followed by Merrill-Crowe recovery. The gold will be refined into doré bars on site. The existing tailings management facility will be recommissioned.


Resources: Measured and indicated

resources at 1.5 million tonnes grading 5.29 g/t gold and containing 282,500 oz at a cutoff of 2.5 g/t. The inferred portion is another 1.8 million tonnes at 5.08 g/t and containing 301,700 oz. of gold.

WHITE GOLD CORP. White Gold If a junior can’t find a historic mine to explore, another good strategy is to purchase a property that a larger company is holding but not active at. White Gold did that when it purchased the White Gold, Black Fox, JP Ross, Yellow, and Battle properties from Kinross Gold in June 2017. The White Gold property with its Golden Saddle and Arc deposits is about 95 km south of Dawson City, Yukon.

The property has helicopter, airstrip and barge access with a 100-person camp at Thistle Creek. Access will improve under the federal government’s Yukon Resource Gateway project. The project will upgrade 650 km of roads in four separate public areas in the White Gold District. Numerous bridges, culverts and stream crossings will also be updated. White Gold says that where resources are known, the mineralization shows vertical continuity and remains largely open at depth and along strike. Last year White gold identified a

new high priority target adjacent to the Golden Saddle deposit. The target is located on strike and 600 metres to the northeast of the Golden Saddle deposit. Two diamond drills and a reverse circulation drill are on site testing the target this year. Resources: The White Gold project has

indicated resources of 12.3 million tonnes at 2.43 g/t gold and an inferred resource of 5.2 million tonnes at 1.70 g/t gold in the Golden Saddle (Main, Footwall and Upper zones) and the Arc deposits. CMJ

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The head frame at the Casa Berardi gold mine in Quebec. CREDIT: HECLA MINING

Combo of tried and true drilling plus new technology proves the right formula


ecla Mining is investing in innovative technology across its operations, and its Casa Berardi mine in northwestern Quebec is no exception. Ever since Hecla acquired the mine in 2013 through a friendly takeover of Aur-


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izon Mines, the company has been working to modernize the operation, increase resources and reserves through drilling, and increase throughput at the mill. On all three fronts, the company has succeeded.

Throughput has increased dramatically, from 1,350 short tons per day in 2013 to 2,300 t/d in 2015 and 3,350 t/d in 2017. As a result of higher throughput as




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Underground at Casa Berardi, in Quebec’s Abitibi region. CREDIT: HECLA MINING

well as grades, all-in sustaining costs have declined, falling from US$1,240 per oz. in 2016 to US$1,170 in 2017 and are forecast at US$1,100 per oz. for 2018. Cash costs this year are estimated at US$800 per oz. At the same time, Casa Berardi, which has a production history going back to 1988, has seen a 70% reduction in the all-injury frequency rate since acquisition. The mine now employs about 950 workers, 250 more than in 2013. Part of Hecla’s success is investing in good, old-fashioned exploration and development drilling. In 2016, the company began open pit mining at the East Mine Crown Pillar (EMCP) pit, which has a 5.5-year mine life. The material, which accounted for 38% of mill feed in 2017, has allowed more consistency in operations and helped push production last year to 156,700 oz. gold. Near-surface exploration has proven fruitful. Once the EMCP is mined out, a series of other proposed pits (Principal, 160 and West Mine Crown Pillar) are likely to keep the mill topped up. In a February conference call discussing 2017 year-end results, chief operating officer Larry Radford noted that now that Hecla has been able to run the mill near its upper limit (at times up to 4,000 t/d), the company has enough data to further tweak the operation. “We can start to really optimize Casa Berardi in terms of what’s the right throughput, and what are the right cutoff grades, both open pit and underground,” Radford said. 28 | CANADIAN


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Automation Underground, operations at Casa Berardi are getting “more and more automated every day,” Radford said. The company has introduced remote operation for its rock breakers and automatic hoisting, which has increased hoisting capacity by 5-6% or 120 additional t/d. “This was done by and large with in-house resources,” Radford said. “We didn’t bring in big contractors to do this, so we’re getting a lot of automation wins without a lot of expense.” In late 2017, Hecla introduced a Sandvik TH540 autonomous truck to the 985 drift at Casa Berardi. The truck is controlled and monitored from surface, and operates 24 hours a day (outside of fuel-

ling and maintenance) to bring ore from Zones 118 and 123 to the West shaft 1 km away. By almost all accounts, it has exceeded expectations. “The autonomous truck continues to impress in the 985 drift,” Radford said in an August conference call. “In fact, the performance is already considerably better than we thought it would be. We can load the truck faster, it has much shorter cycle time, a 90% availability and fuel consumption is down 17% and we think it will eventually be even higher than that.” The one area where the truck is underperforming is travel speed: At 4.6 metres, the drift is too narrow for the truck to move quickly (it requires a 5 metre width). The tight space reduced travel speed to 14 km/h vs. a projected 18 km/h.

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The autonomous truck continues to impress in the 985 drift. In fact, the performance is already considerably better than we thought it would be. We can load the truck faster, it has much shorter cycle time, a 90% availability and fuel consumption is down 17% – and we think it will eventually be even higher than that. – LARRY RADFORD, COO OF HECLA MINING

Sandvik’s TH540 dump truck. CREDIT: SANDVIK

“In the near term we’ll complete slashing tight spots in the drift, which should enable the autonomous truck to drive faster,” Radford said. In the fourth quarter, Hecla expects to deploy a second autonomous truck to the 985 drift. The company expects to save $3-4 million a year from running two trucks autonomously. Hecla has also introduced three automated drill rigs for development drilling (Epiroc FAM 3 and S2C drills), for improved accuracy, and a Sandvik DL431 long hole production drill, which has added 15 metres per day (enough for two more stopes a year) by being deployed between shifts. The company is also stepping up its data collection efforts with Newtrax’s SEPTEMBER 2018

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ISAAC recorder system on its trucks and loaders. Upgrades to the control room at Casa Berardi, including three screens that will provide real-time visual access to telemetry information, including machine health and loads carried, are under way. In addition to modernizing its underground operations, Hecla sees room to lower costs in the open pit at Casa Berardi, based on the results of contractor vs. owner fleet analysis, which it is currently conducting. Hecla expects to spend US$45 million in sustaining capital at the mine this year. In March, Hecla closed a $40-million loan from Ressources Quebec in March to be used for the development and expansion of Casa Berardi. Hecla has seven operating mines,

including three in Nevada recently acquired through a takeover of Klondex Mines. Hecla’s innovation efforts at Casa Berardi complement those at its other mines. For example, the company is testing ventilation on demand at its Green’s Creek mine in Alaska, and has ordered a mechanical mining machine from Epiroc for its Lucky Friday mine in Idaho (see Page 50 in our August 2018 issue). Hecla expects to apply its learnings at Casa Berardi to its new Nevada operations. At the end of 2017, Casa Berardi had proven and probable reserves of 1.5 million oz. gold in 13.8 million tons grading 0.11 oz. gold per ton (and measured and indicated resources of 1.4 million oz. in 13.2 million oz. grading 0.10 oz. per ton). CMJ CANADIAN MINING JOURNAL |


2018-08-17 4:09 PM





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lobally, the mining sector has invested significant time and resources during the past five years to implement critical control management (CCM) systems intended to prevent fatal incidents. Notwithstanding the advent of these CCM systems and the release of guidance in 2015

by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the mining industry continues to experience high numbers of fatalities. ICMM members have collectively experienced more than 350 deaths over the past five years. According to ICCM, “What the data shows us

Photo: andresr,


2018-08-23 9:27 AM

Photo: andresr,

is that the increased and sustained focus on the elimination of fatalities has yet to mature. We have seen continued success in reducing the number and rate of injuries; however, a focus on fatalities must remain.” What is keeping mining companies from realizing value from their CCM systems and successfully reducing fatalities? There are three things many companies can do to extract and create greater value from their CCM systems in relation to reducing the number of fatal risks and more broadly in the context of material operational risks. Don’t settle for mere compliance Many companies are creating a goliath CCM system that performs vast numbers of critical control verifications. While organizations are investing enormous time and effort to perform physical observations of controls, and are generating huge volumes of data on critical control checks in the process, it is all for naught if the organization gets stuck in a compliance mindset, or simply executing a checklist of tasks because employees feel they must rather than because they understand the benefit of it. When CCM is implemented as a mere systems solution the benefits are short-lived. Most commonly, following an initial burst of enthusiasm in which the workforce embraces the CCM system, critical control verifications begin to lapse into mindless inspections that uncover no learning and improvement opportunities. Companies eventually lose engagement and credibility with their workforce and leaders lose a sense of urgency. Fatalities re-emerge, incident rates increase and the workforce becomes blind to hazards. In the worst extreme, reporting of critical control failures goes underground. This occurs when employees feel the motivation to perform critical control verifications comes from an external influence – either a particularly influential company leader, a verification quota target established by corporate headquarters, or a system prompt to close-out SEPTEMBER 2018

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To achieve greater value and improve results of CCM, companies should endeavour to integrate the system into a company culture characterized by safety maturity. It is not effective for organizations to simply be compliance driven and reactive, in which risk management is a result of rules and procedures in place, often ignoring the underlying human elements involved.

Figure: Integrated Model of Leadership Influence ©

overdue actions. Behaviour is characterized by employees seeing safety merely as a matter of following rules developed by someone else. The underlying message to employees is “follow the rules and you will be safe,” which delivers only minimal strengthening of critical controls. To achieve greater value and improve results of CCM, companies should endeavour to integrate the system into a company culture characterized by safety maturity. It is not effective for organizations to simply be compliance driven and reactive, in which risk management is a result of rules and procedures in place, often ignoring the underlying human elements involved (represented by the North-South axis in the figure above). Workers and leaders should also aspire to have higher levels of situational awareness and be better able to identify risks affecting the working environment, and feel empowered to proactively seek to resolve them (represented by the EastWest axis in the figure). When companies apply CCM amidst

a mature culture that harnesses beliefs and attitudes and generates improved situational awareness, as well as drives compliance to rules and procedures, they can achieve and sustain improvements that strengthen critical controls and reduce fatal risks. In addition to detecting and addressing individual critical control failures, the organization is better able to evaluate when and why control failures are outside of tolerance levels, and learn from data gathered. Put more trust in automated systems In an era when technological applications are exploding onto the scene in the mining sector, it is surprising that the CCM approach taken by many companies remains heavily reliant on managers and supervisors performing in-person physical observations of critical controls, such as combing through reams of equipment maintenance and inspection records to check whether equipment certifications and inspections are current.




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Instead, there are opportunities for companies to move toward automated retrieval and reporting of data, and use of automated remote detection devices to perform inspections rather than relying on human verifications. Not only does this have efficiency benefits, it makes more human resources available to analyze trends rather than inspect for failures, and enables leaders to have more quality safety interactions with their workers. Leverage all available data insights Many companies are limiting CCM to field-based controls, such as plant and equipment operation or when performing construction, maintenance, and inspection. However fatal incidents can stem from failures in asset integrity management, design, maintenance strategy and planning, management of change, and work planning, as well. For critical control identification and verification to deliver greatest value, it should encompass critical controls embedded through-

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There are three things many companies can do to extract and create greater value from their CCM systems: integrate CCM with company culture instead of thinking of it as a mere compliance exercise; extend the reach of critical controls beyond the last-line-of-defense; and optimize field verification and reporting of critical control failures by making use of existing and emerging technologies.

out operational processes within and outside of field-based activities. A focus on the last-line-of-defense limits the value that can be realized. Also, a wealth of critical control compliance data exists among many companies indicating the locations and timing of detected critical control failures. While companies are using this data to monitor completion of verifications and closure of actions with a view to reducing critical control non-compliance by their

workforce, it could be analyzed alongside other data (e.g. fatigue, equipment reliability, and stress). This generates rich insights that enable work teams and control owners to pre-empt risks and take proactive instead of responsive action. Maximize return from CCM investment CCM systems represent a significant investment of both man-hours and financial resources for mining companies. There are three things many companies can do to extract and create greater value from their CCM systems: integrate CCM with company culture instead of thinking of it as a mere compliance exercise; extend the reach of critical controls beyond the last-line-of-defense; and optimize field verification and reporting of critical control failures by making use of existing and emerging technologies. In these ways, mining companies can achieve an improved return on their substantial CCM investments. CMJ Samantha Fraser is senior manager with DuPont Sustainable Solutions. DuPont Sustainable Solutions, a business unit of DowDuPont Specialty Products division, is a leading provider of world-class operations consulting services to help organizations transform and optimize their processes, technologies, and capabilities and is committed to improving the safety, productivity, and sustainability of organizations around the world. For more information, go to


Many companies are limiting CCM to field-based controls, such as plant and equipment operation or when performing construction, maintenance, and inspection. However fatal incidents can stem from failures in asset integrity management, design, maintenance strategy and planning, management of change, and work planning, as well.

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Canadian Mining Journal September 2018  

Find out about new Canadian mining and exploration trends, technologies, mining operations, corporate developments and industry events.

Canadian Mining Journal September 2018  

Find out about new Canadian mining and exploration trends, technologies, mining operations, corporate developments and industry events.