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MAY 2018 | MAI 2018

project profile

64 Underground turnaround How North American Palladium brought its Lac des Iles mine back from the brink By Graham Chandler

43 A proposal for a CIM waste classification system By Ljiljana Josic and Lawrence Devon Smith

58 cover story

Creative solutions to mining’s skills shortage By Cecilia Keating

69 The growing rate of innovation in the processing plant By Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco

May • Mai 2018 | 5


CIM MAGAZINE MAY 2018 • MAI 2018

in each issue

8 10 12

Editor’s letter President’s notes Chatter

tools of the trade

14

The best in new technology Compiled by Jordan Faries

developments

19

New LTE system at Agnico Eagle’s LaRonde to be deployed more than three kilometres underground

69

By Kelsey Rolfe

23

Barrick founder Peter Munk remembered for his business acumen and philanthropy

contenu francophone

By Jordan Faries

27

72 73 74 75

Canadian Natural Resources and Titanium Corporation advance project to extract titanium from oil sands tailings By Sarah Treleaven

we are mining

39

Covergalls founder Alicia Woods wants women to feel they belong in the industry

23

77

79

By Virginia Heffernan

closure & reclamation

By Kylie Williams

53

New research suggests that willow trees could help remediate contaminated soil By Christopher Pollon

celebrating 120 years of CIM

Une discussion avec la nouvelle présidente de l’ICM Janice Zinck La mine LaRonde d’Agnico Eagle obtient le réseau LTE souterrain

article de fond

The journey to successful scale-up for Woodgrove Technologies’ innovative three-stage flotation reactor

Saskatchewan Research Council cleans up abandoned uranium mines

Mot du président

Par Kelsey Rolfe

innovation

50

Lettre de l’éditeur

Par Elle Crosby

By Sahar Fatima

46

Table des matières

27 mining lore

90

In ancient Egypt, gold and other metals had deep religious significance

L'industrie minière est depuis longtemps bien consciente de la pénurie imminente de main-d'œuvre qualifiée qui la menace. Il est temps de renouveler le débat et de trouver des solutions créatives. Par Cecilia Keating

profil de projet

84

Comment North American Palladium a remonté la pente Par Graham Chandler

By Cecilia Keating

56

A conversation with new CIM President Janice Zinck By Elle Crosby

Nous publions progressivement sur notre site Internet les articles du CIM Magazine en version française. 6 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3


editor’s letter

Mining’s perennial crisis t CIM Magazine headquarters, we are in a position that I know many of our readers can relate to: one of our staff received an job offer she could not refuse and has moved on, leaving us thinking long and hard about the position we want to fill, the person we would like to fill it and the skills and experience they will be required to have. There are some job requirements that are clearly defined – the myriad daily things that must get done – and then, stepping back, there are others that are less clear, as you consider the aspirations of the organization and how that new hire could help realize them. To be in the mining industry is to be preoccupied with human resources. When I first began at CIM Magazine nearly a decade ago, “the looming HR crisis” lurked within nearly every text that crossed my desk. Then, the cycle made its turn, miners and engineering firms shed workers, and the perennial crisis retreated like a spectre on a spring, loading up, ready to pop out of the shadows again. Today, as confidence in the sector returns, we wanted to pick up on the theme again in our feature, “Disengage crisis mode” by Cecilia Keating (pg. 58), and focus on the creative solutions that miners and training organizations have developed, as well as some of the lessons they have learned along the way – Agnico Eagle’s work in Nunavut being an excellent example. As the recent work at NORCAT demonstrates (pg. 35), there are now tools available such as virtual and augmented

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This issue’s cover By Clò Communications

reality technologies that, if developed in partnership with potential employers, can introduce prospective workers to work environments in a way that just was not possible in the past. And in a similar vein, miners are also getting plugged in to how the principles of electronic gaming can be used to accelerate training on heavy equipment. That, in turn, leads farther down the path to the automation of the equipment itself. If that is the aspiration, then it marks a profound change in the workforce required to advance in that direction, and the suite of skills they will have. These are developments that we will follow with particular interest.

Ryan Bergen, Editor-in-chief editor@cim.org @Ryan_CIM_Mag

Editor-in-chief Ryan Bergen, rbergen@cim.org Executive editor Angela Hamlyn, ahamlyn@cim.org Managing editor Lenie Lucci Section editors Tom DiNardo, tdinardo@cim.org; Kelsey Rolfe, krolfe@cim.org Web content editor Maria Olaguera, molaguera@cim.org Editorial intern Jordan Faries, jfaries@cim.org Contributors Joel Barde, Graham Chandler, Sahar Fatima, Virginia Heffernan, Ljiljana Josic, Cecilia Keating, Janice Leuschen, Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco,Christopher Pollon, Lawrence Devon Smith, Sarah Treleaven, Kylie Williams Editorial advisory board Mohammad Babaei Khorzhoughi, Vic Pakalnis, Steve Rusk, Nathan Stubina Translations Karen Rolland and Cision

Advertising sales Dovetail Communications Inc. Tel.: 905.886.6640; Fax: 905.886.6615; www.dvtail.com Senior Account Executives Janet Jeffery, jjeffery@dvtail.com, 905.707.3529 Neal Young, nyoung@dvtail.com, 905.707.3525 Subscriptions Online version included in CIM Membership ($197/yr). Print version for institutions or agencies – Canada: $275/yr (AB, BC, MB, NT, NU, SK, YT add 5% GST; ON add 13% HST; QC add 5% GST + 9.975% PST; NB, NL, NS, PE add 15% HST). Print version for institutions or agencies – USA/International: US$325/yr. Online access to single copy: $50. Layout and design by Clò Communications Inc. www.clocommunications.com

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Published 8 times a year by: Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum 1250 – 3500 de Maisonneuve Blvd. West Westmount, QC H3Z 3C1 Tel.: 514.939.2710; Fax: 514.939.2714 www.cim.org; magazine@cim.org

ISSN 1718-4177. Publications Mail No. 09786. Postage paid at CPA Saint-Laurent, QC. Dépôt légal: Bibliothèque nationale du Québec. The Institute, as a body, is not responsible for statements made or opinions advanced either in articles or in any discussion appearing in its publications.

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Printed in Canada 8 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3


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president’s notes

Mining and Safety

“Everyone working in the Canadian mining industry should be proud of the safety gains we have made and take on the challenge of a ‘zero harm’ workplace.”

The global mining industry has significantly improved its safety performance, so much so that a “zero harm” workplace is within our reach. It is an important goal, and incredibly ambitious if we look at mine safety from a historical perspective. A century ago, fatalities for coal mines in the United States averaged approximately 2,500 per year. That amounted to 333 deaths per 100,000 workers. By 2015 the fatality rate had fallen to 12 per 100,000. The improvement was due to better control of methane and coal dust, which minimized explosions, coupled with mechanization and enhanced safety management skills. Canada had its share of mining disasters, the worst being the explosion at Alberta’s Hillcrest coal mine in 1914, which killed 189. The Westray mine explosion in Nova Scotia in 1992 was the worst in recent memory, killing 26 coal miners. The John T. Ryan Trophy, first awarded in 1941, was created to help focus management and workers on the challenge of improving workplace safety. Fifty years ago, Century Coals’ Atlas mine won the trophy in the coal category with a rate of 3.06 reportable injuries per 200,000 hours worked. Today it is not uncommon for companies to share the trophy for having a reportable injury rate of zero for the year. The annual death toll in South Africa’s mining industry hovered around 800 from the early 1900s to 1993. By 2015 it was down to 77. The ending of apartheid was the main reason for the improvement, as it allowed for the training of all workers. China, with an estimated workforce of five million, has also taken on the enormous challenge of reducing fatalities in coal mining. Government efforts to tighten safety rules and close thousands of smaller, dangerous mines has reduced annual fatalities from about 3,000 in 2008 to 931 in 2014. Everyone working in the Canadian mining industry should be proud of the safety gains we have made and take on the challenge of a “zero harm” workplace. But we should also recognize that, internationally, there is still much progress to be made. Along with seven million industrial miners, there are roughly 100 million artisanal and small-scale miners operating in 80 countries worldwide whose working conditions are far more hazardous. Many mining companies are working in close proximity with artisanal miners, and have reported successful efforts to help formalize them and make their operations safer and healthier. We should continue these efforts to bring the safety practices that are now engrained in the industry to small-scale miners. While in this realm “zero harm” may still be long way away, we have an enormous opportunity to take significant steps in that direction.

Kenneth (Ken) G. Thomas CIM President

10 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3


We shape and make history every day That’s how we make the big difference, the Metso Way.

This year marks Metso’s 150th anniversary, and we are celebrating by remembering the employees, customers, and technological advancements that helped write our story—including our heritage brands. Today, we continue to serve and supply spare and wear parts for all machines previously sold under our trusted heritage brands, such as Nordberg, Symons, Svedala, Barmac, and Allis Chalmers. Our long-lasting parts are designed to original tolerances to ensure a perfect fit, safe operation, and optimal uptime. Plus, exercising preventative maintenance with Metso and using OEM parts extends the life of your equipment. Discover all of Metso’s heritage brands still served at metso.com/ CrusherSpares. #Metso150

Visit us at CIM Convention 2018 Vancouver, BC Booth #600


chatter @CIMorg

CIM – Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum

Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum

@cim_mag

Canadian Institute of Mining

RE: MINERAL PROCESSING CONFERENCE CELEBRATES ITS 50TH AND PLANS FOR THE FUTURE (FEB ‘18)

I agree that cost is a big factor for students - however for me the scheduling was the bigger issue. Tuesday through Thursday in the middle of the semester means a lot of playing catch-up for missed classes! But I understand it's impossible to please everyone when scheduling a conference of any size. – William Merrick

RE: CANADA ANNOUNCES NEW FEDERAL AGENCY FOR RESOURCE PROJECT EVALUATION (MARCH/APRIL '18)

I for one am looking forward to the details of these Impact Assessments - especially the metrics. Might there be scope to apply these to Canadian extractive projects elsewhere in the world (see the recently created Ombudsman), while including 'conflict sensitivity assessments' into the suite? – Michael Proulx, MGA

ERRATUM In "Play the angles" from the March/April edition of CIM Magazine we misidentified the title of Jean-Marc Lacoste. He is, in fact, the president and CEO of Monarques Gold. We regret the error.

RE: SHARPER SHOOTERS (DEC ‘17/JAN ’18)

Good state of the art overview - thanks.

– Walter L. Pohl

This technology has a usefulness in exploration geology and prospecting in greenfields situations. In the operational mining environment, I have seen this technology used with disastrous result. Data must always be interpreted and placed in context. – Bruce Penner Awesome tools. If this true that these tools can predict up to single digit ppm of mineral concentrate? Then this could be the "hand of God" for any geologist with no experience. – Hamonangan Silaban

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO CIM Magazine was in Val d’Or in March to visit Agnico Eagle’s Goldex and LaRonde mines. See our story on pg. 19 about LaRonde’s new LTE network, and check out our next issue for a profile of Goldex’s Rail Veyor project. 22 likes

We were at @agnicoeagle’s LaRonde mine getting the skinny on its new LTE network that’s allowing workers to make calls, FaceTime and send data from underground.

12 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

31 likes

You’re looking at the Rail Veyor at @agnicoeagle’s Goldex mine, which transports ore from its Deep 1 zone to the surface. Goldex is the first mine to use the technology underground in North America.


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tools of the trade

Efficient electromagnetic exploration Electromagnetic exploration, the process of detecting the physical makeup of subsurface geological formations based on their ability to conduct electromagnetic energy, is a preferred exploration method for many mining projects. During an electromagnetic survey, two measurements are important: the B-field – an induced magnetic field – and the ratio of the amount of change in the magnetic field over the time it takes to make the change (dB/dt). The speed at which the B-field dissipates shows how well or how poorly the geological makeup of the area conducts the current, which in turn can signal if there are mineral deposits worth pursuing and help target drilling. Designed to speed up both the efficiency and accuracy of the process is Abitibi Geophysics’ ARMIT 3 probe, its latest innovation in the time-delay electromagnetic method of mineral exploration. Chris Nind, Abitibi’s vicepresident of business development, highlighted the practicality and ease of use the probe offers: it can measure both the Bfield and dB/dt – which often require separate instruments to measure – in one pass, along the X, Y and Z dimensional axes. Not only does it combine both measurements, Nind added, it measures “as good as or better” than the conventional methods – a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) for the B-field and an induction coil for the dB/dt measurement. 14 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

Courtesy of RST

In the interest of simplifying the dustsuppression process for miners, Reynolds Soil Technologies (RST) recently announced a mechanical system geared towards enhancing the effect of its Hi-Foam solution. The Hi-Foam solution engulfs dust in a thick foam that weighs down finer particles to keep them contained during the crushing and conveying process. The solution itself is made up of compressed air, water and RST’s in-house formula, but because water is generally a critical commodity in operations, RST limited its use in the solution. The company’s mechanized system for applying the foam is customized to the needs of the project it is being applied to, said operations and technical director David Handel in a press release. Each system comes with six dosing points to introduce foam directly into the crushing and conveying circuit at specific stages, with the end goal being maximum coverage and dust suppression with the least amount of water required.

Courtesy of Continental

Courtesy of Abitibi Geophysics

Less dust, less water

Tire monitoring in real time Proactive tire monitoring can prevent time-consuming repairs for things like flat tires and low tire pressure, which reduce a haul truck’s efficiency and can increase fuel consumption. Continental’s recently announced ContiConnect tire monitoring solution allows any project with earth-moving vehicles, trucks and other heavy machinery to address tire pressure inconsistencies and other problems proactively, rather than waiting until after something goes wrong. The sensor consists of a small mount placed on the inner lining of a tire that keeps constant track of the tire’s air pressure and temperature. The sensor communicates this information to a yard reader, a device installed near to where the vehicles operate. The reader then sends this information through to ContiConnect’s web interface, where fleet managers can keep tabs on tire conditions and performance. This data is stored and can be analyzed per individual tire or vehicle or for the entire fleet to track performance and diagnose problems.


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A strong foundation The next-generation carrier from Marcotte Mining Machinery Services, the RAM40, features increased safety and a new integrated battery drive package. The standardized carrier acts as a base for any of Marcotte’s applications, like a crane or fuel package, and is built to accommodate the various requirements that Marcotte’s fleet presents (low and high horsepower, Tier 4 emissions standards compliance, and Marcotte’s new Siemens battery drive package). The RAM40 – named for Marcotte’s late founder, Raymond Arthur Marcotte – also places an emphasis on safety, with improved sightlines and increased visibility from inside the machine. Additionally, maintenance and daily checks can be performed from the ground, reducing risk. “We wanted to recognize where we came from but also create a machine that was new, innovative and spoke to our future,” the company said.

Courtesy of Motion Metrics

Fragmentation analysis on the fly As ore moves through the mill, it is important to maintain an optimal size with the resulting rock fragments. Too big and the rocks can be difficult to transport and can damage equipment. Too small and energy is wasted from overblasting. Motion Metrics’ latest innovation, BeltMetrics, is a fragmentation analysis and empty belt detection solution that continuously analyzes rock fragment size on a mine site conveyer belt. The system uses camera monitoring on the conveyer belt to feed information through an artificial intelligence system to accurately scale and measure each rock. BeltMetrics has the ability to measure fragments smaller than one centimetre in diameter and to run 24/7, and alerts mine staff when rock size is trending away from ideal measurements. The company said BeltMetrics is an improvement on sieve analysis, the traditional method for monitoring rock size, which is time-consuming and requires rock samples to be taken off the belt.

Fury-ous efficiency In a competitive market, Schramm’s Fury 130 drill rig stands out thanks to its strength and efficient fuel use compared to similar rigs. A split-shaft engine that decouples the rig’s air and hydraulic power systems reduces the truck-mounted rig’s fuel usage. Schramm vice-president of sales Craig Mayman called this a unique solution that not only increases efficiency but gives the rig a combined 1,200 horsepower, compared to the 800 horsepower available from similar models. The rig also features 130,000 pounds of pullback capacity (the force applied when a rig recovers the drill string from the borehole) – dwarfing Schramm’s previous top performing truckmounted rig, the T685, which could handle up to 93,700 pounds. Additionally, it has 32,000 pounds of pulldown capacity (the downward pressure applied to a drill string). Mayman also highlighted the rig’s electrical control system, which includes an emergency shut-off system and onboard fault diagnosis assistance for increased safety.

16 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

Compiled by Jordan Faries

Courtesy of Schramm

Courtesy of Marcotte Mining Machinery Services

tools of the trade


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Barrick founder Peter Munk remembered for his business acumen and philanthropy

British Columbia to reform Environmental Assessment Act

Canadian Natural Resources and Titanium Corporation advance project to extract titanium from oil sands tailings

Me Too Mining draws attention to harassment and sexual violence in mining

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Developments Agnico Eagle gets LTE underground at LaRonde LaRonde’s new LTE system to be deployed more than three kilometres underground Underground at Agnico Eagle’s Laronde Zone 5, a satellite deposit of the LaRonde mine, the opening riffs of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck punctuated the low din of conversation. Alain Larose, LaRonde’s assistant superintendent of maintenance, grinned. “It’s YouTube!” he said, showing off the screen of his ruggedized smart phone. Zone 5 and LaRonde itself now have an LTE network that allows workers to make calls, video chat, share data – and even watch YouTube videos – while deep underground. LTE allows for high-speed wireless communication on mobile devices like phones and tablets. The system was piloted at Zone 5 last year and is currently being deployed three kilometres underground at LaRonde, North America’s deepest gold mine. Ambra Solutions, a Canadian telecommunications engineering company, and Ericsson Canada, who worked on the project, said LaRonde has Canada’s deepest underground LTE network. Eric L’Heureux, Ambra’s CEO, said the company is “currently deploying LTE networks in other mines as we speak,” and that by the end of the year there will be multiple mines with the network. LaRonde has traditionally used a leaky feeder communications system,

Courtesy of Agnico Eagle

By Kelsey Rolfe

Workers at Agnico Eagle's LaRonde mine are now able to use ruggedized Android phones with LTE capabilities underground.

which has limited coverage in the mine. Christian Goulet, the general mine superintendent at LaRonde, said for places like the ramp and general mine infrastructure the system worked well, but moving into the levels and the mine’s new development areas, coverage dropped to 75 per cent, and to somewhere between zero and 50 per cent, respectively. The average coverage in the mine was about 65 per cent. “Even though we give a radio to all the workers, normally during the shift

I cannot reach them because they’re in working areas,” he said in a presentation to industry and media in Val d’Or in late March. “If they are not using a ramp I will not be able to communicate with them.” The new LTE system was important to be able to reach workers, and could improve safety, he said. “We have a lot of workers underground and a lot of working areas, and the communication is a big problem with the leaky feeder,” he said. “We May • Mai 2018 | 19


want to make sure we can improve communication and connectivity for all those workers.” Goulet said LTE will be implemented in the mill in the first quarter of 2018, and the full installation underground will be completed in the first half of the year. Some of the potential applications aside from making calls are video conferencing with the on-surface nurse in event of an injury, transferring information from underground equipment and devices, and allowing the engineering team to transfer data from their surveying work. LaRonde has mined about 87 per cent of its ore, according to Agnico’s website. The mine is currently expected to produce until 2025; mining the low-grade Zone 5 deposit is expected to extend that by a year. The company is currently looking at taking the mine even deeper, from its current 3.1 kilometres below surface to as

deep as 3.7 km. In its 2017 financial results Agnico said recent drilling “continues to encounter high-grade gold intersections.” The plan, Goulet said, is to continue to use the leaky feeder system in the operations closer to the surface, where it works well and where mining is almost exhausted, and apply the LTE network in the deeper parts of the mine. “We want to focus on the lower mine as we go deeper,” he said, “even though it’s many kilometres of cable that we’ll have to install.” About 40 km of cable have already been laid to support the new network. Goulet said 50 smartphones with LTE capability are being used underground and 100 phones are at the mills. LaRonde expects to have 300 phones, and between 300 and 500 devices total using the network. The mine is using ruggedized Android phones, but any LTE device, including iPhones and iPads, could use Agnico’s

LTE network. Some phones are shared among workers, but shift bosses will have a designated phone (shared between the day and night shift supervisors) and all the underground equipment have a phone permanently installed. L’Heureux said LTE is an ideal solution because it is not subject to interference like WiFi, offers better coverage, and can provide coverage to a large area and number of devices. Ambra configured a transfer speed of 30 megabits per second (Mbps) throughout the mine, and L’Heureux said LTE technology can allow for wireless transfer speeds of up to one gigabit per second. It is also secure – Agnico can decide who is able to use the network, and all devices that are being used underground have special SIM cards to give them access. He added that with LTE, the manager of the network can send “warning

BUILDING

MINES OF

THE FUTURE WHAT WE DO s 3HAFT3INKING s 2AISE"ORINGAND2AISE%XCAVATING s -INE#ONSTRUCTIONAND)NFRASTRUCTURE s -INE$EVELOPMENTAND2EHABILITATION s -INING%NGINEERING3ERVICESAND$ESIGN s #ONTRACT-INING

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

20 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

WORKPLACE SAFETY NORTH’S

PRESIDENT’S AWARD RECIPIENT


developments

messages to all users in a specific area. You can use it in the mine to warn for evacuation, or if gas has been detected.” L’Heureux said LaRonde is currently testing location tracking. Bluetooth beacons located every 50 metres throughout mine tunnels would ping off Bluetooth readers on, for example, worker helmets, phones or on vehicles, which would allow supervisors to locate workers. “Underground, tracking is important,” L’Heureux said. “People want to know where the workers are, and where the trucks are.” In addition to tracking, Goulet said the LTE network gives the mine the potential for equipment to have autonomous capabilities later on. Goulet said LaRonde has an LTE committee that meets once a month to consider future applications of the technology, including developing sensors for gas monitoring. CIM

IBM’s Watson improves data processing times at Red Lake Processing data at Goldcorp’s Red Lake mine in Ontario became 97 per cent more efficient for geologists after using IBM Canada’s Watson cognitive technology at the site for a year, according to the gold mining company. Watson was tasked with analyzing 80 years’ worth of data at Red Lake to help geologists determine what areas might be valuable for exploration work. The project was announced in March 2017 at last year’s PDAC convention. In the first phase of the project, from March to September of last year, data, including drill logs and block models, were uploaded to Watson and IBM built algorithms to start querying it. Since September, Goldcorp’s geologists have been testing Watson’s results

by determining the answers to queries themselves and comparing them to what Watson has suggested. In the process, they determined that the traditional way of analyzing data took Red Lake’s geologists around 165 hours; for Watson to perform the same work, it was around four and a half. “All the work that geologists had to do before to interpret maps, look at different characteristics in the ore body, those have all been simplified,” said Luis Canepari, Goldcorp’s vice-president of technology. “Watson is identifying all those opportunities faster than we could manually.” In the project’s second phase, which has already begun, IBM is working with Goldcorp’s geologists to determine what questions they want Watson to answer. “Now that you have all this data and all this insight, what are the questions you ask,” said IBM Global Business Services partner Mark Fawcett. “What do you do when you have this?”

May • Mai 2018 | 21


Courtesy of Goldcorp

IBM's Watson was tasked with analyzing 80 years’ worth of data at Red Lake, pictured, to help geologists determine what areas might be valuable for exploration work.

The company is also building predictive models to look for high grade zones, specifically looking at areas of the site that had been previously discounted as unlikely to yield them. “In a traditional process there’s human bias,” Fawcett said. “Now being able to go and pull that data in, remove the bias, we’ll be able to look at it and have an independent view.”

Watson will also look at the data in new ways to attempt to find new patterns, Canepari said. Fawcett said the goal of Watson is not to replace geologists, but to help them do their jobs better. “Watson’s never going to make the decision for you, it’s going to give a recommendation with a predicted probability,” he said. “Then the geologists can ask dif-

ferent questions and get more information that would maybe help with the decision. That decision will have a higher probability [of accuracy] because they spent more time doing deep analysis.” Canepari said eventually the Watson technology could be used to incorporate data from other Goldcorp sites and attempt to find patterns across multiple mines. “What’s successful in Red Lake could be successful in another mine in Ontario that we hadn’t been thinking about,” he said. He also suggested the technology could eventually be used when considering potential acquisitions. “I believe that’s where things are headed,” Canepari said. “I think it’s inevitable, with the amount of data you have to understand in such a short period of time for acquiring a new mine. This could give you some insights that could impact the value of – Kelsey Rolfe those properties.”

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22 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3


developments

Barrick founder Peter Munk dies at 90 Munk remembered for his business acumen and philanthropy Courtesy of Barrick Gold

By Jordan Faries

Munk was named a Companion of the Order of Canada by then-Governor General Michaëlle Jean in 2008.

Peter Munk, one of the most wellknown names in mining, passed away on March 28 in Toronto at the age of 90, surrounded by family. Munk was best known for founding Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold mining company, and his outsized charitable and cultural contributions. He was named a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2008, the country’s highest civilian honour. These accomplishments are all the more impressive when considering that Munk arrived in Canada at the age of 20 with little more than a small suitcase and a poor understanding of English. Munk was born in Budapest in 1927. In 1944, at age 16, Munk and his family escaped to Switzerland when the Nazis invaded Hungary. He made his way to Toronto in 1948 to pursue an education. He received a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto and went into business, founding a string of successful companies and making a name for himself as an entrepreneur. In 1983, he began what would become his signature venture by purchasing two small gold mines in Ontario and Quebec to pivot his oil and gas enterprise, Barrick Resources, into a company focused exclusively on gold mining.

His influence continued to guide Barrick as it became a global mining company. “Barrick’s meteoric rise stemmed from its values, which were direct expressions of Peter’s character: a deep commitment to partnership, a balance of boldness and prudence, and distinctive excellence in everything the company does,” said John Thornton, Barrick’s executive chairman since 2012, in a reflection on the company’s website. Alan Hill, executive chairman of Teranga Gold, worked with Munk at Barrick from 1983 to 2003. He said Munk’s entrepreneurial spirit was an important aspect of the company’s growth. To illustrate Munk’s approach, Hill recalled a story from his time working with Barrick when Munk visited the company’s Goldstrike mine in Nevada. Munk gathered the entire team together and described how every person at the site contributed to the company by doing well at their job. “He involved every single person and made them all feel equally responsible in growing the company and creating wealth,” Hill said. “That’s what he was about: creating wealth. He wanted to spread wealth around the community and through the investment community,” Hill added. “Wealth that meant the local communities would thrive, and

employees would have more security in their livelihoods; wealth that would be good for investors. For him that all stemmed from everyone at the company doing well at their job.” As a philanthropist, Munk contributed nearly $300 million over his life to several causes and institutions. In 1997, he and his wife Melanie founded the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) at the Toronto General Hospital. Over the next 20 years he continued to invest in the centre, culminating in a $100million gift in September 2017. “He gave back a staggering amount,” said Barry Rubin, the PMCC’s medical director. “He frequently told me that money was made to be given back. “His contributions have saved the lives and impacted the health of millions of people, and he’s truly changed the way people with heart and blood vessel disease are managed.” Rubin said Munk was happiest when he met someone on the street or in the hospital who recognized him and shared a story of how the PMCC had saved their life or that of a family member. Rubin also remembered Munk’s courteousness. “Whether he was saying hello to the janitor or the CEO, it didn’t matter, Peter would always take his famous fedora off,” he said. Munk also donated nearly $50 million to his alma mater, the University of Toronto, to create the Munk School of Global Affairs. In 2008, he founded the Munk Debates, an influential public policy debate series. Munk received honorary doctorates from the University of Toronto, Concordia University, Bishop’s University and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Last year, he was among 18 global business leader included on the New York Stock Exchange Wall of Innovators. Munk is survived by his wife Melanie and five children, Anthony, Nina, MarcDavid, Natalie and Cheyne. CIM May • Mai 2018 | 23


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First Quantum hit with multi-billion dollar tax bill First Quantum refuted claims from the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) that the company had an outstanding tax bill of roughly US$8 billion. The claim, made in late March, originates from US$540 million of equipment brought in by First Quantum between 2012 and 2017 for its Sentinel copper mine that the ZRA says were miscoded, resulting in underpaid import taxes. The majority of the bill comes from a resulting US$5.7 billion in interest and US$2.1 billion in penalties. In a statement released by First Quantum on March 20, the Vancouver-based miner said it “unequivocally refute[s] the assessment, which does not appear to have any discernable basis of calculation.” In a conference call with investors, CEO Philip Pascall said First Quantum will assign a team to thoroughly review the more than 23,000 relevant bills of entry, a process he estimated would take four to six months. Pascal acknowledged there may have been miscoded imports but was confounded by the size of the bill, saying: “The penalty is not reflective of what the penalty might be had someone completed a full review and ended up with a difference of any description.” Pascal added that the ZRA already approves the assessment and duty payable on every imported item. First Quantum’s Zambia operations – the Sentinel mine and Kansanshi mine, the largest copper mine in Africa – account for 84 per cent of its total revenue. – Jordan Faries

Hecla acquires Klondex Mines Hecla Mining is acquiring three high-grade Nevada gold mines as part of a deal to purchase Klondex Mines. The total acquisition, announced March 19, is worth US$462 million in cash and stock shares. Klondex’s Fire Creek, Midas and Hollister mines are the prized assets changing hands as part of a 110-square-mile land package. The three underground, narrow vein mines are located along some of Nevada’s prolific gold trends, with Fire Creek consistently ranking as one of the highest-grade gold mines in the world. Hecla has estimated the transaction will add 162,000 gold equivalent ounces to its annual production. In a press release, Phillips Baker, Hecla’s president and CEO, called the opportunity to acquire significant land in the gold fields of northern Nevada “very rare.” “We see significant opportunity to improve costs, throughput and recoveries over time with our expertise,” Baker added. Hecla will also launch “significant” exploration efforts at Fire Creek and at the prospective Hatter Graben discovery at Hollister. The transaction is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals and is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

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FROM THE WIRE Iamgold opened a hybrid solar-thermal plant at its Essakane gold mine in Burkina Faso in March that the company says is the largest of its kind in the world. The hybrid plant is comprised of two elements: a 15-megawatt peak solar plant that is one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa, and the mine’s existing heavy fuel oil power plant, which currently provides 57 megawatts of power. The solar plant, which took 10 months to build, will reduce the mine’s fuel consumption by about six million litres per year and its annual carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 16,800 tonnes. In the same month, the company released the first Mineral Resource estimate for its Monster Lake project, located southwest of Chibougamau, Quebec. The project has an Inferred Resource of 1,109,700 tonnes at an average of 12.14 grams per tonne (g/t) gold. Monster Lake is a joint venture between Iamgold (50 per cent), TomaGold Corporation (45 per cent) and Quinto Resources (five per cent). In March, Teck Resources reduced its first quarter coal sales volumes to six million tonnes, down from previous estimates of 6.3 to 6.5 million tonnes, after repairs to the coal dryer at its Elkview operations caused an almost twomonth halt in production. The shutdown resulted in the loss of about 200,000 tonnes of clean coal production. The coal-drying facility was shut down on Jan. 18 following an explosion. Operations resumed in March. Eldorado Gold released the findings of a pre-feasibility study on its Lamaque project in Quebec in March. The study focused on the Triangle deposit, one of three at Lamaque, and found a maiden reserve of about 893,000 ounces of gold at an average grade of 7.3 g/t. This supports a seven-year mine plan and an average annual production of 117,000 ounces of gold, at an all-in sustaining cost of US$717 per ounce. Eldorado said it estimates the capital cost of the project to be US$122 million. Production is slated to begin at the start of 2019.

Klondex shareholders have the option of receiving US$2.47 per share in cash or shares in Hecla. Klondex is keeping its Canadian assets, including the True North mining complex in Manitoba, under the newly formed – Jordan Faries Klondex Canada.

British Columbia to reform Environmental Assessment Act The British Columbia government is forming an advisory committee to review the province’s environmental assessment process. The committee, announced March 7, will make recommendations to create more transparency, advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and protect the environment while supporting economic development, B.C. Minister of Environment George Heyman said in a release. Heyman called for a “transparent, science-based approach� to improve the current environmental assessment process. The 12-person committee – which includes Edie Thome, president and CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration – will produce a discussion paper to recommend changes, which the government expects to

implement in late fall. It will be led by ecologist Bruce Fraser and former Cowichan Tribes chief Lydia Hwitsum. The current Environmental Assessment Act, enacted in 2002, has faced public criticism and scrutiny in the wake of controversial events such as the Shawnigan Lake contaminated soil dump. In a January paper, the West Coast Environmental Law called reform “welcome and sorely needed� and highlighted notable weaknesses, including the lack of a big-picture perspective in the current process, resulting in harmful cumulative effects to the environment. This echoes a 2010 report from the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria, which noted several areas for potential improvement. These included reconsidering the threshold at which an environmental assessment becomes necessary, introducing accountability mechanisms and a dispute resolution process, and improving opportunities for public engagement throughout the assessment process. Close to 70 per cent of environmental assessments processed in B.C. come from the mining industry, according to Bryan Cox, president and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC). Cox told CIM Magazine he is looking for a process that will provide “clarity, consistency and coordination,�

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26 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3


developments

efforts to develop energy and mining projects in an environmentally sustainable way, to host regional workshops and hold government-to-government meetings with First Nations that include industry, environmental NGOs and other representatives. “This will also contribute to our government’s commitment to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” Heyman said. “We’ll be working with Indigenous groups at every step of the revitalization process.” The committee will put together a discussion paper by May, which will be available for public comments in June. – Jordan Faries

Courtesy of Titanium Corporation

highlighting a need to keep investments coming into the province at a time when global capital is mobile and B.C.’s main commodities – including copper and steelmaking coal – are in high demand. Regarding projects already undergoing the environmental assessment process, Cox said it was “essential” that they be treated consistently through the process, even as new legislation is introduced. Alongside the committee’s review, the province’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) is working with the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC), a nonprofit organization that supports First Nations’

Titanium Corporation’s Creating Value from Waste demonstration pilot plant in Alberta’s oil sands.

One operation’s trash Canadian Natural Resources and Titanium Corporation advance project to extract titanium from oil sands tailings By Sarah Treleaven

Oil sands mining giant Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) is working in tandem with a technology development company to shrink its environmental footprint by advancing a project to extract zircon and titanium from what would otherwise be sent out to the tailings pond. The two firms are promoting the technology and partnership as both an environmental win and a way to recover valuable materials.

The project relies on Titanium Corporation’s newly patented Creating Value from Waste (CVW) technology, which Julie Woo, the public affairs lead at CNR, described as “a suite of froth treatment tailings remediation technologies designed to reduce the environmental footprint of tailings and ponds by recovering valuable bitumen, solvents and minerals from tailings streams.”

Newtrax Technologies appointed Larry Clark its chief operating officer in March. Clark will be responsible for global systems and processes, product development, production and digital marketing for the Montreal-based underground mining solutions company. He has more than 35 years of experience in hard rock mining operations, engineering, planning and technology. Eldorado also released an updated technical report on its Skouries project in Greece. The report lists Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves of 157.6 million tonnes at 0.74 g/t and 0.49 per cent copper. The report estimates Skouries will have a 23-year mine life at an average annual production of 140,000 ounces of gold and 67 million pounds of copper, with production from both open pit and underground. Eldorado said the use of dry stacked tailings at Skouries should reduce the project’s footprint by 40 per cent. The estimated capital cost is US$689.2 million. In March, Goldcorp joined a growing list of companies adopting blockchain technology by making the first gold deposit onto Tradewind Market’s VaultChain blockchain. The 3,000ounce deposit is valued at US$4 million and is a milestone for Tradewind, as it represents the first time blockchain technology has been used to record and manage physical precious metals in an institutional setting. Tradewind has said that the current gold market is too slow and has the potential for errors. Six workers were killed at Newmont’s Ahafo mine in Ghana when a roof collapsed inside a surface reclaim facility where workers were placing concrete for the mine’s mill expansion project. Two workers escaped with minor injuries. In response, Newmont temporarily suspended production at its Ahafo and Akyem mines. Production had resumed as of April 12, but the mill expansion project remains suspended during an investigation into the accident, led by the Inspectorate Division of Ghana’s Minerals Commission. Newmont said in a release that it “continues to support the investigation … and to offer its condolences and support to the families of the victims.” Compiled by Jordan Faries

May • Mai 2018 | 27


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developments

“Canadian Natural, along with other oil sands producers, has been formally evaluating Titanium’s technology and its potential application at an oil sands mining operation over the last five years,” said Woo. After years of research and consultation, the plan is coming to fruition. In early April, the global design and engineering firm Stantec received the contract for the front-end engineering design (FEED) of the project. IHC Robbins was also named to engineer the design for the minerals separation process for a commercial-scale facility at CNR’s Horizon oil sands operation near Fort McMurray, Alberta. While the specific design of the plant is still being determined, it will make use of a concentrator facility to intercept froth treatment tailings before they are discharged to ponds. The facility will extract most of the bitumen and solvent in the tailings stream and allow for an increase in the

overall recovery of hydrocarbons. Following this process, a “mineral facility” will separate out useful heavy metals that can then be sold separately. According to Woo, the process will also recover water and offer “cleaner, dryer tailings, improving the reclamation process.” “It’s really a remediation of this particular tailing stream, which is about 10 per cent of the overall tailings,” said Scott Nelson, president and CEO of Titanium. Nelson noted that preventing a deposit of hydrocarbons into these tailing ponds will reduce the methane released into the atmosphere, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and a project’s overall environmental footprint. CVW technology is designed to prevent future hydrocarbon discharge and future methane production, he said, which means that the ponds will gradually stop producing methane as the historical contained hydrocarbons are consumed

and no additional hydrocarbons are added. There are a number of reasons CNR wanted to be the first to partner with Titanium, said Woo, including reducing or eliminating tailings pond emissions, speeding up tailings remediation and recovering materials like bitumen, solvent, zircon, titanium and rare earths from the tailings. Some of those recovered commodities could add up to tens of thousands of tonnes of export materials. Zircon and titanium in particular have wide applications: zircon is used in ceramic production, refractories, catalysts and fibre optics, while titanium is used in everything from airplanes to naval ships. Woo said the FEED study will cost an estimated $10.2 million, $5 million of which is being funded by Emissions Reduction Alberta, $1.5 million by Titanium and up to $3.7 million by CNR. Nelson estimated that the actual

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build stage, slated to begin in 2019, could cost around $400 million. The details of the financing for the project are still being worked out, but Nelson said he expects to rely on a combination of government funding and project financing from banks, as well as the possible sale of equity. Fed-

eral and provincial funds specifically dedicated to new, innovative and sustainable technologies will be particularly relevant, along with the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. Nelson said he is thrilled to move the project forward after years of devel-

opment. “Having spent more than 10 years on this, our company, team, board and shareholders are very excited to get this past the finish line,” said Nelson. “It does good things for the industry, for the province and for the country. It’s a win-win-win, and we need more of these.” CIM

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30 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

Kirkland Lake Gold expanded its fleet of electric vehicles at its Macassa mine in early March, with the addition of Artisan Vehicles’ Z40 40-tonne batterypowered underground haul truck. The Z40 is Artisan’s first-ever batterypowered truck. It was delivered to Macassa just a little over two months after Artisan delivered its A4 batterypowered load-haul-dump (LHD) to Kirkland Lake’s Taylor mine near Matheson, Ontario. Pierre Rocque, Kirkland Lake’s vicepresident of Canadian operations, said there are more electric vehicle equipment purchases to come. “In 2018, we are expecting six more pieces of equipment: three Artisan Z40 trucks and three loaders,” he said. “The intent is to continue to increase the fleet size with battery-equipped vehicles.” According to Artisan, the Z40 has almost twice the peak horsepower of a similar diesel hauler, and generates only one eighth of the heat. The hauler is also the smallest 40-tonne truck on the market, allowing it to operate in spaces meant for smaller trucks, the company said. Kirkland Lake was an early adopter of battery-powered underground equipment, having used electric vehicles at its Macassa mine since 2011, when an expansion of the mine would have “doubled, or at least increased substantially,” the mine’s ventilation requirements, Rocque said. The mine now has 32 electric vehicles, making up 80 per cent of its fleet, from suppliers RDH Mining Equipment (recently


developments

We Are Mining

Mining’s #MeToo movement Me Too Mining draws attention to harassment and sexual violence in mining By Kelsey Rolfe Courtesy of Susan Lomas

acquired by SMT Scharf), Atlas Copco (now Epiroc) and Artisan. Rocque said that since adopting the vehicles, the company had amassed 225,000 hours of operation with them. “That is a solid demonstration that this equipment works,” he said. Other miners have also taken note, with Goldcorp committed to having an all-electric fleet at its Borden project and Glencore doing the same for its Onaping Depth project, both of which are currently in development. The advantages have gone beyond decreasing ventilation requirements. An electric vehicle fleet produces less heat, dust, vibration and noise, which improves the work environment. “We get better productivity,” Rocque said Each piece of equipment comes with three batteries. At any given time, one will be in operation, one will be charging and one will be cooling. An average charge lasts two to four hours. The batteries for the LHDs at Macassa are changed using a crane, but the Z40 will have a different swapping process. Artisan has developed a system for loading and unloading haul truck batteries at the swap station without the need of a crane. Kirkland Lake has had to make changes to the power distribution throughout the mine to accommodate the power needs of battery charging, but no additional infrastructure was needed. There are a few downsides to using electric vehicles, Rocque said. Kirkland Lake’s three suppliers have different requirements for charging, something he compared to the difference between Apple and Microsoft computers. “We would like to have one computer that does everything, and you don’t have to worry about the name tag, but we aren’t there yet,” Rocque said. The cost of electric equipment is also much higher than diesel equipment, Rocque added, and new parts are expensive. But he said that in the long-term, the company is “very confident that we are going to see savings coming from the operation of the – Janice Leuschen equipment itself.”

Independent geological consultant Susan Lomas, pictured working in northern Ontario, started Me Too Mining in February.

Susan Lomas had her first experience with sexual harassment at her first job out of university, working as an underground geologist at a Timmins, Ontario, mine in 1988. She was put in charge of a group of samplers, and it was a hostile relationship. They printed out pornographic pictures and wallpapered them “right over my work area,” Lomas said. “It was so over the top. So I took them down carefully, not wanting that to be a part of the issue.” They put the pictures back up, she took them back down. And then one of the samplers came storming into the geology office. “He was so angry. Saying they were gonna break all my fingers and put my hand in the rock crusher,” she said. “That was the machine that ran right next to my work area. I could hear that thing going every day.” She reported it to the chief geologist, who talked to the samplers. But “there was nothing for-

mal done…they weren’t reassigned. I still had to continue working with them for a good six to eight months after that incident.” Lomas’s own experiences with sexism and sexual harassment over a 30year career in the mining industry, along with seeing news reports in the last year of women who chose to leave the sector after finding it too hostile a work environment, prompted her to start Me Too Mining in February. Lomas, now an independent geological consultant, said the goal of the organization, which she is setting up as a non-profit charity, is to advocate for a culture change to make the industry more welcoming to women. She also wants Me Too Mining, which builds on the #MeToo movement that took off on Twitter last year as a way to draw attention to sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, to start a conversation in this industry. May • Mai 2018 | 31


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Women of her generation, she said, “went into mining, adapted to the culture that was there and just tried to keep moving forward. But I think the mining industry now needs to realize that it’s not women that have to adapt to the culture. The culture has to adapt.” Multiple incidents of sexual harassment in the industry made the news last year. The RCMP charged a man with voyeurism in November in connection with a camera that was found in the women’s washroom at Dominion Diamond’s Ekati diamond mine. A month earlier, a man was fired from the historic Tundra mine, where remediation work is ongoing, after allegedly stealing personal items, including underwear, from the women’s dormitories. Former Cameco employee Kari Lentowicz told the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix in September that she quit working at Cigar Lake after a decade, due to sexist comments and a “boys’ club” that made career advancement difficult for female employees. Lomas said she also wants to see more training around harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace, and clearer reporting options for women. “I’ve worked for companies that had a great harassment policy, apparently. But we never heard about it,” she said. “We were never educated on it, or given the definitions of these behaviours.” Women sharing stories through the #MeToo movement have related instances of workplace sexual harassment and assault. While there is little information available about the scale of the problem in mining, recent research is cause for alarm about workplace sexual harassment in general. A 2017 Government of Canada report on workplace harassment and sexual violence found that of respondents to an online survey, 60 per cent had experienced harassment of a non-sexual nature and 30 per cent had experienced sexual harassment. Twenty-one per cent of respondents reported experiencing violence in the workplace, and three per cent reported sexual violence. Lomas hopes Me Too Mining can come up with an “ideal policy for companies to adopt,” that would involve clarity about what the process for reporting harassment is, who is involved, and contingency plans for if they are reporting their direct supervisor, or a company officer or board director. Some mining companies have elected to create in-house or use third-party whistleblower lines for reporting harassment, as well as other concerns like unsafe work environments. Royston Colbourne, vice-president of Xpera Risk Solutions, which sets up a third-party “confidence line” for companies and has clients in the mining and oil and gas industries, said the appeal is allowing someone to report inappropriate behavior while remaining anonymous, without fear of retaliation for speaking out. “From an individual’s perspective, it enables them to tackle an issue that they might not be confident to do faceto-face with their manager,” Colbourne said. “For management, it allows them to tackle issues they might not have known were problems.”

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developments

Colbourne said complaints submitted to the confidence line are passed on to a person designated by the company, like an HR manager, to look into, with anonymous identifications attached, allowing the complainants to remain anonymous as long as they choose while providing further information. “What the employer seeks to do is build up enough confidence in the individual” to get them to discuss the issue in person. “Many people do break the cover of anonymity,

and the company gets the opportunity to address the issue,” he said. Since the #MeToo movement began last year, Colbourne said Xpera has seen more companies coming forward to set up confidence lines specifically to address potential problems of sexual harassment. While mining is not as high-profile an industry as Hollywood and media, Lomas said she thinks the sector is ready for its #MeToo moment. “I think

if there is a time, it is now,” she said. But she also pointed out that with women making up less than 20 per cent of the Canadian mining industry speaking out remains difficult. “There’s still a lot of fear about telling those stories. I know I was really uncomfortable at first. It’s a very hard thing to do.” But she said outing specific harassers is not the goal. “We want to attack what the policies are,” she said. “That’s where we can have an impact.” CIM

NORCAT unveils new virtual and augmented reality training programs

At the 2018 PDAC convention in March, NORCAT offered live demonstrations of new technology and training methods the organization is in the process of rolling out. One program uses virtual reality (VR) to display a mine site, allowing a new worker or contractor to get a full site tour along with a comprehensive explanation of elements of the mine,

including risks and hazards, in little more than an hour. Another is an augmented reality (AR) firefighting simulator, in which a tablet, connected to a fire extinguisher, imposes a virtual blaze on a real-world setting for the user to put out. NORCAT CEO Don Duval said the simulator would give workers valuable experience in “high-risk situ-

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developments

for new skills and competencies within workers,” said Duval. While Duval called AR and VR training programs “exciting,” he stressed that NORCAT views them as just another medium for reaching specific training goals, alongside traditional methods such as classroom settings, online courses and hands-on learning. “The most important part is working with a client to get the pedagogical elements correct, and understanding the content and curriculum, and then a discussion can happen around what the right medium is to distribute that content,” Duval said. NORCAT is in constant discussions with mining companies to develop its programs and identify places to use its new AR and VR capabilities, Duval – Jordan Faries said.

All photos by Voltaic Photographie S.E.N.C.

NORCAT’s newest program teaches the fundamentals of teleremote and autonomous vehicle operation.

ations” where quick, smart decisions are key. Duval said that AR and VR are best used to “help achieve desired learning outcomes and knowledge retention” and offer a “high level of engagement” with workers. Duval said NORCAT wants to explore what AR and VR can offer as a learning tool, as well as which new technologies currently being introduced on mining sites will require additional personnel training. As an example, he cited NORCAT’s newest program, which teaches the fundamentals of teleremote and autonomous vehicle operation. “Our approach is that the world of work is changing so quickly in the mining industry and the adoption of new technologies is driving the desire

Left to right: The winning team from the University of Alberta; a Queen's University student takes part in the jackleg drilling competition; the McGill University team at the bubble soccer event

University of Alberta wins 2018 Canadian Mining Games The University of Alberta took home the first place trophy at this year’s Canadian Mining Games, hosted by Queen’s University in February. McGill University won second place and the University of British Columbia came in third. Over a hundred of the top mining students from around the country descended on the Kingston Marriott for the 28th annual games. Each year at the event, teams are challenged with practical and academic competitions in all facets of the industry, including mine design, mineral identification and mine rescue. While the competition categories remain the same each year, the challenges differ based on who sponsors the event. For example, this year Suncor sponsored the mineral identification challenge and designed a non-traditional challenge with an oil sands angle. The organizing committee also took advantage of Queen’s University’s Alan Bauer Explosives Laboratory, located about 50 kilometres north of Kingston, to host the equipmenthandling event and the jackleg competition. The competition is as much about having fun and networking as it is about mining. Social events were planned for each night of the week, including karaoke at Tir Nan Og bar in downtown Kingston and dinner at the Harbour Restaurant on the banks of Lake Ontario. Sandra Ranson, co-chair for this year’s games, said the organizing committee made an effort to show off local Kingston products and venues when planning the event. “Mining Games is one of the best things I’ve even been to,” said co-chair Pierre Lauzier, “the recruiting part of it, the networking part of it, just the fun times, being able to network with schools.” Lauzier graduated from Queen’s University last year but has been involved with the games for the past four years and now works as a junior engineer at Goldcorp’s Éléonore mine. “A lot of the guys I met at the games, I now work with,” he said. “Three or four of the interns I’ve had in the last year and a half are all here.” – Tom DiNardo and Lenie Lucci May • Mai 2018 | 37


Courtesy of Alicia Woods

Fuel Multimedia

Her experience, shared by many other women in the traditionally maledominated mining industry, led Woods to create Covergalls, which makes personal protective gear designed specifically for women. They feature a rear trapdoor for easier bathroom breaks and, Woods, far right, poses with Vale without extra material employees Carol Walton, Samantha hanging in the crotch and Espley and Theresa Nyabeze in armpits, they are much Covergalls workwear. safer for women to wear on-site in multiple industries. Since it publicly launched in 2014, Covergalls has expanded into an online store and is worn by female workers at Vale, Goldcorp, BC Hydro, New Gold and more. “Women actually feel now that they’re included,” Woods said. “If you’re wearing clothing that is designed and made for you, you actually feel like you’re part of that industry. We’ve been working so hard to diversify our workforce yet we’re still making women wear men’s workwear.” Covergalls began with Woods taking her men’s size small coveralls to a local seamstress and showing the result to a few female colleagues. “Immediately, the reaction was, ‘Can you make me a pair?’” she said. She produced a few more for women to try and then got Vale to do a nearly yearlong trial run for about half a dozen female workers. With some modifications along the way, Vale approved Covergalls for use, giving Woods the fuel she needed to go to market. She publicly launched the company on Dragon’s Den in October 2014, where she secured the backing of business tycoon Michael Wekerle. Woods returned to the show in the season finale featuring Vale’s trial run and seal of approval, which further impressed Wekerle, boosted sales and “gave us unexpected exposure to many industries, new distributors and major customers,” Woods said. Now, “it’s almost like we’re doubling every year,” said Woods, who did not discuss numbers as Covergalls is a private company. “I love my role with Marcotte and Covergalls and l have strong teams and an incredible support system surrounding me, so I plan on continuing with both.” Glen Duffy, superintendent of safety at Vale, said the company was looking for coveralls for its female workers a few years ago and could not find much. “We had heard a concern from our female workers around clothing that didn’t properly fit them and clothing that wasn’t available for them,” he said. That’s when Woods reached out and told them about Covergalls. “It’s been very positive for our female workers that use that style of garment,” Duffy said. “We got them involved in the process to help us make sure that what we were getting them was the right PPE and it fit properly and it was designed for them.” Vale formally rolled out Covergalls for its workforce in late 2015 to early 2016, following the trial run. “It’s part of our commitment to our workers to provide them with what’s required to do their job safely,” Duffy said.

Clothing as culture

Covergalls founder Alicia Woods wants women to feel they belong in the industry. By Sahar Fatima

he moment Alicia Woods had been avoiding for her 10 years in the mining industry was finally upon her. She was underground and she had to use the bathroom. Her protective coveralls, designed for male bodies, made the task so unpleasant and cumbersome that for a decade, she drank nothing on days she knew she had to go down into a mine. That day in 2011, Woods, then an account manager at MacLean Engineering, had been working at a dry and dusty Saskatchewan site, chugging water like someone with access to more than a doorless porta-potty. “You have to take everything off, it’s a nightmare,” said Woods, now general manager at Marcotte Mining Machinery Services. She’d tried for years to find women’s coveralls but all that was available was a men’s size small. “I came home and said, ‘That’s it. I’m making my own pair.’”

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May • Mai 2018 | 39


we are mining

Woods said feedback from women has confirmed what she already knew was so important. One story that stuck with her was of three young female workers with the Ontario government who were asked to wear protective gear while touring the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology safety training centre in Sudbury. The young women were given coveralls donated by Woods’ company. “They said up until that moment, they didn’t feel like they were meant to be there. But the second they put on garments that were actually made for them, that fit them well, in which they felt comfortable and safe, they immediately felt that they were supposed to be there that day,” Woods said, adding that they made a special trip to a talk she was giving just to tell her. Making women feel included and attracted to the mining industry is something Woods hopes to work on even in her daily working life as GM at Marcotte. “When females see other females in these roles, it makes them think that they could be that one day. It’s something to look forward to and kind of builds that confidence,” Woods said. Marcotte, which designs and manufactures underground mining equipment, was started in 1979 by Woods’ grandfather, father and uncle. Her father, Paul Marcotte, became president of the company shortly before his death in 1992, when Woods was just 13, and she always dreamed of filling his shoes

one day. She started working part time at the company in 2000, doing administrative tasks while going to night school to eventually become a teacher, but just three weeks later she was asked to join full time, and worked her way up from there. “I knew I had to work three times as hard, being a woman, but I think once I proved myself, you kind of gain the respect of your colleagues,” Woods said, adding that Marcotte has been a supportive environment for women like herself. Now, Woods is trying to share the support, focusing on educating people and companies on why it is important to have women’s coveralls for safety and inclusion. “The mining industry offers so many opportunities, so to make women feel a part of it is exciting,” Woods said. “We want to look to attract and retain more women and this is just one of the steps to get there.” CIM

We Are Mining

Throughout 2018 CIM Magazine will feature the stories and experiences of women, Indigenous people and people of colour working in the mining industry. Do you have an idea for a story we should report? Reach out: krolfe@cim.org

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May • Mai 2018 | 41


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It’s time to classify waste By Ljiljana Josic and Lawrence Devon Smith

ine waste materials – both from mines and mineral processing plants – and their environmental and social impacts are under increasing scrutiny. The cost of managing this waste is growing, legislation and engineering study requirements are rising and permitting schedules are getting longer. All these factors have a significant impact on mining decisions, and we should prepare for a future in which public disclosure of mine waste materials will be required. One of the most helpful contributions to mining practice in recent years has been the standardization of a classification system for Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves. It has given us a clear, universal language with which to convey complex concepts about mineral material. With the rising profile of mine waste and waste treatment, it is now time to establish a standardized classification system for mine waste materials. Currently, all waste is lumped together. However, not all mine waste rock and tailings produce acid rock drainage

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(ARD), and this material can be separated out, as it does not need to be treated, while other ARD-producing rock or tailings can be highly reactive and require a great deal of attention. This has implications for permitting, costs and social perception. We need a way to identify these differences and to convey them, both among ourselves in the industry and for the public disclosure that is inevitably coming. We propose a simple waste classification code (numbered 0 to 3) that could be applied to any waste material. The four waste codes would entail the following: Code 0: The waste material is neutral for ARD and/or contains no deleterious materials. (Note that this material could be ARD suppressing.) Some Code 0 material may have commercial value, such as coarse or fine aggregates, landscaping stone, ARD-suppression material, etc.

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column Code 1: The waste material is below the legislated threshold levels for ARD and/or deleterious materials (note that thresholds will vary by jurisdiction). Code 2: The waste material exceeds the legislated threshold levels for ARD and/or deleterious materials and requires a reasonable level of treatment.

Code 3: The waste material greatly exceeds the legislated threshold levels for ARD and/or deleterious materials and requires an aggressive and prolonged level of treatment. A Qualified Person (QP), as defined in NI 43-101, would make the determination between Codes 2 and 3.

Table 1: Mine and Process Waste Classification System

WASTE CLASSIFICATION -- CHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF MINE WASTE Waste Code Category/Item

0

1

2

3

Neutral

Low Risk

Intermediate Risk

High Risk

Acid rock drainage (ARD, can be mined rock or processing waste)

Non-acid generating

Neutralization Potential Ratio (NPR) >2

NPR = 1-2

NPR < 1

Penalty elements (can include arsenic, mercury, lead, antimony, uranium and asbestos, among others)

No penalty elements

No penalty element exceeds threshold limit

One or more exceeds threshold in the low concentration

One or more exceeds threshold in high concentration

Processing chemicals (can include cyanide, phenols, mercury and flotation agents)

No processing chemicals present

No processing chemical exceeds threshold limit

One or more exceeds threshold in the low concentration

One or more exceeds threshold in high concentration

Comments

May have some commercial value

Threshold limits will vary by jurisdiction

QP determines "low" concentration limit

QP determines "high" concentration limit

Note: NPR is adopted from Price, W.A. “Acid Base Accounting Criteria Used in Prediction of Drainage Chemistry.” International Mine Water Association [IMWA] 2010 Symposium, Sydney, Nova Scotia: September 5-9, 2010

The proposed classification system is illustrated in the table. For the purposes of discussion, the table presents the three broad categories for waste materials: ARD potential; penalty elements in mine waste rock; and chemical substances in processing waste products, such as tailings and residues. However, the list of waste materials can be as detailed as required to identify specific elements, chemicals or characteristics, such as radioactivity, turbidity, etc. We have proposed this mining and process waste classification system to provide the mining industry with a way of

describing mine and process waste in a clear and straightforward manner, both within the industry and to the public. It is an essential step, and one that we should not delay in putting in place, as communicating these ideas clearly is not only necessary but inevitable. CIM

Ljiljana Josic, P.Eng., is a manager of mine waste management for mining and metallurgy at SNC-Lavalin. Lawrence Devon Smith, P.Eng., is the principal consultant at Lawrence, Devon, Smith & Associates.

You are invited to share comments at editor@cim.org

May • Mai 2018 | 45


Courtesy of Woodgrove Technologies

Courtesy of Woodgrove Technologies

Woodgrove Technologies’ staged flotation reactor (SFR) and direct flotation reactor (DFR) installed at Yamana Gold’s Chapada mine in Brazil

A staged start-up The journey to successful scale-up for Woodgrove Technologies’ innovative three-stage flotation reactor By Virginia Heffernan

n mid-February, Woodgrove Technologies’ co-founders Glenn Dobby and Glenn Kosick (aka the Glenns) hit a new milestone: four pilot plant campaigns operating in four countries in one day. By year-end, the 2017 Canadian Mineral Processors of the Year award winners aim to have revenues in the nine digits and a staff of nearly 80, up from eight employees just two years ago. With an eagerness to innovate that is as fervent today as when they first started to collaborate 30 years ago, Dobby and Kosick possess deep insight into the industry’s processing needs and the juggling skills required to develop technologies while simultaneously managing a rapidly growing company. “It’s all about identifying and presenting the need in such a way that the client can recognize it, and then coming up with

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46 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

the financial justification for change,” said Kosick, who founded the flotation equipment and consulting firm MinnovEX in 1988 after working as an engineer at Cominco’s Polaris lead-zinc mine in the Arctic. “You do it step by step so that risk is managed. In the end, if you can’t sell the technology, then the need is not great enough.”

Calculated risk Woodgrove’s breakthrough technology, the staged flotation reactor (SFR), is a case in point. As long as they have been working together (Dobby left his job as an engineering professor at the University of Toronto to join MinnovEX in 1993), the Glenns have been bothered by the limitations of flotation, such as its large footprint and inefficient particle collection. So a few years after selling MinnovEX to SGS in 2005, Dobby


innovation

approached Kosick with a proposal to separate flotation’s three phases so they could iron out the bugs within each one. Working out of a garage and with their own money, they began building a machine that optimized the phases of particle collection, bubble separation and froth recovery. The result was the SFR, a flotation cell that reduces operating costs, power consumption, and floor space by up to 50 per cent, and cuts air consumption even more. Around the same time, Anaconda Mining needed help with its concentrator at the Pine Cove gold mine in Baie Verte, Newfoundland. Instead of merely offering advice, the Glenns bought shares in the company and took seats on the board of Anaconda so they could pilot test their SFR prototype as part of the new grinding and flotation circuit they would build on a shoestring budget. The results were encouraging, leading Woodgrove to build a full-scale SFR unit, still operating today, that provides the fourth stage of a four-cell rougher flotation plant at Pine Cove. They went on to prove the concept on a larger scale at the Chelopech copper-gold mine in Bulgaria, where owner Dundee Precious Metals was keen to try out new technology, first testing the SFR as the second cleaner in the copper circuit, later replacing both the third and fourth cleaner sections, and finally building a greenfield circuit that recovered gold-bearing pyrite in the copper circuit tailings in 2014.

But does it scale? Despite the company’s early successes, Woodgrove had yet to convince the majors that it could scale up SFR technology by the 100 to 200 orders of magnitude needed to tackle large mine operations. “We’d been talking to a lot of companies and one of them said, ‘You guys have a plant in Newfoundland that is operating at 50 tonnes per hour and you are installing a plant in Bulgaria at 100 tonnes per hour. What I need is one that runs at 1,000 tonnes per hour and I need it today,’” said Dobby. The solution was to establish a consortium to test the technology, posing limited individual risk in exchange for potentially large rewards. During the industry downturn of 2012, Toronto-based Woodgrove convinced nine majors to join the consortium, with Vale as the lead company hosting SFR flotation cells at its Sossego copper mine in Brazil. “We knew there was something wrong with conventional flotation as it exists and that we had the solution,” said Dobby. “And we knew we could provide a major reduction in capital and operating costs. Our timing was good because costs were going through the roof and projects were being shut down as a result. The industry knew it had to do better.” While the SFR plant at Sossego was proving its worth, the Glenns built a portable pilot plant they could take to other mine sites as a metallurgical evaluation tool against existing

May • Mai 2018 | 47


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innovation

operations. It was not all smooth sailing – they almost failed at BHP’s Spence copper project in Chile’s Atacama Desert until they experimented with turning the washwater on in the roughing circuits to disperse the clays interfering with flotation – but they eventually succeeded in proving up the technology on a large commercial scale. “BHP shook us by the ankles with their due diligence,” said Kosick. “But we ended up meeting their expectations in metallurgical performance and that had a huge impact on our company.” By the fall of 2017, Woodgrove had signed a contract to supply 78 SFR cells to Spence as part of BHP’s US$2.5billion expansion that will extend the mine’s life by 20 years. Kosick and Dobby said they believe establishing the consortium was key to their success; it spread out the risk of testing a new technology, allowed SFR to reach large-scale commercial status in a single year instead of five or ten years, and provided some reassurance to process engineers at geographically diverse mining operations who had the opportunity to collaborate and share their findings during the test phase. In 2016, Woodgrove merged with Portage Technologies – run by former MinnovEX colleague Michael Schaffer – to provide advanced process control for flotation circuits, as well as all other unit operations of mineral processing. The merger allowed Woodgrove to provide a complete flotation package

from design to commissioning and control from its offices in Canada, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and South Africa. But as successful and widely adopted as SFR technology has become, the Glenns say what they are working on now – “direct flotation” – could be another step change. They contend the innovation will revolutionize the industry by removing the chemically complex froth layer – where the bubbles attached to the valuable particles often burst and lose their payload – from the flowsheet. Woodgrove is piloting the technology and has already built its first commercial unit in Brazil. “We are capturing the bubbles before they become froth,” said Dobby. “We believe the flotation plant of the future will look more like a chemical processing plant and the atmosphere will be better because there will be fewer off-gases.” Woodgrove has taken on the global flotation sector and is still very much on its feet, thanks in large part to the drive and dedication of its co-founders. For Kosick, he said the necessary perseverance that has allowed him to develop innovative technology solutions today was cultivated early in his career at Polaris, where a 10-week-on/two-week-off rotation with 12-hour days tested the limits of even the toughest miners. “There are some people out there who are resistant to change, so you just have to put your head down and push through the barriers.” CIM

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Courtesy of the Saskatchewan Research Council

One size doesn’t fit all Saskatchewan Research Council cleans up abandoned uranium mines By Kylie Williams

An aerial view of two stainless steel caps at the Rix Leonard legacy mine site

perations at the Gunnar uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan stopped abruptly in 1964 with little to no decommissioning. The miners simply stopped work and walked away. Over the previous decade, the open pit and underground workings yielded tonnes of uranium ore that was refined on site and shipped to the United States. When the workers abandoned the site, they left behind an open pit over 100 metres deep, the mill, two acid plants and uranium processing buildings, and over six million tonnes of tailings and waste rock, as well as dozens of portals to underground workings. Fifty years later, the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy launched Project CLEANS (Cleanup of Abandoned Northern Sites) to remediate the Gunnar mine and mill, along with the nearby Lorado mill, which processed uranium from surrounding sites, and 35 smaller satellite mine sites without tailings. The project is cofunded by the provincial and federal governments, which in 2006 hired the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to manage it. One challenge has been finding cost-effective and logistically feasible methods for locating and closing off access to the underground workings, the results of which could become the model for many other such reclamation projects in Canada.

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The first step to remediation The task of mapping the satellite sites fell to geoscientist Patty Ogilvie-Evans. She plays the role of detective on SRC’s Environmental Remediation team, recreating what happened at the old mine sites using a combination of archived files, newspaper reports from the 1950s and 1960s, and historic underground plans, paired with modern technology such as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), to create 3D models of the subsurface. “It’s important to understand what happened underground, so we can get a better idea of any risks on the surface,” said Ogilvie-Evans. “When you’re working with 35 sites, you come to see that each one has its own story. It’s interesting trying to figure out the intricacies of each site, which vary greatly.” 50 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

The big breakthrough Once identified, a plan is made to seal each opening, based on its shape, orientation and location. Bulkheads made of highquality concrete are typically used to close mines in Saskatchewan and are the approved mine closure method prescribed in provincial mine regulations. However, due to the short field season and difficulty of transporting concrete materials and mixing equipment to Gunnar’s remote northern Saskatchewan location, SRC was granted an exception to use alternative materials. SRC considered aluminum, steel and galvanized steel, but eventually decided on stainless steel covers as the ideal choice, a solution first suggested by Kevin Lewandowski, a local contractor in Uranium City, and previously implemented by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment (previously Saskatchewan Northern Affairs) in 2005 at the Cinch Lake/Cenex mine satellite site. “The use of stainless steel provides a long-term closure solution, reduces the risk to public safety and can be fabricated and then installed at site,” said Ian Wilson, business unit manager in the Environmental Remediation department at SRC. “It is a protected closure to prevent public entrance, either inadvertently or advertently, into the abandoned mines and to also prevent animals from potentially falling in or getting stuck.” Stainless steel is durable, cost-effective, relatively easy to transport to site and able to withstand forest fires. SRC estimates the average installed cost of stainless steel caps around Uranium City is about $3,500 per square metre of cap (the cost varies according to the specific site condition). A life-cycle cost analysis carried out by SRC showed that stainless steel caps were less costly than the concrete alternatives. With 25 unique, form-fitted stainless steel caps installed by the CLEANS project so far, SRC has refined the process of assessing, designing, fitting and installing the stainless steel covers. “First, we remove all the overburden and vegetation and clear the site down to bedrock,” explained David Sanscartier, project engineer for environmental remediation at SRC. “Structural engineers then survey the opening, recording hundreds or


closure & reclamation

thousands of data points around the opening that they use to create a 3D model of the surrounding bedrock topography. Then, they use the model to design the best and closest-fitting cap possible.” Each cap is like a bridge, Sanscartier said, with supports underneath and plates welded on top. The caps are transported from a fabrication shop in Saskatoon via an ice road, which is only open in March. Each section is two to three metres long, sized to fit on the ice road trucks. Most of the welding occurs in the shop, but on site the sheets are welded to the frame and to each other, and rock-bolts are used to anchor the cap in place.

Alternative closure methods Stainless steel caps are not suitable for every opening, and SRC has adopted the Utah Natural Resources Backfill Method for 16 satellite sites so far. The method, which uses waste rock to backfill adits, is the ideal option for extremely remote, inaccessible open mine workings on relatively flat ground. However, in one case in which the incline was too great, a boulder closure was required. “A boulder closure was first used in 2017 at our National Exploration Pat Claim mine site to help us deal with an opening that occurred from the mining of the deposit to surface,” said Ogilvie-Evans. “This stope opening had previously been backfilled but showed signs of slumping over time. In spring 2017, we sent our plans to the regulators for approval to close this opening using large boulders on site to block the opening and to reduce the risk to public safety by preventing access by people or animals.” At a further eight locations, SRC has used polyurethane foam plugs as a “quick fix” solution to prevent inadvertent access to some underground openings. The foam is easy to use and provides a barrier to temporarily close these risky areas, said Sanscartier. SRC is also currently investigating the use of fencing at certain sites where potentially unstable thin crown pillars – the mass of rock left behind to support the “roof” of the mine – are immediately below the surface. “We’ve identified areas with thin crown pillars that are at risk of collapse from the 3D models we generated using historical records from the Saskatchewan Mineral Assessment Database and LiDAR surface surveys,” said Ogilvie-Evans. “They may not be openings right now, but in the future, they could collapse.” Based on the corrosion rate of stainless steel, SRC expects that the stainless steel closures deployed at the sites will last 100 years or more, said Sanscartier, and the waste rock could last hundreds of years. The lifespan of the foam closures is not well understood yet, but based on similar uses in the United States, they could last for 20 to 30 years if covered by dirt and not exposed to the sun or forest fires. The fences will last 25 years or more.

sites to Saskatchewan’s Institutional Control Program. SRC is sharing what they have learned about using the stainless steel caps with other companies and jurisdictions, and presented the method at the 2015 Mine Closure conference in Vancouver. Neighbouring Cameco has successfully installed 12 stainless steel covers and expects to install another nine caps over the next two years at the decommissioned Beaverlodge properties the company manages on behalf of the federal government. Following closure of Beaverlodge operations in 1982, historic mine openings were decommissioned and secured with concrete caps. To ensure the decommissioned property remained safe for members of the public for the long term, Cameco evaluated a number of options, including the stainless steel caps that SRC had installed. “Considering the remoteness of the project, the design life, the installation process and the available local resources, the stainless steel caps turned out to be the ideal solution,” said senior compliance and licensing specialist Shawn Hiller, who leads the Cameco remediation team and works with a Saskatoon engineering firm and local contractor. SRC also recently assisted the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mining with the procurement process to use stainless steel caps for remote uranium mines in Ontario and are considering using them on other types of mines, due to their durability and resilience. CIM

An idea worth spreading The goal of CLEANS is to reclaim the sites around Uranium City in northern Saskatchewan, with ongoing input from the communities nearby, then hand over monitoring of the reclaimed May • Mai 2018 | 51


MARK YOUR CALENDAR

SYMPOSIUM 2018 • ROUYN-NORANDA MINES AND THE ENVIRONMENT SUR L’ENVIRONNEMENT ET LES MINES

The Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) and the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), invite you to Rouyn-Noranda, Québec, Canada, to attend the Symposium 2018 on Mines and the Environment, from June 17 to 20, 2018.

The Symposium is the result of collaboration between the Research Institute on Mines and Environment (RIME) UQAT-Polytechnique, the Unité de recherche et de service en technologie minérale (URSTM) and many actors governments and mining companies.

The objectives of the Symposium are to share recent knowledge and research developments and to discuss common practices to find solutions that reconcile profitability and environmental protection. SUNDAY, JUNE 17: SHORT COURSES MONDAY, JUNE 18 & TUESDAY, JUNE 19: TRADE SHOW AND TECHNICAL PROGRAM ADDRESSING THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS:

Tailing Management Prediction and Water Treatment Site Restoration and Sustainable Development Responsible Development and Mining Innovation Simultaneous translation will be available from French to English / English to French

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20: SITE TOURS AND MEETING IN SOLUTIONS MODE For more information, contact: Nadia Bakka (CIM): 514-939-2710, 1333, Nbakka@cim.org

Publication: April 2017

Information will be available in the CIM publications and visit our web site for more details at:

ROUYN-NORANDA2018.CIM.ORG


Courtesy of Nicholas Brereton

A remediation idea takes root The growing evidence that willow trees could help clean up contaminated soil By Christopher Pollon

niversité de Montréal plant biologist Nicholas Brereton is preoccupied with the science behind phytoremediation – the way that some plants, like willow trees, can tolerate and even remove heavy metals and hydrocarbons from contaminated sites. CIM Magazine spoke with Brereton about this multidisciplinary endeavour and the revolutionary potential of nature to inexpensively clean up soil and water.

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CIM: How did you get interested in the practical applications of plants? Brereton: I grew up in Stoke-on-Trent, a city near Manchester in the UK. I got my PhD at Imperial College London, where I ran a biomass analytics facility with lots of different crops, like grasses and really fast-growing trees, which got me into looking at willows. Later I worked at Rothamsted Research, the oldest agricultural college in the world. My work there included growing trees in sand, which is a really challenging environment

that helps you understand the basics of what life needs in order to grow.

CIM: How can willow trees help clean up contaminated sites? Brereton: We’ve got vast swathes of brownfield land across North America and the world where nothing grows, and it’s very expensive to clean up. Usually, it’s left as it is. Willows are incredibly tolerant – in numbers they can gobble up a lot of the metal in soil, and sometimes they just immobilize it. You can’t really batter them and they grow incredibly quickly.

CIM: You have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how willows interact with bacteria, fungi and other organisms in their immediate environment to clean up hydrocarbons and heavy metals. What do you think is going on down there? Brereton: We don’t understand most of the chemistry that allows willows to tolerate a lot of these contaminants. About a May • Mai 2018 | 53


fifth of the organisms I have found below ground interacting with the willow roots are unknown to science. We suspect that things like fungi and bacteria in the soil produce chemicals to help degrade hydrocarbons, for example, and along the way exchange and repackage nitrogen into a form that willows can use. In return, the willow gives the fungi sugar.

CIM: So how can willow plantations be put to use on a contaminated site? Brereton: You can get very high yields of these fast-growing trees over the short term on a site. The water uptake of willows is between five and 10 million litres per hectare per year, which is really high. One of my first discoveries was that we can take all this wood and use it to make clean, sustainable bioenergy, including things like bioethanol. Trees are made of 70 per cent sugar, so it’s near pure energy that is there, and sugar is the basic resource for any sort of microbe you want to grow, or for fermentation to make any bioethanol. As well, the plant has evolved very complex chemistry, in which it produces and exudes about 8,000 chemicals, which allows it to manipulate the environment to survive. We can extract some of them to sell – I’m talking about green chemicals like antioxidants and essential oils. What you can do is make a decision to improve the land from an environmental perspective, as well as get green chemicals from it and potentially renewable bioenergy. And for sites that have been brownfields for decades, you are creating green forests as well. So there are a lot of different areas of science there that we’re pulling together.

CIM: You say these are fast-growing plantations. How fast? Brereton: Depending on which kind of willow, they can grow

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to five or six metres tall. So in our field plantations, we aim for 15 tonnes per hectare per year, harvesting every three years. We have a lot of cold-tolerant varieties, which is also quite useful and helpful.

CIM: What is a typical approach taken by a company for using willow plantations on a site? Brereton: There are two different approaches for growing willow plantations on very challenged land, often contaminated by organic hydrocarbons or metals. Much of this land is left fallow because the strategy to clean it up is usually “dig and dump” [digging up contaminated soil and moving it offsite], which is very expensive. So one of the strategies is to grow plantations on this land. The other approach involves dealing with waste water, such as a tailings pond. One of the ways of doing that is to drip feed the tailings through the willow plantation, which will capture almost everything, to be potentially removed at harvest.

CIM: How do you establish a willow plantation on a site? Brereton: We plant cuttings, so it’s just a bit of stem you put in the ground. The stem must then put a canopy out and establish a root system. If the site is really polluted, the hardest


part is that first year. That’s why most of these brownfields have just a little bit of scrub growing. You don’t get forests taking over naturally on any of these brownfield sites or anything too challenged. But if the roots of the willow can get established, you can have such environments, and they will do fine.

CIM: Which plants other than willows are promising for use at remediated sites? Brereton: There are grasses called festuca that can accumulate metals – one of my PhD students is doing an experiment right now with arsenic in water and soil, really battering them and quantifying how much they can uptake. The grass’s internal biology has the capacity to tolerate such high concentrations of metals – it’s 100-fold larger than anything else.

12 Bringing people together for 120 years!

Fashions change,

CIM: Why have things like festuca grass and willow trees evolved to tolerate toxins that most other life cannot? Brereton: A willow growing in really contaminated soil seems to be better

but celebrating

defended against attack by things like aphids and spider mites, which is one of the reasons why they have such high yields. Insects hate all those toxic chemicals. Things like festuca can use metals to be distasteful to the pests that are trying to eat them.

excellence is

CIM: Can you give me an example of a project you’ve been working on? Brereton: We’ve got a project working with the leachate from a landfill, which is one of the most diverse contaminants, with every nasty thing you could imagine in it. We’ve also got a shared project in Shanghai, where something like 95 per cent of the area of the city is above health limits for zinc in the soil. The trial over there is a single hectare of land; it’s only a research plantation. But we have recently received new funding from Quebec and the Chinese government supporting more research, as the potential seems extensive in China, where pollution is a very pressing issue.

always in

style

CIM: I presume there are many different kinds of willows. Are some better than others at specific tasks? Brereton: Yes. There are about 400 different species. But there are different varieties – one genotype might be good for antioxidant production, or for essential oil production, some willows are spectacular for biofuels, and others pick up different contaminants. Some will grow massive, some less so.

CIM: What are the prospects of ramping up the use of willows and other plants to clean up contaminated sites in the future? Brereton: The next big question is how much can we take this forward and really exploit it. Mines currently do a lot of pre-processing or engineering for waste water and mine tailings, which is very costly and expensive, and potentially we don’t have to do this. I don’t see why we can’t replace a lot of the conventional engineering that is currently doing that. But we are still quite ignorant of how it works and need to better understand it. As a scientist, I will always be saying we need to do more research. CIM FURTHER READING Brereton, N. J. B., Berthod, B. Lafleur, K. Pedneault, F. E. Pitre and M. Labrecque. “Extractable Phenolic Yield Variation in Five Cultivars of Mature Short Rotation Coppice Willow from Four Plantations in Quebec.” Industrial Crops and Products 97 (2017): 525–35. Brereton, N. J. B., E. Gonzalez, J. Marleau, W. G. Nissim, M. Labrecque, S. Joly and F. E. Pitre. “Comparative Transcriptomic Approaches Exploring Contamination Stress Tolerance in Salix sp. Reveal the Importance for a Metaorganismal de Novo Assembly Approach for Nonmodel Plants.” Plant Physiology 171 (2016): 3–24.

Dinner at the 30th CIM Annual General Meeting

May • Mai 2018 | 55


IPI Photography

We can achieve more together

Janice Zinck’s goal as 2018-2019 president is to ensure that all members feel a sense of belonging with CIM

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Janice Zinck, CIM’s president for 2018-2019, may not have known what sort of career she would build for herself, but in her enthusiasm for science and her commitment to excellence, she had a solid foundation. Not long after starting with Energy, Mines and Resources, they invested in her future by supporting her Master’s degree in metallurgical engineering. She found the challenges in providing science and technology to support Canada’s mining sector too rewarding to pass up. Now as a director at CanmetMINING, Zinck leads a team of scientists and engineers to develop and deliver innovation strategies to enhance the economic and environmental performance of the sector.

inck has been a member of CIM for more than 25 years and has served on the boards of the Canadian Mineral Processors (CMP), the Metallurgical Society (MetSoc) and the Environmental and Social Responsibility Society (ESRS) of CIM as well as Chair of the Ottawa Branch. Zinck has presented widely on the subject of improving the environmental and economic performance of mine operations as a past CIM Distinguished Lecturer As President during CIM’s 120th anniversary, Zinck aims to uphold the values CIM was founded upon – bringing people together, exchanging knowledge and best practices, and supporting the mining industry. Though technological advancements are changing the way we mine, Zinck said she believes CIM can tackle new challenges facing the mining industry through collaboration among a member base with broad and varied expertise. CIM: What initially interested you in mineral processing? Zinck: In my undergraduate studies, I was always interested in earth sciences. I graduated with degrees in chemistry and geology, and was thrilled when I landed a job at what was then called Energy, Mines and Resources – now Natural Resources Canada. While I didn’t have a formal mineral processing background, I gained experience in the field, which I leveraged in subsequent studies. I then applied my hydrometallurgy degree to a range of different fields. Consistently working in the environment and processing sides of the sector to develop technologies and solutions to challenges facing the mining industry. Now I’m focused on developing two new industries in Canada: rare earth elements and chromite/ferrochrome. CIM: When did you join CIM? Zinck: I joined CIM in the early 1990s after my McGill thesis advisor suggested that I should join. It was the best $10 I ever spent! I became a student member, then went on to be an asso56 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

ciate member and a full member. I got involved and engaged and have been a part of this great community ever since. CIM: What is the significance of a milestone like CIM’s 120th anniversary? Zinck: Maintaining relevance for 120 years is a huge accomplishment for any organization, but especially for a memberbased not-for-profit. That means that you’re still providing quality content. It’s very significant. CIM is at a turning point. A lot is changing in society and at CIM, as we can see while we transition to ‘One CIM’, which is all about embracing its members and working together. We have 10 societies and more than 30 branches, but we’re one organization looking at how we can support the mining sector in Canada and abroad. There is collaboration in the organization between the societies and with the branches. It is very dynamic and positive. Members see the value of being part of one strong, vibrant organization. CIM: You have spent a great deal of your professional career working with mineral and metallurgical processing and environmental management. I’m sure some see those as directly opposed, have you found that to be the case? Zinck: Absolutely not. Much of my work and leadership has been in and around what we call a “green mining approach” and that includes everything through the mining cycle. I definitely believe that processes, technology, techniques and policies can be both beneficial to the environment and cost competitive. Let’s take energy for example. Huge amounts of energy go into crushing, grinding and milling; it’s extremely energy inefficient. So even just small improvements in the comminution circuit will significantly reduce the cost of energy consumption. At the same time, it will improve from the environmental perspective as well. There are lots of great


12

CIM celebrates

years

examples of organizations trying to look at how they can improve their operational performance while employing a greener approach by applying clean technology. CIM: How has CIM taken steps to support the mining industry in its initiatives to be more environmentally conscious in the past? Zinck: It’s making room to ensure that everybody has a voice and is able to contribute. It’s expanded ESRS’ programming and membership, which focuses both on the environment and on the social side of the sector. CIM simply needs to continue developing programming and content that supports greening the industry and highlights best practices. CIM: How will the mining industry and CIM need to adapt moving forward? Zinck: The mining industry is at a crossroads now. More than ever, we’re seeing a change. We’re seeing new technologies coming in, we’re seeing a big transference to artificial intelligence, to data analytics, and the industry needs to step up to that challenge and evolve, and CIM has to be there to support the industry. A lot of that will come from the strong technical content CIM has, but the way that members get and exchange information may need to change and CIM will have to keep pace and be responsive. CIM: What are your goals for your presidency? Zinck: In the last few years previous presidents, in particular Ken Thomas, have done a great job of strengthening the financial side of the organization and growing membership. Now, as we forge ahead, I look forward to working with [CIM Executive Director] Angela Hamlyn and the Presidents Council to bring this organization closer together. For me, it’s about connection, collaboration and community. That’s really going to be my mandate, strengthening those relationships within the organization and then outside the organization. We can achieve more together. Between the dedicated volunteers, the knowledge and talents of our members, and the willingness of people wanting to work towards supporting the mining sector in Canada, this organization can do so much. I can see the changes happening and if I can help facilitate CIM becoming an even more collaborative community, a more integrated and connected sector, then I have achieved my personal objective as President. CIM: What is one of your favourite CIM memories? Zinck: I have many favourites, but one that has notable meaning was being recognized by my CMP family with the first ever Ray MacDonald Volunteer Award. I was completely blown-away by the recognition particularly as the award was named for my long-time mentor and friend Ray MacDonald. At that moment I felt the support of such a strong community. My goal as a CIM President is that every CIM member feels that same sense of belonging. CIM

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May • Mai 2018 | 57


Crisis mode slide to power off

The mining industry has long known about the imminent skills shortage it is facing. Now itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to update the discussion and focus on creative solutions. By Cecilia Keating


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anada’s aging population is sapping its future workforce. Last year the Conference Board of Canada reported that every new job created in a Canadian organization in 2016 had to account for the loss of 1.8 retirees. Mining is no exception. Its looming skills shortage is exacerbated by a pernicious cocktail of factors more specific to the industry. These include the remoteness of many operations, the sector’s economic volatility and its sluggish embrace of diversity. Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) executive director Ryan Montpellier said that when combined, these factors have the potential to be “a recipe for disaster.” MiHR predicts that over the next 10 years, 88,000 new workers will be needed to make up for 50,000 retirement exits, alongside other shortages. And that is just MiHR’s baseline estimate, based on current industry trends and forecasts – in an expansionary economic scenario, the figure reaches 130,000. Despite these bleak figures, Montpellier is confident the industry will address its human resources challenge. And overall industry sentiment is positive. Across Canada, national, international and provincial collaborations have been born out of a collective need to sophisticate, streamline and standardize training approaches, all while harnessing the power of new technology. Experimental career development programs are being rolled out at mine sites like Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank mine in Nunavut and New Gold’s New Afton mine in British Columbia. At other mines, third-party training programs have been implemented to attract underrepresented demographics and develop the local workforce.

Opening the door to new workers

W

omen and immigrants are two huge segments of the population that have traditionally been shut out of mining and remain critically underrepresented. And while the mining industry is the largest private sector employer of Indigenous people, MiHR’s 2014 10-year outlook report revealed that the talent group remains underused and in general limited to entry-level, support and front-line production roles. Moreover, promoting Indigenous careers in mining is sensible, given that they are the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population, bucking the national trend, in which seniors outpace youth. A key part of MiHR’s mandate is to work with industry to identify and entice all sources of labour to mining. One of its programs is the Mining Essentials initiative, which is run in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations and focuses on pre-employment skills for Indigenous communities. It is a win-win scenario, according to Montpellier: Indigenous people are provided with the “foundation skills, the pre-employment skills, the attitude and industry knowledge to enter the industry,” and mines benefit from a skilled local workforce. The self-sustaining program, funded by each individual industry partner and “various pots of Indigenous training funding,” is likely to have a long future, said Montpellier. The Mining Essentials program is always 12 weeks long and includes 12 to 18 participants, but every delivery is “unique and adapted to the needs of the community and the local employer,” said Montpellier. Four deliveries at Goldcorp’s Musselwhite mine between 2015 and 2017 gave participants May • Mai 2018 | 59


the opportunity to gain work experience Schmuhl said that, based on what he “In the past, at a site on a fly-in, fly-out, two-weekshas seen, work experience is crucial to the motto of on, two-weeks-off basis. On the other facilitating immigrants’ entry into industhe mining industry hand, the experience for Métis and nontry. He is currently looking to set up Indigenous students at the École secmore formal partnerships with mines to was you had be able to officially incorporate work ondaire catholique Thériault in Timmins to move out to experience into ETIP. in 2017 was more theoretical, providing move up. While he admitted that setting up students with 240 hours of in-class “curWe want to break work experience programs at companies riculum-based training” on top of 120 can be a logistical challenge and involve hours of “experiential learning opportuthat mould. negotiation, the front-end work pays off. nities.” We want to retain “Once they’ve done one, [companies] Women are the most critically underour employees and move will do multiple,” he said. represented segment of the Canadian them up internally.” Schmuhl is not alone in his advocacy population in the mining industry, makfor a hands-on experiential approach to ing up only 17 per cent of mining’s – P. Prochotsky training. Jill Tsolinas, executive director labour force despite making up over 48 of the B.C. Centre of Training Excelper cent of Canada’s overall labour force. lence in Mining (CTEM), a group that MiHR’s Gender Equity in Mining proworks as a virtual hub for collaborative, gram works with mining companies to innovative training opportunities, said identify the systemic barriers, such as that this “blended learning theory” is policies and procedures, to joining the crucial to keeping training approaches mining industry that women face. Issues identified by the first cohort of participants include not having effective. The issue is particularly pertinent in British a woman on a panel for an interview and gender-specific lan- Columbia, which has an older mining workforce than the rest of Canada. guage in job advertisements. CTEM also strongly advocates for local training for local As part of its work on diversity and inclusion, MiHR provides mining labour market information and resources to jobs. “I call it the green-way approach to building a workimmigrant service agencies across Canada. New immigrants force,” Tsolinas said. “If you don’t train up your local workmake up 21 per cent of the Canadian workforce, but only 14 force, you are going to have to import your expertise.” She added that training local helps mitigate mining’s diversity per cent of the mining workforce. MiHR is not alone in this endeavour; Derrick Schmuhl has problem: “Every community has different demographics. been facilitating new Canadians’ entry into the industry for Some are high in Indigenous individuals, others in skilled decades as the manager for training programs at the Edmon- immigrants. If you are not being proportional to where your ton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN). Schmuhl said community is, then you are restraining your workforce.” the EMCN’s programs have “become more and more relevant as the years have gone on,” given the rising number of immigrants. Despite being able to provide companies with a “wealth of experience, methods and skills,” many immigrant engineers arrive in Canada ill-equipped to enter the job market because their qualification is not recognized, they are not familiar with Canadian workplace culture or they do not know how to find or compete for positions, explained Schmuhl. That was the impetus behind EMCN’s 11-month Engineers’ The Meadowbank model: Inuit involvement iring a local workforce in Canada’s remote and Technologists’ Integration Program (ETIP), which has northern mines involves hiring and training placed many people in mining companies over the 28 years it Indigenous people who may be unfamiliar with has been running, and “at least five in the last two years,” said heavy industry and corporate culture, policy Schmuhl. It is supported by Alberta Human Services and the and procedure. It is crucial, however, given that Association of Science and Engineering Technology Profesit saves on the high cost of outsourcing employees from farsionals of Alberta. Schmuhl said ETIP “helps engineers be engineers again,” off cities – employees who are more likely to defect to mining by providing them with cultural, workplace and business operations closer to their families. Gabriel-Antoine Côté, training coordinator for the communication skills, alongside a Canadian-issued qualification from the Northern Alberta Institution of Technology Meadowbank gold mine in Nunavut, said hiring local goes beyond financial motivations. It is an issue of “respecting (NAIT) and a three-month supported job search.

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60 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3


our commitment of developing the local workforce as we “work-readiness program” all new employees must take. This are mining on their land,” he said. “work-readiness” is delivered off site with the help of commuWhen Meadowbank opened in 2010, it was the only oper- nity partners and includes numeracy, problem-solving and litational mine in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut. The local Inuit eracy skills, alongside information about employers’ unspoken communities had not had exposure to the mining industry for expectations. more than 50 years, let alone entertained the idea of working Those who complete the work-readiness program then at one. Experienced employees were flown in from other complete a five- to seven-day site orientation. They see all the provinces to kick-start operations. different trainee schemes available and spend time shadowing Today, 62 per cent of equipment operators at Meadowbank employees working in their desired career path, while also are Inuit, as is 34 per cent getting a feel for sleeping in a of the overall mine workcamp, eating in a cafeteria and force. While this is still shy working 12-hour shifts. This “We’re trying to be as nimble as we can, and also of the 50 per cent target ensures that workers know stipulated in an agreement what they are getting into, said have a real focus on building the northern between Agnico Eagle and Côté, saving the company workforce… There’s some really good, important the local Inuit association, from abrupt resignations later. conversations happening.” Côté said the number is Agnico Eagle’s commitment “slowly, steadily rising, and does not come cheap. Accord– S. Rowles sustainable.” That is ing to Agnico Eagle, the comthanks in part to the many pany annually invests about $5 other stipulations in the million on training current mine’s Impact and Benefits Agreement. For example, the mine employees, and $280 million on local business procurehas not hired a non-Inuit heavy equipment operator since ment. But Côté said the approach spearheaded at Meadow2012 as a result of its internal career path system, which bank is a “matter of stability,” adding that the hope is that ensures internal promotion. Nunavut operations will eventually be “100 per cent Inuit – In 2012, the company implemented several ladder-like and that includes the mine manager.” “career path” programs to develop the local workforce. Possible career paths include mine operations, road maintenance, process plant operations, drill and blast, and field services, and each is carefully mapped out. When an employee masters one rung, they can start operating in their new skillset position, as well as act as relief operators and be eligible to apply for the next level of training. The career path system was a “huge milestone,” said Côté, because it democratized hiring and training. Employees progress through their desired path based on their compe- The New Afton approach: hire local and train up n Canada’s more populated regions, mining has tency – a move that gave the Inuit workforce a fair chance to face off with other industries for talent. Develtoward upward mobility opportunities. oping the local workforce involves being adapCôté attributes the mine’s success to a flexible attitude in tive to the demands of employees and providing which the particular needs of the local community are carethem with career prospects beyond a mine’s fully listened to and accommodated where possible. For instance, initially there was a problem of no-shows on finite life. This sometimes involves overhauling outdated ideas site during caribou and seal hunting season. “Hunting is their about what miners value. New Gold implemented a hire-local program at its New life. It’s part of their culture and we have to understand and respect that,” said Côté. Because animal migration dates are Afton mine in Kamloops in 2008. The mine “wanted to have unpredictable, Inuit staff could not request the days they people who were engaged with the local community and wanted off far in advance – as stipulated by company policy. wanted to stay here and would be long-term employees,” said To cater to this, management loosened policies around the mine superintendent Peter Prochotsky. The mine benefitted notice period employees could give to get time off. “We keep from its proximity to the populated community of Kamloops, [the notice period] a deliberate grey zone to show we will be and a bank of workers with transferrable skills from working in farming and logging. more flexible,” said Côté. Each employee at New Afton has their own development The average salary at Meadowbank is $107,000, and Inuit employees initially struggled to manage their newfound earn- plan and a supervisor with whom they come up with a quarings. To remedy this, Agnico Eagle ensured that financial lit- terly training schedule. Employees are rotated through differeracy was incorporated into the pre-employment five-day

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May • Mai 2018 | 61


ent positions to ensure they are “continually growing throughout the year,” said Prochotsky. “In the past, the motto of the mining industry was you had to move out to move up. We want to break that mould. We want to retain our employees and move them up internally,” he said. The benefits of this approach are proven by New Afton’s turnover rate of less than five per cent per year and its enviable mine safety record. The operation has won four consecutive John T. Ryan Awards for having the lowest injury frequency rate for metal mines in B.C. and Yukon, five Safest Large Underground Mine Awards for B.C., four provincial Mine Rescue Competitions, and one National Western Regional Mine Rescue Competition Award. Echoing Meadowbank’s Côté, Prochotsky said New Afton’s success is in part due to being attentive to the shifting demands of the mining workforce. “We found that people entering the mining industry now value a work-life balance over total cash compensation,” he said. In 2008, employees voted in a seven-day on-off rotation (and a less generous paypackage) instead of a longer 14-7 on-off rotation. It has remained in place ever since. Prochotsky has been working with CTEM on a project to compile tried and true training approaches in the province into a training guide for new operations. Tsolinas said this type of collaboration and the “virtual hub” that CTEM provides is key, as mining suffers from the lack of a physical location where training efforts can be focused and can thrive.

Technology & training T

echnology and automation are key considerations for future workforce planning. Montpellier said they will have a “significant impact” on the number of employees and the skillsets needed, although he acknowledged that their impact on the labour market is not yet apparent. For example, a shift to driverless haul trucks – as Suncor is preparing to do in Alberta – will mean that there will be less demand for heavy equipment operators and instead a need for people who can “design, program,

62 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

Reaching out to improve within

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conomic downturns and upswings result in widely fluctuating demand for labour. Partnerships across Canada and beyond between industry, government and higher education are ensuring that lingering shortages from periods of inactivity can be quickly remedied, all the while ensuring that in the future, no such gaps will exist. The power of collaboration is also being harnessed in Yukon at the Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining (CNIM). Before the centre opened in 2013, Yukon’s three operating mines were paying nearly “eight million a year between them to fly people in and out of the territory,” according to Shelagh Rowles, the centre’s executive director. The province’s available mining workforce had been sucker-punched by 10 years of inactivity from the late-1990s to the early-2000s. Now, the mining school runs multiple programs that combine classroom, simulator and on-the-job training for local talent. It also has a mobile lab that can be taken to local communities. The CNIM’s governing council, which provides direction on training and helps administer funding, includes senior

“I truly believe in the future, people are going to look back and say, remember those days when we did training without simulators?” – A. Charbonneau

monitor, optimize and maintain the fleet of vehicles,” he said. While technological advances present challenges to workforce training, they also have the potential to positively transform it. Equipment simulators have already shaken up the industry by allowing inexperienced employees to be trained in a controlled and safe environment without interfering with actual operations. At Rio Tinto’s Diavik mine, a 10-foot tall Epiroc (previously Atlas Copco) truck simulator incorporates an exact replica of the mine site – from ramps and

fuel bays to rules, policies and procedures. At New Afton, a simulator trained 120 inexperienced workers over two years before the mine had even opened. (It has now been transported to New Gold’s newer Rainy River operation.) Al Charbonneau, Epiroc’s project manager tester, said he believes simulators are likely to become more “versatile” and will play an increasingly large role in mine training, given their safety benefits. “I truly believe that in the future, people are going to look back and say, ‘Remember those days when we did training without simulators?’”


officials and general managers of the three operating mines in Yukon, First Nations government and provincial government officials, and CNIM faculty. Also central to the work of the advisory council is agreeing to a common standard for Yukon miners. “That’s to say, if we have an underground miner, what is that? What are the components of it? What are you looking for?” said Rowles. Standardization secures future job prospects for miners and safety for employers. Council meetings are also a forum for discussing the industry’s needs. Recently, industry members aired concerns about safety standards for mine driller helpers – an increasingly sought-after role, given growing exploration activity. CNIM hired a trainer with the certification to offer Ontario’s standardized Common Core driller training. Two training sessions have been delivered in the past year, and nine students have graduated. “When you have government, industry and post-secondary together, it’s kind of a magical combination where work can happen,” said Rowles. The school also has an arrangement with the University of Alaska, whereby CNIM underground mining students

spend two 14-day shifts at the American university’s state-ofthe-art mine training facility, 800 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse. CNIM’s collaborative ambitions do not end there; discussions are underway with the University of the Arctic in Norway, too. “We’re trying to be as nimble as we can, and also have a real focus on building the northern workforce and having a lot of these circumpolar connections, be that with Alaska, Finland, or Sweden. There’s some really good, important conversations happening,” Rowles said. A couple of years ago, CNIM was also doing a “lot of back and forth and sharing information” with Newfoundland and Labrador as they were setting up training programs. Part of CNIM’s work with industry is keeping an ear to the ground with regard to new technological innovations, and how they will impact the skillsets required for future Yukon miners. “That’s a huge pressure right now,” said Rowles, adding that “the more we communicate, the more we project, the more we gather information, the better our response will be. Obviously, there will always be tricky waters, but hopefully we’ll have a solid canoe.” CIM

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May • Mai 2018 | 63


Underground turnaround

How North American Palladium came back from the brink By Graham Chandler

F

or most of 2015, things were not looking good for North American Palladium (NAP). On April 16 its stock price cratered so low the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading of the company’s shares. In August the company went through a financial restructuring that saw Brookfield Asset Management become a 92 per cent owner and by September NAP had to axe its workforce by 13 per cent, to 422 employees. Fast forward to 2018. The company’s Lac des Iles mine, 90 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario, now has 613 employees – a 45 per cent increase over 2015. Those workers have steered a generational turnaround for NAP that 64 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

has set successive underground production records and returned the company to profitability. Lac des Iles first began operation as an open pit mine in 1993, producing just over 3,000 tonnes per day of ore from the Roby zone. With the commissioning of a new mill late in 2002, the production rate increased to 15,000 tonnes per day. The mine began producing underground in 2006, using an access ramp from the open pit. Together, Lac des Iles and the Stillwater operation in Montana are the only two primary producers of palladium – a metal primarily used in the catalytic converters of automobiles – in the world. After the financial crisis of 2008 and the resulting fall of metal prices,


project profile

The Lac des Iles mine began operations as an open pit mine in 1993 and began producing underground in 2006. All photos courtesy of North American Palladium

the mine went into care and maintenance. Work restarted at the mine in 2010, including an underground expansion project with shaft sinking to begin mining the newly discovered Offset zone below the Roby zone. “Unfortunately, as the project advanced, like many projects at that time, it ended up being double the budget and double the schedule,” said NAP’s current CEO, Jim Gallagher. By 2013, investment dollars were hard to come by, the palladium price recovery had stalled and production at Lac des Iles was suffering disruptions. At this time, Brookfield Capital Partners provided a loan to complete the underground mine expansion. Later that year, Jim Gallagher,

previously the global director of mining at Hatch and a Falconbridge alumnus, joined as COO. “I saw, as Brookfield had seen, the value of the asset and believed it was a great ore body with lots of potential,” said Gallagher. Change was needed, starting with the mining method. NAP had been using large-scale long-hole stoping. “It’s a good mining method that’s supported with backfill,” said Bryan Wilson, general manager of the mine. But NAP had no backfill plant. “So we were backfilling with unconsolidated rock fill, causing failures in the overcut, which was creating large oversize muck. It was a real challenge to meet consistent tonnage numbers with the amount of oversize that we were having in the stopes. It also became very challenging to pull the secondary panels because there was unconsolidated rock waste fill on both sides of the primary panels.” An alternative mining method was in order. The first method the team at Lac des Iles explored was dubbed the “shoebox design.” “Essentially what we did was turn from transverse mining, hanging wall to footwall, to longitudinal mining along the hanging wall,” explained Wilson. However, this method ultimately proved to be unworkable. Next, the team explored the idea of sublevel caving. “A lot of mines use it, but our mine wasn’t going to cave, so we adopted a modified version of sublevel caving, called sublevel shrinkage (SLS), whereby we fill the void with waste,” said Wilson. This method followed the advice of both Itasca and SRK Consulting, both of whom had reviewed the geotechnical aspects of the development. To study SLS in action, in July 2015 a team of engineers from the Lac des Iles mine visited four mines in Queensland, Australia, that use the method. “They were very accommodating. They shared all their engineering and production data,” recalled Wilson. NAP was soon sold on SLS, and by September 2016 the mine’s first ore was coming out using the method. It was a fundamental change. “We had to redevelop our sublevels,” said Wilson. “We had to learn everything that’s involved with the new mining method – our miners are very good at longhole stoping and we had to learn to be good at SLS. Now 75 per cent of the underground ore is mined using SLS. We still use long-hole stoping on the extremities of the ore body.” There are other benefits as well. “The shoebox design was going to leave up to 40 per cent of the ore body behind in pillars and sills,” said Wilson. “We’re actually extracting 100 per cent of the ore using SLS.” Moreover, fragmentation is much better. “In 2014 we had a lot of large equipment, like Cat R2900 LHDs. We needed the big equipment to move the oversize muck.” The improved fragmentation enabled the mine to switch to smaller horsepower machines and still move significant amounts of rock. “The improvement in stope mucking and in loading trucks was just unbelievable,” said Wilson. “Additionally, the SLS void allows us to deposit development waste underground, so we don’t have to bring it to surface.” The lower horsepower machines have also eased mine ventilation requirements. “We completed a study showing that in order to support that large heavy equipment we May • Mai 2018 | 65


Our February production was the most consistent I’ve seen in my 35 years of operating history.

– J. Gallagher

66 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3


project profile

Lower grade stockpiles for the open pit can be used to augment the feed from the underground operations.

needed big horsepower for ventilation,” said Wilson. “SLS has given us the ability to match productivity with smaller equipment and reduce the demand on ventilation.” Last fall, the company achieved another important milestone, returning its mill to full-time operation from a twoweeks-on, two-weeks-off schedule, thanks to the expansion of the tailings management facility at the mine.

Digital adoption Beyond the shift in mining method, the company has also undergone a digital transformation. Building on a fibre optic network that was installed in the mine in 2015, NAP has added a number of technologies, including radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on equipment and personnel. “This year we’re expanding the network underground and creating a higher-density network, so we can track location with higher precision,” said David Galea, NAP’s manager of operational excellence. “And we’re starting to plan for automation underground as well.” Operational data are now accessible in real time. “It’s not encompassing all the data we’d like at this point, but there are certain things we do in real time, like equipment and personnel tracking,” said Galea. “In terms of network density, we can see when equipment is passing the different level accesses. We are now advancing that density so we can see them between levels or on levels.” The operation is expanding the network to the upper zones as well, where the company is conducting remnant mining. “The control around coordinating activities has made us much more consistent in terms of development and scheduling on a daily basis,” said Galea. Data is fed to a control room set up across from the offices of the mine manager and the maintenance manager, so that planning can align more closely to actual underground operOpposite page, top to bottom: The mine is one of only two primary producers of palladium in the world; the most recent results of the company’s exploration work adjacent to the underground mining operations were released in early April; the mine, located an hour northwest of Thunder Bay, employs 613 workers.

ations and adjustments can be made quickly. “The new control room is certainly a game changer – just being able to see where everything is, to see what’s going on as it happens,” said Wilson. The impact, added Gallagher, has been enormous. “Our February production was the most consistent I’ve seen in my 35 years of operating history,” he said. “On a day-to-day basis we never once dropped below 6,200 tonnes a day – a typical mine production is up, it’s down, there’s bad days, there’s good days.” Wilson said the company is running about the same number of workers underground as in 2015. “This is a good news story because we’ve increased our underground production by 50 per cent since 2015, to more than 6,000 tonnes per day. In 2015 it was between 3,000 and 4,000,” he said. In addition the mine has begun trial work with a Sandvik autonomous LHD to help cut out some of the downtime in operations, such as those around shift changes. According to Gallagher, NAP is also exploring the potential of automated haulage to the surface as the company considers how it might mass mine the remaining ore from previous mining zones nearer the surface. Glancing at the company’s 2017 year-end highlights, it is obvious that they are leaping over those hurdles. Underground production for the year averaged 5,198 tonnes per day, a 39 per cent jump from the 2016 average of 3,736 tonnes per day. Over the last quarter of 2017, the underground production rate climbed to over 6,200 tonnes per day. Production cost per tonne milled for the year dropped by $10, to $57. And NAP is now generating good positive cash flow. “2017 was a pivotal year for us, but I think that it’s just the start,” said Wilson. “There’s a lot more coming down the pipe.” Galea agreed that there is plenty ahead for the company. “We can’t just say, Hey we’ve done it, we’ve turned the company around,” he said. “That would be giving up all the opportunity still ahead of us.” CIM May • Mai 2018 | 67


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process control

Innovation gathers momentum As more performance and control technologies are added to the processing plant, the measure of what is possible continues to grow

Courtesy of Caelen Anderson/OceanGold

By Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco

The metallurgical team managing the plant at South Carolina’s Haile gold mine, above, adopted an automated approach to metallurgical reporting, which frees them up to focus on process improvements.

here is a story developing in processing plants. It began slowly over the last decade as the high-grade material got mined and the sector wrestled with having to dig deeper and work harder to extract ore. Operating costs skyrocketed until global economic pressures put the squeeze on everyone. The resilient miners got smarter to improve their plants’ efficiencies and abilities to handle lower and more variable ore grades. They turned to instrumentation to measure and automate, step by step, control loop by control loop. But the tools that first gave marginal gains have begun to show a fuller potential. All this instrumentation – and the data it collects – does not just allow miners to improve their plant’s efficiencies within the same old way of doing things. It is a gateway to a whole new approach with faster, smarter, more productive and efficient processing that eliminates the manual guesswork and enables operators and metallurgists to run their operations with precision and accuracy. It is a digitalized future of opportunities in real time. And from needing much convincing to adopt new technologies, miners who have had the Eureka moment are suddenly developing the technologies themselves or seeking them out to improve their plant performance.

T

Analyze the feed with speed Sabia Inc. has been seeing a rush of interest recently in the Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis (PGNAA) slurry analyzer it developed in 2009 and installed in Glencore’s Sudbury InteMay • Mai 2018 | 69


Courtesy of Sabia Inc.

grated Nickel Operations in 2014, said April Montera, sales director for Sabia. “It’s the first and only on-pipe slurry analyzer,” she said. While previous slurry analyzers were based on sampling, Sabia’s patented PGNAA analyzer measures The on-pipe slurry 100 per cent of the incoming feed on a analyzer from pipe or conveyer belt in real time. The Sabia Inc. measures the feed flowing past analyzer works by sending neutrons to in real time. the mined material and these are captured within its atoms. The atoms then give off gamma rays which are measured by the elemental analyzer. This allows operators to adjust their flotation based on the exact elemental breakdown of feed in real time, either manually or automatically. They can add a second or third analyzer to analyze 100 per cent of the final product and confirm their process is optimized. The applications for the analyzer are vast. “We’ve already had success with nickel and phosphate and gold,” said Steve Foster, Sabia’s chief technology officer and one of the developers of the analyzer. “But from silver to copper, zinc and everything in between, the analyzer works fabulously.” The analyzer, which is web browser-based, allowing for remote monitoring, is also a powerful gatherer of valuable data for deeper analysis and optimization.

Digestible data

Courtesy of XPS

The increase of implementation in plants has empowered metallurgists with a mountain of valuable data to help them

solve problems and improve plant performance. Having all that data is the upside. The downside is the amount of work it takes them to access it and build reports. “A lot of engineers become simply administrators, generating Excel reports every day and don’t actually get to do their job, which is to analyze the plant and make improvements,” said John Vagenas, managing director of Sydney, Australiabased Metallurgical Systems. In response, he developed an advanced process plant information system called Metallurgical Intelligence, which automates metallurgical accounting and identifies relationships between variables to solve problems and optimize. “Inherently, everything in mining is multi-variant,” said Vagenas. “Very rarely is there a simple linear relationship between two things.” Vagenas designed the system as a metallurgist to resolve the challenges he had experienced or noted through his years of work in the field. The system centralizes all the data in the plant, which allows it to crosscheck the data, flag instrumentation errors and keep accurate detailed records for transparency and validation. It also helps identify mine to mill errors and the correct solutions. The approach is to use dynamic simulation that builds a virtual plant, so that all elements and components can be tracked, and the time lag dependency of the process included in the calculations. Reports are available online for convenience. In the last year, his system has attracted a growing stream of new customers. “It’s like most overnight success stories: ten years in the making,” he said. “Metallurgical Intelligence has a lot more to offer than other systems,” said Caelen Anderson, metallurgical superintendent for OceanaGold’s Haile gold mine in South Carolina, which began operations in 2017 and is using the system. “With some, you get your own platform and report online but they don’t have all the functionality. Instead of pulling in and finding data to go into an Excel sheet, with this, I already have all the data and I have a dynamic model of the plant and my time is spent making sure that it accurately reflects what’s going on in the plant so we can make decisions based on that, which is a lot better than just trying to find the data.” With a hierarchical menu that includes each area of the plant, the system allows engineers to drill down on the data to make calculations, but it is also simple to use for non-metallurgists. “If our general superintendent is on call for the weekend, the system is easy enough that, if he needs to, he can log in and see the control panel,” said Anderson. “It’s very simple and colour coded.”

The team at the XPS Technology Centre in Sudbury, Ontario have the ability to capture and analyze process data generated at operating sites around the world. 70 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3


process control

Central control Just as with data, the increase of instrumentation in plants has an upside and a downside, at least if the goal is to achieve the optimal performance and improvements. The upside is more comprehensive measurements and responsive control. The downside is that because of the interconnectedness of everything in a plant, a careful design is needed to get the most out of instrumentation, said Nicolas Lazare, manager of process control for Expert Process Solutions (XPS). “If the instrumentation is not properly selected and used, you are not able to get good measurements to control properly. You might have the best instrument on the market but if it is not well installed and calibrated, it may not deliver a good measurement,” said Lazare. “Or you may want to create very complex process controls when it’s not required and a more appropriate solution exists.” The challenge for many plants typically lies not in the technology but in the lack of resources to monitor, calibrate and maintain all the control loops and instrumentations, said Dominic Fragomeni, vice-president at XPS. “You need people with the right skillset to maintain the hardware, the software and systems to capture the data and turn it into information to make a decision.” It is not that the plants do not have such people, it is that “they are usually dealing with the day-to-day challenges, so

it’s nearly impossible to have deep monitoring if you have 100 to 1,000 loops in the plant,” said Lazare, who developed a new service model that provides the deep monitoring for a list of a plant’s most critical 30 measurements remotely by XPS. “The important concept around this service is the permanent contact with the clients, as we want to help them to identify new gain or optimization opportunities, to maintain health of the control loop over time and not just create other KPIs,” said Lazare. At this point, five plants from around the world have signed up. The deep monitoring also provides deep analysis. “The plants are all collecting data, but there is seldom the time and the tools to turn that data into information for decision making. So that’s where we come in,” said Fragomeni.

A new generation of technology – and people Haile’s Anderson, who is 32, believes the use of high tech for plant improvement will continue to escalate. Today, “in mining, there is a large older generation and an up-and-coming younger generation, and there’s very few between,” he said. “There is a big age gap between the senior management and the people on the ground on the site. So as younger and younger people are getting into the positions where they say, ‘yeah, we’ll try that,’ I only see this growing.” CIM

Along with providing technology solutions and metallurgical test services to the global mining industry, XPS is a leader in automation and process control from implementation and managing underground dispatching and communication systems to layered controlled strategies in mills, concentrators, smelters and refineries. XPS resources can be dispatched to your site or provide remote monitoring of your most control critical loops from our XPS Technology Centre in Sudbury, Ontario. Contact us to discuss how we can improve safety, process stability and data/information management at your operation or project.

May • Mai 2018 | 71


SECTION

FRANCOPHONE MAI 2018

73 Lettre de l’éditeur 74 Mot du président 75 Une discussion avec la nouvelle présidente de l’ICM Janice Zinck

77 La mine LaRonde d’Agnico Eagle obtient le réseau LTE souterrain Par Elle Crosby

Par Kelsey Rolfe

article de fond

79 L’industrie minière est depuis longtemps bien consciente de la pénurie imminente de main-d’œuvre qualifiée qui la menace. Il est temps de renouveler le débat et de trouver des solutions créatives.

84 Comment North American Palladium a remonté la pente Par Cecilia Keating

Par Graham Chandler

Nous publions progressivement sur notre site Internet les articles du CIM Magazine en version française.


lettre de l’éditeur

La crise chronique au sein de l’industrie minière « Quand on travaille dans l’industrie minière, on doit se préoccuper des ressources humaines. »

u siège du CIM Magazine, nous traversons une phase à laquelle de nombreux lecteurs pourront sans doute s’identifier. Un membre de notre équipe a reçu une offre d’emploi qu’elle ne pouvait refuser et a poursuivi son chemin, nous obligeant à réfléchir très sérieusement au poste que nous devons maintenant pourvoir, à la personne que nous aimerions voir occuper ce poste ainsi qu’aux compétences et à l’expérience qu’elle devra avoir. Certaines exigences sont clairement définies pour ce poste (par exemple, la myriade de tâches à exécuter quotidiennement) ; toutefois, avec le recul, d’autres restent bien moins claires, notamment en ce qui concerne les aspirations de l’organisation et l’aide que pourrait nous apporter cette nouvelle recrue pour leur donner vie. Quand on travaille dans l’industrie minière, on doit se préoccuper des ressources humaines (RH). Lorsque j’ai commencé à travailler au CIM Magazine il y a près de dix ans, pratiquement tous les textes qui sont passés entre mes mains traitaient de « la crise imminente dans le domaine des RH ». Puis le cycle a connu des hauts et des bas, les sociétés minières et les bureaux d’études techniques ont licencié leur personnel, et la crise persistante s’est retirée, telle un spectre tapi dans l’ombre et prêt à surgir à tout moment. Aujourd’hui, le secteur reprend confiance, aussi nous avons voulu replacer ce thème au cœur de l’article de fond de Cecilia Keating intitulé Mettons fin à la crise (p. 79). Nous nous sommes concentrés sur les solutions créatives développées par les sociétés minières et les organismes de formation, ainsi que sur les enseignements qu’ils en ont tirés en chemin. Les travaux d’Agnico Eagle dans le Nunavut en sont un excellent exemple. Comme le montrent les récents travaux à NORCAT (p. 35, en version anglaise uniquement), nous disposons aujourd’hui d’outils précieux tels que les technologies de réalité virtuelle et augmentée. Développées en partenariat avec des employeurs potentiels, ces technologies pourraient présenter aux futurs employés des environnements de travail d’une manière tout à fait innovante, ce qui n’était pas possible auparavant. Dans le même esprit, les sociétés enseignent désormais à leurs mineurs les principes des jeux électroniques en mettant l’accent sur leur capacité à accélérer la formation sur les équipements lourds. Ceci nous entraîne ainsi sur la voie de l’automatisation de l’équipement. Si telle est l’aspiration du secteur, ces changements viennent marquer une profonde transformation de la main-d’œuvre requise afin de progresser sur cette voie, ainsi que de l’ensemble des compétences qu’elle développera. Ce sont à ces développements que nous nous intéresserons tout particulièrement.

A

Ryan Bergen, Rédacteur en chef editor@cim.org @Ryan_CIM_Mag

May • Mai 2018 | 73


mot du président

Exploitation minière et sécurité « Tous ceux qui travaillent dans l’industrie minière canadienne devraient être fiers des gains que nous avons réalisés sur le plan de la sécurité. »

l’échelle mondiale, le secteur minier a considérablement amélioré sa performance en matière de sécurité, au point que désormais un lieu de travail « zéro blessure » est un objectif envisageable. Il s’agit là d’un objectif important et très ambitieux quand on l’examine sous l’angle historique. Il y a un siècle, le nombre de décès survenus dans les mines de charbon aux ÉtatsUnis s’élevait en moyenne à 2 500 par année, ce qui représente 333 décès par 100 000 travailleurs. En 2015, le taux de létalité avait chuté à 12 par 100 000 travailleurs. Cette amélioration est attribuable à un meilleur contrôle du méthane et de la poussière de charbon, ce qui réduit les explosions, et se combine à la mécanisation et à l’amélioration des compétences de gestion de la sécurité. Le Canada a eu sa part de catastrophes minières, la pire s’étant produite en 1914 à la mine de charbon Hillcrest en Alberta, où une explosion a tué 189 personnes. L’explosion de la mine Westray en Nouvelle-Écosse en 1992 est la pire de mémoire récente, tuant 26 mineurs. Le Trophée John T. Ryan, remis la première fois en 1941, a été créé pour aider la direction des entreprises et les travailleurs à se concentrer sur l’enjeu important que représente l’amélioration de la sécurité du lieu de travail. Il y a cinquante ans, la mine Atlas de Century Coal a remporté le trophée dans la catégorie charbon avec un taux de 3,06 blessures devant être déclarées par 200 000 heures travaillées. De nos jours, il arrive souvent que les entreprises se partagent le trophée, parce que leur taux de blessures devant être déclarées a été de zéro pour l’année. Entre le début du 20e siècle et 1993, le nombre annuel de décès dans le secteur minier en Afrique du Sud s’établissait à environ 800 par année. En 2015, il avait diminué et se limitait à 77. La fin de l’apartheid a été l’une des principales raisons de cette amélioration, car s’est alors imposé un changement dans la formation en milieu de travail et dans la culture de travail concurremment à la mise en place de meilleures pratiques en matière de sécurité. La Chine, dont l’effectif est estimé à cinq millions de mineurs, a également décidé de relever l’immense défi visant à réduire le nombre de décès dans l’exploitation des mines de charbon. Les efforts déployés par le gouvernement pour resserrer les règles en matière de sécurité et fermer des milliers de mines de plus petite taille dangereuses ont permis de réduire le nombre annuel de décès, qui est passé d’environ 3 000 en 2008 à 931 en 2014. Tous ceux qui travaillent dans l’industrie minière canadienne devraient être fiers des gains que nous avons réalisés sur le plan de la sécurité et être prêts à accepter le défi que représente un lieu de travail « zéro blessure ». Mais nous devons aussi reconnaître que, à l’échelle internationale, il reste encore beaucoup de travail à faire. Pour les sept millions de mineurs industriels, il y a environ 100 millions de mineurs travaillant dans des mines artisanales exploitées à petite échelle dans 80 pays, dont les conditions de travail sont beaucoup plus dangereuses. Nombre de sociétés minières qui travaillent à proximité de telles mines artisanales locales ont déclaré que leurs efforts pour aider ces dernières à obtenir un statut officiel et à améliorer l’aspect santé et sécurité de leurs activités ont porté des fruits. Nous devrions poursuivre ces efforts afin d’informer les mineurs artisanaux sur les meilleures pratiques en matière de sécurité. Bien que dans cet univers, le principe du « zéro blessure » soit un objectif qui n’est pas encore envisageable, nous avons une occasion incroyable de faire des pas de géant dans cette direction.

À

Kenneth (Ken) G. Thomas Président de l’ICM

74 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3


L’ICM célèbre ses

12

ans

« Ensemble, nous pouvons faire plus » Image Photographique Internationale

M

aintenant, à titre de directrice à CanmetMINES, Mme Zinck dirige une équipe de scientifiques et d’ingénieurs qui ont pour mission d’élaborer et de réaliser des stratégies en innovation lesquelles contribueront à améliorer le rendement économique et environnemental du secteur. Mme Zinck est membre de l’ICM depuis plus de 25 ans. Elle a siégé aux conseils d’administration de la société canadienne du traitement des minerais (SCTM), de la Société de la métallurgie (MetSoc) et de la Société de la responsabilité sociale et environnementale (ESRS) de l’ICM et a été présidente de la section Ottawa. Mme Zinck, en tant que conférencière éminente de l’ICM, a présenté nombre d’exposés sur le sujet de l’amélioration du rendement économique et environnemental des activités minières. À titre de présidente, lors du 120e anniversaire de l’ICM, Mme Zinck s’était donné comme objectif de défendre les valeurs qui constituent les assises de l’ICM, notamment, rassembler les gens, échanger les connaissances et les pratiques exemplaires et soutenir le secteur minier. Même si les progrès technologiques changent les méthodes d’exploitation, Mme Zinck a déclaré qu’elle est d’avis que l’ICM peut relever les nouveaux défis auxquels fait face l’industrie minière en misant sur la collaboration de tous les membres et leur vaste expertise diversifiée.

Janice Zinck, présidente de l’ICM pour 2018-2019, ne savait peut-être pas comment sa carrière allait évoluer, mais son enthousiasme pour la science et son engagement à l’égard de l’excellence lui ont certainement donné un bon départ. À peine vientelle d’arriver à Énergie, Mines et Ressources que le ministère décide d’investir dans son avenir et de l’aider à faire sa maîtrise en génie des métaux. Il lui est apparu que le secteur minier canadien ne pourrait que progresser si on décidait d’y introduire une composante science et technologie et ce défi en est un qu’elle ne pouvait laisser passer.

ICM : Qu’est-ce qui vous a d’abord intéressée dans la minéralurgie? Mme Zinck: Pendant mes études au baccalauréat, j’ai toujours été passionnée par les sciences de la terre. J’ai obtenu un diplôme de baccalauréat en chimie et géologie. Quand j’ai obtenu un emploi au ministère de l’Énergie, des Mines et des Ressources de l’époque, l’actuel Ressources naturelles Canada, j’étais tout simplement ravie. Même si je n’avais pas d’expérience officielle en minéralurgie, j’ai acquis de l’expérience dans le domaine, ce qui m’a beaucoup servi dans les études que j’ai entreprises par la suite. J’ai ensuite utilisé les connaissances acquises pendant mes études en hydrométallurgie dans tout un éventail de domaines. J’ai toujours travaillé dans les secteurs de l’environnement et du traitement de l’industrie afin d’élaborer des technologies et des solutions aux divers enjeux auxquels fait face l’industrie minière. Je me concentre désormais sur la mise en valeur de deux nouveaux secteurs de l’industrie au Canada, soit l’exploitation des métaux des terres rares et celle de la chromite et du ferrochrome. ICM : Quand vous êtes-vous jointe à l’ICM? Mme Zinck: J’ai joint les rangs d’ICM au début des années 1990, suivant ainsi les conseils de mon directeur de thèse de l’Université McGill qui m’incitait à y entrer. Jamais billet de 10 dollars n’a été mieux investi! J’y suis entrée comme stagiaire, puis je suis devenue membre associée et finalement membre à part entière. Je me suis totalement engagée et je fais maintenant partie intégrante de cette grande communauté. May • Mai 2018 | 75


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ICM : Quelle est l’importance d’un évènement marquant comme le 120e anniversaire de l’ICM? Mme Zinck: Toute organisation qui joue encore un rôle pertinent après 120 ans d’existence peut déjà être fière de cet accomplissement, mais pour une association sans but lucratif constituée de membres, c’est exceptionnel. C’est un accomplissement très significatif qui témoigne de la qualité du contenu que vous offrez. L’ICM est actuellement arrivée à un carrefour. La société évolue à grands pas et l’ICM suit le mouvement. Nous pouvons le constater pendant la transition dans le cadre de l’initiative « Un ICM », qui a pour objectif d’englober tous les membres afin de promouvoir la collaboration. Nous sommes constitués de 10 sociétés et de plus de 30 sections, mais nous formons une seule organisation qui s’est donné pour mission de soutenir le secteur minier au Canada et à l’étranger. La collaboration entre les sociétés et avec les différentes sections de l’organisation est très dynamique et positive. Les membres ont compris tous les avantages dont ils pourront profiter en faisant partie d’une organisation unique solide et dynamique. ICM : Vous avez consacré une grande partie de votre carrière dans les secteurs de la minéralurgie, du traitement métallurgique et de la gestion environnementale. Je suis certaine que plusieurs considèrent ces disciplines comme diamétralement opposées, à votre avis, est-ce bien le cas? Mme Zinck: Pas du tout. La plus grande partie de mon travail, tout comme l’exercice de mon leadership, a été modulée par ce que nous appelons « l’exploitation minière verte », ce qui inclut la totalité du cycle minier. Je suis fermement convaincue que ces processus, ces technologies, techniques et politiques peuvent être à la fois avantageux pour l’environnement et concurrentiels sur le plan des coûts. Prenons par exemple l’énergie. Le concassage et le broyage exigent de grandes quantités d’énergie et sont extrêmement inefficaces sur le plan énergétique. Donc, la moindre amélioration apportée au circuit de fragmentation réduira considérablement les coûts de la consommation d’énergie. En même temps, l’amélioration se fera également du point de vue environnemental. Je peux vous citer un nombre incroyable d’exemples d’organisations cherchant à améliorer leur rendement opérationnel tout en adoptant une approche plus verte et en misant sur les technologies propres. ICM  : Quelles mesures a déjà prises l’ICM pour soutenir le secteur minier dans ses diverses initiatives pour se sensibiliser davantage à l’environnement? Mme Zinck: En veillant à ce que tous aient la possibilité de s’exprimer et d’apporter leur contribution. En élargissant la programmation et l’adhésion des membres à l’ESRS, qui se concentre surtout sur les aspects environnementaux et sociaux du secteur. L’ICM doit simplement continuer à élaborer des 76 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

programmes et du contenu qui sont favorables à l’écologisation du secteur et font la promotion des pratiques exemplaires à cet égard. ICM : Que doivent maintenant faire le secteur minier et l’ICM pour s’adapter au progrès? Mme Zinck: Le secteur minier est à la croisée des chemins, or, le changement est plus que jamais omniprésent. Nous assistons constamment à l’introduction de nouvelles technologies et à la migration vers l’intelligence artificielle et l’analyse de données. Tandis qu’il relève du secteur de prendre les mesures pour relever ce défi, l’ICM doit déployer tous les efforts possibles pour soutenir le secteur. Pour ce faire, l’ICM pourra s’appuyer en grande partie sur son solide contenu technique, mais la manière dont les membres reçoivent et échangent l’information devra probablement changer et l’ICM devra suivre le mouvement et réagir rapidement. ICM : Quels sont les objectifs que vous souhaitez atteindre comme présidente? Mme Zinck: Au cours des dernières années, les présidents précédents, plus particulièrement Ken Thomas, ont fait beaucoup pour renforcer l’organisation sur le plan financier et accroître le nombre de membres. Pour ma part, avec ce nouveau cycle, je compte amorcer une solide collaboration avec [la directrice exécutive de l’ICM] Angela Hamlyn et le Conseil des présidents pour rapprocher davantage cette organisation. Je crois essentiellement dans la communication, la collaboration et la communauté. C’est ce que sera mon mandat : d’abord renforcer les liens entre les intervenants à l’intérieur de l’organisation et ensuite avec les intervenants à l’extérieur de l’organisation. Ensemble, nous pouvons faire plus. En misant sur le dévouement des bénévoles, les connaissances et les nombreux talents des membres et la grande volonté de nombre d’intervenants prêts à tout faire pour soutenir le secteur minier au Canada, cette organisation peut accomplir de grandes choses. Je vois déjà des changements se concrétiser et, si je peux aider l’ICM à devenir une communauté encore plus axée sur la collaboration et aider le secteur à devenir plus intégré et mieux connecté, alors j’aurai atteint mes objectifs à titre de présidente. ICM : Parlez-nous de votre souvenir préféré à l’ICM? Mme Zinck: J’en ai beaucoup, mais il y en a un qui revêt une signification spéciale, et c’est la reconnaissance que m’a accordée ma famille SCTM en me décernant le premier prix du bénévolat Ray MacDonald. Cette reconnaissance m’a émue au plus haut point, et encore plus du fait que ce prix porte le nom de celui qui fut, pendant longtemps, mon mentor et mon ami, Ray MacDonald. À cet instant, j’ai senti tout le soutien de cette grande communauté. Mon but en tant que présidente de l’ICM est que chaque membre de l’ICM acquiert ce sentiment d’appartenance. ICM par Elle Crosby


Les actualités La mine LaRonde d’Agnico Eagle obtient le réseau LTE souterrain Le nouveau système LTE de LaRonde sera déployé sur plus de trois kilomètres de profondeur Dans la Zone 5, un gisement satellite de la mine LaRonde d’Agnico Eagle, nous entendons les premiers accords de la chanson Thunderstruck d’ACDC ponctuée par le faible bruit des conversations. Alain Larose, surintendant de l’entretien adjoint, sourit. « C’est YouTube! », a-t-il dit, en montrant l’écran de son téléphone intelligent renforcé. La Zone 5 et LaRonde sont maintenant connectées au réseau LTE qui permet aux travailleurs de téléphoner, d’avoir des conversations vidéo, de partager des données et même de regarder des vidéos sur YouTube, tout en étant sous la terre. Le LTE permet d’avoir une communication sans fil haute vitesse sur les appareils mobiles comme des téléphones et des tablettes. Le système a été mis à l’essai dans la Zone 5 l’année dernière et est actuellement déployé à une profondeur de trois kilomètres dans LaRonde, la mine aurifère la plus profonde en Amérique du Nord. Ambra Solutions, une entreprise d’ingénierie des télécommunications canadienne et Ericsson Canada, qui ont travaillé à ce projet, ont affirmé que le réseau LTE souterrain de LaRonde était le plus profond au Canada. Éric L’Heureux, président-directeur général d’Ambra, a indiqué que l’entreprise « déployait actuellement des réseaux LTE dans d’autres mines » et que d’ici la fin de l’année, le réseau serait présent dans plusieurs mines.

Avec l’aimable autorisation d’Agnico Eagle

Par Kelsey Rolfe

Les travailleurs de la mine LaRonde d’Agnico Eagle peuvent maintenant utiliser des téléphones Android renforcés avec le réseau LTE souterrain.

LaRonde utilisait anciennement un système de communication à câble rayonnant qui avait une couverture limitée dans la mine. Christian Goulet, le surintendant général de LaRonde, a expliqué que pour des endroits comme la galerie et l’infrastructure générale de la mine, le système fonctionnait très bien, mais que dans les niveaux et les nouvelles zones d’exploitation de la mine, la couverture diminuait à 75 pour cent et quelque part entre zéro et 50 pour cent, respectivement. Dans la mine, la couverture moyenne était d’environ 65 pour cent.

« Même si nous fournissons un émetteur-récepteur portatif aux travailleurs, je ne peux généralement pas communiquer avec eux durant leur quart de travail puisqu’ils sont dans les zones de travail », a-t-il indiqué durant une présentation devant des membres de l’industrie et les médias à Val-d’Or fin mars. « S’ils n’utilisent pas la galerie, je ne peux pas communiquer avec eux. » Il a affirmé que le nouveau système LTE était important pour pouvoir joindre les travailleurs et qu’il pourrait améliorer la sécurité. May • Mai 2018 | 77


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Avec l’aimable autorisation d’Agnico Eagle

« Nous avons beaucoup d’employés sous la terre et plusieurs zones de travail. Avec le câble rayonnant, la communication est un problème important », a-t-il dit. « Nous voulons nous assurer que nous pouvons améliorer la communication et la connectivité pour tous les travailleurs. » M. Goulet a affirmé que le réseau serait mis en place dans le concentrateur durant le premier trimestre de 2018 et que l’installation souterraine serait entièrement terminée durant la première moitié de l’année. En plus de faire des appels, les autres utilisations potentielles de ce réseau comprennent des conférences vidéo avec l’infirmière à la surface en cas de blessure, le transfert d’informations à partir d’équipements et d’appareils souterrains et le transfert de données de levées de l’équipe d’ingénierie. Selon le site Web d’Agnico, environ 87 pour cent du minerai de LaRonde a été exploité. Il est attendu que la mine soit exploitée jusqu’en 2025 et que l’exploitation du gisement de la Zone 5 à faible teneur se poursuive un an de plus. Actuellement, l’entreprise cherche à creuser la mine davantage. Elle passerait d’une profondeur actuelle de 3,1 kilomètres sous la surface à une profondeur de 3,7 km. Dans ses résultats financiers de 2017, Agnico a affirmé que le forage actuel « continuait de rencontrer des intersections aurifères à teneur élevée ». Selon M. Goulet, le plan est de continuer à utiliser le système de câble rayonnant dans les activités qui se trouvent plus près de la surface, c’està-dire aux endroits où il fonctionne bien et où la mine est pratiquement épuisée, et d’utiliser le réseau LTE dans les parties plus profondes. « Nous voulons nous concentrer sur la partie inférieure de la mine puisque nous irons plus en profondeur », a-t-il expliqué, « même si nous devrons installer plusieurs kilomètres de câble ». Environ 40 km de câbles ont déjà été posés pour soutenir le nouveau réseau. M. Goulet a affirmé que 50 téléphones avec la capacité LTE sont utilisés sous terre et que 100 téléphones étaient utilisés dans le concentrateur.

Le réseau est beaucoup plus fonctionnel que le système à conducteur à courant de fuite qu’utilisait la mine auparavant.

LaRonde s’attend à avoir 300 téléphones et entre 300 et 500 appareils au total au sein du réseau. La mine utilise des téléphones Android renforcés, mais n’importe quel appareil LTE, y compris les iPhone et les iPad, pourrait utiliser le réseau LTE d’Agnico. Les travailleurs se partagent certains téléphones, mais les contremaîtres d’équipe auront un téléphone désigné (partagé entre les superviseurs de quart de jour et de nuit) et tous les équipements souterrains seront dotés d’un téléphone installé de manière permanente. M. L’Heureux a affirmé que le réseau LTE est une solution idéale, car il n’est pas sujet aux interférences comme le Wi-Fi et offre une meilleure couverture, et ce, dans une zone vaste et à un grand nombre d’appareils. Ambra a configuré un taux de transfert de 30 mégabits par seconde (Mbit/s) partout dans la mine et M. L’Heureux a mentionné que la technologie LTE pouvait offrir des taux de transfert sans fil allant jusqu’à un gigabit par seconde. De plus, il est sécuritaire. Agnico peut choisir les personnes qui sont en mesure d’utiliser le réseau et tous les appareils utilisés sous terre sont dotés d’une carte SIM spéciale leur permettant d’y avoir accès.

Il a ajouté qu’avec le LTE, le superviseur du réseau pouvait envoyer des « messages d’avertissement à tous les utilisateurs se trouvant dans un endroit précis. Vous pouvez l’utiliser dans la mine pour envoyer un avertissement d’évacuation ou lorsque du gaz est détecté ». M. L’Heureux a indiqué que LaRonde testait actuellement une fonction de localisation. Les balises Bluetooth situées tous les 50 mètres dans les tunnels de la mine localiseraient le signal des lecteurs Bluetooth se trouvant sur les casques des travailleurs, les téléphones ou les véhicules, entre autres, ce qui permettrait aux superviseurs de les localiser. « Sous terre, la localisation est importante », a affirmé M. L’Heureux. « Les gens veulent savoir où se trouvent les travailleurs et les camions. » En plus de la localisation, M. Goulet a expliqué que le réseau LTE pourrait donner à la mine le potentiel d’avoir de l’équipement autonome. M. Goulet a affirmé que LaRonde a créé un comité LTE qui se rencontre une fois par mois pour évaluer les utilisations futures de la technologie, y compris l’élaboration de capteurs pour surveiller le gaz. ICM


Mettons fin à la crise Éteindre

L'industrie minière est depuis longtemps bien consciente de la pénurie imminente de main-d'œuvre qualifiée qui la menace. Il est temps de renouveler le débat et de trouver des solutions créatives. Par Cecilia Keating

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e vieillissement de la population au Canada mine l’avenir de sa main-d’œuvre ; l’année dernière, le Conference Board du Canada indiquait que chaque nouvel emploi créé dans une organisation canadienne en 2016 avait dû couvrir la perte de 1,8 retraité. L’industrie minière ne fait pas exception à la règle. La pénurie imminente de main-d’œuvre qualifiée est exacerbée par un cocktail pernicieux de facteurs plus spécifiques au secteur minier, notamment l’isolation marquée de nombreuses exploitations, l’instabilité économique du secteur ainsi que sa lenteur évidente à embrasser la diversité. D’après Ryan Montpellier, directeur exécutif du conseil des ressources humaines de l’industrie minière (RHiM), l’association de ces facteurs pourrait bien « mener à la catastrophe ». Le RHiM prévoit qu’au cours des 10 prochaines années, quelque 88 000 nouveaux employés devront compenser les départs à la retraite de 50 000 employés, auxquels viendront s’ajouter d’autres pénuries. Cette estimation ne concerne toutefois que les projections du RHiM, et elle est fondée sur les tendances et prévisions actuelles pour le secteur ; si l’on tient compte des scénarios économiques expansionnistes, les besoins se rapprochent des 130 000 employés. Malgré ces statistiques alarmantes, M. Montpellier reste confiant et est convaincu que le secteur parviendra à faire face à ce problème de ressources humaines ; le climat global au sein de l’industrie reste positif. Partout au Canada, des collaborations provinciales, nationales et internationales sont nées d’un besoin collectif de sophistiquer, de simplifier et de normaliser les approches à la formation, tout en exploitant la puissance des nouvelles technologies. Des programmes expérimentaux d’évolution des carrières sont mis en œuvre dans des sites miniers tels que la mine Meadowbank d’Agnico

Eagle au Nunavut, et la mine New Afton de New Gold en Colombie-Britannique (C.-B). Dans d’autres mines, des programmes tiers de formation ont été mis en œuvre pour attirer des profils démographiques sous-représentés et enrichir la main-d’œuvre locale.

Ouvrir la porte à de nouveaux travailleurs

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es femmes et les immigrants sont deux catégories importantes de la population qui sont depuis longtemps mises à l’écart du secteur minier et restent largement sous-représentées. L’industrie minière est le principal employeur des populations autochtones dans le secteur privé ; pourtant, le rapport de 2014 du RHiM intitulé Industrie minière canadienne : emploi, besoins en matière d’embauche et personnes compétentes disponibles — aperçu pour la prochaine décennie révélait que ce groupe de personnes compétentes reste largement sous-utilisé, et les emplois qu’on leur propose se limitent généralement à des postes de premier échelon, de soutien et de production de première ligne. Par ailleurs, il paraît tout à fait logique de promouvoir la participation des Autochtones aux carrières de l’industrie minière ; il s’agit en effet du segment de la population canadienne qui affiche la plus forte croissance, un courant se rebiffant contre la tendance nationale où le nombre d’aînés dépasse celui des jeunes. Un élément essentiel de la mission du RHiM consiste à travailler main dans la main avec l’industrie afin d’identifier et d’attirer toutes les sources de main-d’œuvre vers l’exploitation minière. L’un de ses programmes de formation, l’initiative L’essentiel des mines, est mené en partenariat avec l’Assemblée des Premières Nations et est axé sur la formation préalable à May • Mai 2018 | 79


l’emploi des communautés autochtones. D’après M. Montpellier, c’est un scénario qui profite à tous. Les Autochtones profitent « des compétences de base, d’une formation préalable à l’emploi, de l’attitude et des connaissances de l’industrie pour rejoindre ce secteur » ; les mines, quant à elles, bénéficient d’une main-d’œuvre locale qualifiée. Ce programme autonome, soutenu par chacun des partenaires de l’industrie y prenant part ainsi que par « diverses sources de financement de la formation des Autochtones », est voué à un bel avenir, déclarait M. Montpellier. Le programme L’essentiel des mines dure toujours 12 semaines et compte entre 12 et 18 participants ; cependant, chaque session est « unique et adaptée aux besoins propres à la communauté et à l’employeur local », expliquait M. Montpellier. Entre 2015 et 2017, quatre sessions à la mine Musselwhite de Goldcorp ont donné la possibilité aux participants d’approfondir leur expérience professionnelle dans un site minier en faisant la navette entre la mine et leur lieu de vie deux semaines sur quatre. Des étudiants métis et non autochtones ont, quant à eux, vécu une expérience davantage théorique à l’école secondaire catholique Thériault de Timmins en 2017, qui consistait en 240 heures de « formation fondée sur le programme » en salle de classe, auxquelles s’ajoutaient 120 heures « d’activités d’apprentissage par l’expérience ». Plus de 48 % du marché du travail canadien est composé de femmes, et pourtant ces dernières font partie de la catégorie la plus largement sous-représentée de la population canadienne dans le secteur minier et constituent seulement 17 % de la main-d’œuvre dans l’industrie minière. Le programme Pour une équité entre les sexes dans l’industrie minière du RHiM collabore avec des sociétés minières pour identifier les obstacles systémiques (par exemple les politiques et les procédures) que rencontrent les femmes lorsqu’elles souhaitent rejoindre l’industrie minière. Parmi les problèmes identifiés par le premier groupe de participants figurent l’absence de femmes au sein d’un jury d’entretien ainsi que l’emploi du masculin générique dans les offres d’emploi. Dans le cadre de ses travaux sur la diversité et l’inclusion, le RHiM propose des informations concernant le marché du travail dans le secteur minier ainsi que des ressources pour les agences spécialisées dans les services aux immigrants aux quatre coins du Canada. Les nouveaux immigrants constituent 21 % de la main-d’œuvre canadienne, mais seulement 14 % de la main-d’œuvre dans le secteur minier. Le RHiM n’est pas le seul organisme à s’intéresser à la question. Depuis des décennies, Derrick Schmuhl, responsable des programmes de formation à l’Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN, le centre mennonite des nouveaux arrivants à Edmonton), aide les personnes récemment installées au Canada à rejoindre l’industrie. M. Schmuhl explique que les programmes proposés par l’EMCN « sont devenus de plus en plus précieux au fil des ans » au vu du nombre croissant d’immigrants. Ce centre offre aux sociétés « une expérience, des méthodes et des compétences de grande valeur ». 80 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

Pourtant, nombre d’ingénieurs immigrants qui arrivent au Canada ont peu de moyens d’accéder au marché du travail car leurs qualifications ne sont pas reconnues, ils connaissent peu la culture du milieu du travail au Canada ou ne savent pas forcément où s’orienter pour trouver un emploi ou déposer leur candidature pour un poste, expliquait M. Schmuhl. C’est ainsi qu’est né l’Engineers’ and Technologists’ Integration Program (ETIP, le programme d’intégration des ingénieurs et technologues) de l’EMNC, d’une durée de 11 mois, qui a permis à de nombreuses personnes de trouver un emploi dans des sociétés minières au cours de ses 28 années d’existence, et à « au moins cinq personnes ces deux dernières années », ajoutait M. Schmuhl. Ce programme est soutenu par le ministère des services communautaires et sociaux et l’Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET, l’association des professionnels des techniques en génie et en sciences) de la province d’Alberta. M. Schmuhl expliquait que l’ETIP « aide les ingénieurs à redevenir des ingénieurs » en leur offrant les compétences nécessaires des points de vue culturel, professionnel et de la communication d’entreprise, un certificat de qualification professionnelle canadienne du Northern Alberta Institution of Technology (NAIT, l’institut de technologie du Nord de l’Alberta) ainsi qu’une aide à la recherche d’un emploi sur trois mois. D’après M. Schmuhl, les expériences professionnelles sont déterminantes pour aider les immigrants à rejoindre l’industrie. Il cherche actuellement à établir des partenariats plus officiels avec les mines afin d’intégrer l’expérience professionnelle au sein de l’ETIP. Si la mise en œuvre de programmes dédiés à l’expérience professionnelle au sein des sociétés peut s’avérer complexe du point de vue logistique et impliquer certaines négociations, M. Schmuhl reconnaît toutefois que le travail préalable est payant. « Une fois qu’elles en ont créé un, [les sociétés] en créeront plusieurs », indiquait-il. Il n’est pas le seul partisan d’une approche d’apprentissage par l’expérience. Jill Tsolinas, directrice exécutive du Centre of Training Excellence in Mining (CTEM, le centre d’excellence de la formation dans le domaine de l’exploitation minière) en Colombie-Britannique, un groupe qui tient lieu de centre virtuel offrant des possibilités de formation coopérative et innovante, expliquait que cette « théorie d’apprentissage hybride » est essentielle pour assurer l’efficacité des approches à la formation. Ce problème est particulièrement pertinent en Colombie-Britannique où la main-d’œuvre du secteur minier est plus vieille que dans le reste du Canada. Le CTEM est également un fervent partisan de la formation à l’échelle locale pour des emplois locaux. « C’est ce que j’appelle une démarche écologique pour constituer un effectif », expliquait Mme Tsolinas. « Si l’on ne forme pas notre maind’œuvre à l’échelle locale, il nous faudra importer notre expertise. » Elle ajoutait que la formation au niveau local contribue à l’atténuation du problème lié à la diversité au sein du secteur minier. « Le profil démographique de chaque communauté est différent ; certaines comptent de nombreux Autochtones,


d’autres beaucoup d’immigrants qualifiés. Si l’on ne tient pas compte des proportions au sein des groupes d’individus qui constituent notre communauté, on restreint énormément notre main-d’œuvre. »

Le modèle de Meadowbank - La participation des Inuits

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rouver de la main-d’œuvre locale pour les mines les plus isolées du Canada implique d’employer et de former des Autochtones qui ne connaissent pas forcément l’industrie lourde ni la culture, la politique et les procédures propres à une entreprise. Ce choix est cependant primordial car il permet aux sociétés minières d’économiser sur les coûts liés au détachement d’employés venant de villes lointaines, employés qui privilégieront à terme les exploitations minières plus proches de leurs familles. Gabriel-Antoine Côté, coordonnateur de la formation à la mine d’or Meadowbank au Nunavut, expliquait que l’embauche au niveau local va au-delà des simples considérations financières. Il est question de « respecter notre engagement à développer la main-d’œuvre locale sachant que l’on procède à l’exploitation minière de sa terre », déclarait-il. Lorsque Meadowbank a ouvert ses portes en 2010, il s’agissait de la seule mine en exploitation dans la région de Kivalliq, au Nunavut. Les communautés inuites locales n’avaient pas été exposées à l’industrie minière depuis plus d’un demi-siècle, et envisageaient encore moins d’y travailler. Des employés expérimentés ont été mandatés d’autres provinces pour démarrer les activités. Aujourd’hui, 62 % des conducteurs d’équipement à la mine Meadowbank sont des Inuits, tout comme 34 % de la main-d’œuvre totale à la mine. Si nous sommes encore loin des 50 % prévus par un accord passé entre Agnico Eagle et l’association inuite locale, M. Côté indiquait que ce pourcentage « augmente doucement mais sûrement, et de manière durable ». Ceci s’explique en partie par les nombreuses autres dispositions de l’entente sur les impacts et les avantages (EIA) signée par la mine. Par exemple, la mine n’a pas embauché de conducteur d’équipement lourd non inuit depuis 2012 et ce, grâce à son système interne de parcours de carrière qui assure la promotion interne. En 2012, la société a mis en œuvre plusieurs programmes dédiés au « parcours de carrière » à échelons afin de développer la main-d’œuvre locale. Parmi les parcours de carrière proposés figurent les activités minières, l’entretien des routes, l’exploitation d’une usine de traitement, les méthodes de for-

age et d’abattage et les services extérieurs, chacun étant minutieusement élaboré. Lorsqu’un(e) employé(e) maîtrise un échelon, il/elle peut commencer à travailler dans un poste correspondant à ses connaissances, ainsi que devenir opérateur(-trice) de relève et déposer sa candidature pour le niveau supérieur de formation. Comme l’explique M. Côté, le système de parcours de carrière marque « un tournant important », car il démocratise l’embauche et la formation. Les employés progressent dans la voie qu’ils ont choisie en fonction de leurs compétences ; cette approche permet à la main-d’œuvre inuite de profiter équitablement des possibilités de mobilité ascendante. M. Côté attribue le succès de la mine à une attitude flexible où l’on écoute et l’on répond, dans la mesure du possible, aux besoins particuliers de la communauté locale. Les sociétés ont par exemple rencontré des problèmes d’absences non justifiées sur le site durant la saison de la chasse aux caribous et aux phoques. « La chasse fait partie intégrante de la vie des Inuits ; c’est une activité ancrée dans leur culture que nous nous devons de comprendre et de respecter », expliquait M. Côté. Les périodes de migration des animaux étant peu prévisibles, le personnel inuit avait du mal à prévoir ses jours de congé à l’avance, comme le stipulait la politique de la société. Pour y remédier, la direction a assoupli les politiques relatives à la période de préavis que doivent donner les employés pour obtenir des congés. « Nous laissons [la période de préavis] comme une zone mal définie pour montrer que nous sommes prêts à être plus souples », déclarait M. Côté. Le salaire moyen à Meadowbank est de 107 000 $, et les employés inuits avaient du mal, au début, à gérer de telles rentrées d’argent. Pour parer à ce problème, Agnico Eagle a intégré la culture financière dans le « programme d’aptitude au travail » de cinq jours préalable à l’embauche, que tous les nouveaux employés sont tenus de suivre. Ce programme préalable dédié à « l’aptitude au travail » est organisé à l’extérieur du site avec l’aide de partenaires communautaires ; il porte sur des compétences mathématiques, sur la résolution de problèmes et les capacités de lecture et d’écriture, ainsi que sur des informations concernant les attentes implicites des employeurs. Les personnes s’inscrivant à ce programme de préparation à l’embauche suivent ensuite une session d’orientation sur le site de cinq à sept jours. Ils y découvrent les différents programmes proposés aux stagiaires et s’inspirent des employés travaillant dans la voie professionnelle qu’ils ont choisie en les suivant, tout en se faisant également une idée de la vie dans un camp minier (dormir sur le site, manger à la cafétéria et travailler 12 heures par jour). Ceci permet aux futurs travailleurs de savoir à quoi s’attendre, expliquait M. Côté, ce qui évite plus tard à la société de voir ses employés démissionner. L’engagement de la société a cependant un coût. D’après Agnico Eagle, la société investit chaque année environ 5 000 000 $ dans la formation de ses employés actuels, et 280 000 000 $ dans l’achat auprès des fournisseurs locaux. Cependant, comme l’expliquait M. Côté, l’approche adoptée May • Mai 2018 | 81


à Meadowbank est « une question de stabilité ». Il ajoutait que les exploitations du Nunavut deviendront un jour « 100 % inuites, le directeur de la mine y compris ».

L’approche de New Afton - L’embauche au niveau local et la formation

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ans les régions plus peuplées du Canada, le secteur minier fait concurrence à d’autres industries pour s’approprier les personnes compétentes. Pour élargir la main-d’œuvre locale, il faut s’adapter aux demandes des employés et leur donner des perspectives de carrière allant au-delà de la durée de vie limitée d’une mine. Ceci implique parfois de remanier les idées obsolètes concernant les sociétés minières et ce qui a de la valeur à leurs yeux. New Gold a mis en œuvre un programme d’embauche au niveau local à sa mine New Afton à Kamloops en 2008. La mine « voulait embaucher des personnes impliquées dans la communauté locale qui souhaitaient rester dans la région et être employées par la société sur le long terme », déclarait le surintendant de la mine Peter Prochotsky. L’avantage de la mine est qu’elle se trouve à proximité de la communauté peuplée de Kamloops, et qu’elle dispose d’une base de travailleurs aux compétences polyvalentes et dotés d’une expérience dans les domaines de l’agriculture et de l’exploitation du bois. Chaque employé(e) à New Afton dispose de son propre plan de développement et d’un(e) superviseur(e), avec qui il/elle décide d’un calendrier de formation trimestriel. Les employés occupent différents postes à tour de rôle afin de garantir « leur évolution tout au long de l’année », expliquait M. Prochotsky. « Avant, la devise dans l’industrie minière était de changer de société pour gravir les échelons. Nous souhaitons rompre avec cette tradition. Nous voulons maintenir notre effectif et leur faire gravir les échelons en interne », expliquait-il. Les avantages de cette approche sont confirmés par le taux de roulement de New Afton, qui ne dépasse pas les 5 % par an, ainsi que par l’historique enviable de la mine en matière de sécurité. L’exploitation a remporté consécutivement quatre trophées John T. Ryan accordés aux mines affichant la fréquence la plus faible d’accidents pour des mines de métaux dans les provinces de la Colombie-Britannique et du Yukon, cinq Safest Large Underground Mine Awards, des prix attribués aux grandes mines souterraines les plus sûres en ColombieBritannique, quatre concours de sauvetage minier provinciaux et un National Western Region Mine Rescue Competition Award, un prix national de la région de l’Ouest attribué au lauréat du concours de sauvetage minier. 82 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

Se faisant l’écho de M. Côté de Meadowbank, M. Prochotsky indiquait que la réussite de New Afton est en partie attribuable à l’attention accordée aux exigences évolutives de la main-d’œuvre dans l’industrie minière. « Nous avons constaté que les personnes rejoignant l’industrie minière accordent désormais bien plus d’importance à l’équilibre entre vie professionnelle et vie privée qu’à la rémunération », indiquaitil. En 2008, les employés ont voté en faveur d’une alternance de sept jours de travail et sept jours de repos (et d’une rémunération moins généreuse) plutôt que d’un roulement plus traditionnel de deux semaines de travail pour une semaine de repos. Ce système n’a pas changé depuis. M. Prochotsky collabore avec le CTEM dans le cadre d’un projet visant à compiler des approches éprouvées de formation dans la province en un guide de formation pour les nouvelles exploitations. D’après Mme Tsolinas, ce type de collaboration et le « centre virtuel » qu’offre le CTEM sont primordiaux, car le secteur minier souffre de l’absence d’une zone physique où concentrer et assurer l’essor des efforts de formation.

La formation des communautés locales au service d’un meilleur fonctionnement interne

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es ralentissements et les reprises économiques se traduisent par une forte fluctuation de la demande de main-d’œuvre. Les partenariats au Canada et ailleurs entre l’industrie, le gouvernement et l’enseignement supérieur permettent de rapidement pallier les pénuries qui persistent après des périodes d’inactivité, tout en s’assurant qu’à l’avenir, ce genre d’écarts ne se reproduise plus. La province du Yukon exploite également la force de la collaboration au Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining (CNIM, le centre nordique d’innovation minière). Avant l’ouverture du centre en 2013, les trois mines en exploitation du Yukon payaient près de « huit millions de dollars entre elles pour les allers et venues de leurs employés entre les sites et leurs lieux de vie », expliquait Shelagh Rowles, directrice exécutive du centre. Entre la fin des années 1990 et le début des années 2000, la main-d’œuvre de l’industrie minière de la province avait été mise à mal par dix années d’inactivité. Aujourd’hui, le centre propose divers programmes qui associent des cours en salle de classe, un simulateur et une formation en milieu de travail pour les personnes compétentes de la région. Il dispose également d’un laboratoire mobile que l’on peut amener jusqu’aux communautés locales. Le conseil d’administration du CNIM, qui prodigue des conseils quant à la formation et aide à l’administration des financements, est composé de hauts fonctionnaires et des


directeurs généraux des trois mines en exploitation du Yukon, de représentants du gouvernement des Premières Nations et du gouvernement provincial ainsi que du corps enseignant du CNIM. L’adoption d’une norme commune pour les mineurs du Yukon est aussi capitale pour le conseil consultatif. « Quelles sont les implications d’une norme commune pour un mineur de fond ? Quelles en sont les diverses composantes ? Quelles sont les attentes ? », interrogeait Mme Rowles. La normalisation garantit la création d’emplois futurs pour les mineurs, et la sécurité pour les employeurs. Les assemblées du conseil constituent également une plateforme de discussion quant aux besoins de l’industrie. Récemment, les membres de l’industrie ont exprimé leurs préoccupations quant aux normes de sécurité pour les aideforeurs, un poste de plus en plus recherché au vu de la croissance de l’activité d’exploration. Le CNIM a embauché un formateur certifié possédant les qualifications requises pour dispenser une formation normalisée sur le tronc commun du programme de foreur. Deux sessions de formation ont été proposées l’année dernière, et neuf étudiants ont obtenu leur diplôme. « Lorsqu’on associe le gouvernement, l’industrie et l’enseignement postsecondaire, on obtient une combinaison magique qui ouvre la voie à des résultats concrets », déclarait Mme Rowles. Le centre a également un arrangement avec l’université de l’Alaska. Les étudiants en exploitation minière souterraine du

CNIM mènent deux stages de formation de deux semaines dans l’installation ultramoderne de formation en exploitation minière de l’université américaine, située à 800 kilomètres au nord-ouest de Whitehorse. Les ambitions du CNIM en termes de collaboration ne s’arrêtent pas là ; des discussions sont également en cours avec l’Arctic University of Norway (UiT, l’université de Tromsø) en Norvège. « Nous nous efforçons d’être aussi ingénieux que possible ; nous orientons aussi beaucoup nos efforts sur la constitution d’un effectif dans le Nord et sur la création de liens circumpolaires, que ce soit avec l’Alaska, la Finlande ou la Suède. Les conversations en cours sont très intéressantes et importantes », indiquait Mme Rowles. Il y a quelques années, le CNIM « échangeait également beaucoup et partageait des informations » avec la province de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, alors qu’il mettait en œuvre de nouveaux programmes de formation. Une partie des travaux du CNIM avec l’industrie consistent à rester à l’écoute du marché quant aux nouvelles innovations technologiques et leur influence sur les compétences requises des futurs mineurs du Yukon. « Nous sommes actuellement soumis à une forte pression », expliquait Mme Rowles, ajoutant que « la communication nous permet de nous projeter, et la collecte d’informations nous aide à répondre au mieux aux besoins. Bien évidemment, nous traverserons des eaux mouvementées, mais nous espérons que notre embarcation sera suffisamment solide. » ICM

LA Technologie et LA formation L

a technologie et l’automatisation sont des facteurs importants à prendre en compte pour la future planification de la main-d’œuvre. D’après M. Montpellier, leurs retombées « seront importantes » sur le nombre d’employés et les compétences requises ; il admettait cependant que leurs répercussions sur le marché du travail ne sont pas encore visibles. Par exemple, la transition vers des camions de transport sans conducteurs (que s’apprête à faire Suncor en Alberta) entraînera une diminution de la demande de conducteurs d’équipement lourd, alors qu’augmenteront parallèlement les besoins en personnes capables de

« concevoir, programmer, surveiller, optimiser et maintenir la flotte ». Si les avancées technologiques s’accompagnent de difficultés en termes de formation de la main-d’œuvre, elles ont aussi la capacité de la transformer de manière positive. Les simulateurs d’équipement ont déjà bouleversé l’industrie en permettant aux employés inexpérimentés d’être formés dans un environnement contrôlé et sans danger, sans pour autant contrecarrer les activités quotidiennes. À la mine Diavik de Rio Tinto, une réplique exacte du site minier a été intégrée dans un simulateur de tombereaux d’environ 3 mètres de haut d’Epiroc (anciennement Atlas Copco) ; les données incorporées traitent aussi bien les descen-

deries et les travées du combustible que les politiques et procédures de la société. À la mine New Afton, un simulateur a servi à former 120 travailleurs sans expérience pendant deux ans avant même que la mine n’ouvre ses portes (il a maintenant été transféré à l’exploitation plus récente Rainy River de New Gold). D’après Al Charbonneau, administrateur de projet et testeur chez Epiroc, les simulateurs sont voués à devenir plus « polyvalents » et joueront un rôle de plus en plus important dans la formation aux métiers du secteur minier, étant donné les avantages qu’ils présentent en termes de sécurité. « Je suis persuadé que d’ici quelques années, le temps où l’on se formait sans simulateur ne sera plus qu’un lointain souvenir. »

May • Mai 2018 | 83


L’exploitation à ciel ouvert Lac des Îles a vu le jour en 1993, et sa production souterraine a commencé en 2006.

Revirement souterrain

Ou comment North American Palladium a remonté la pente Par Graham Chandler

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urant une bonne partie de l’année 2015, la situation est plutôt morose pour la société North American Palladium (NAP). Le 16 avril, son cours à la bourse chute à tel point que le New York Stock Exchange (NYSE, la principale plateforme d’échanges de la bourse de New York) suspend les négociations des actions de la société. En août, NAP connaît une restructuration financière qui entraîne le rachat de 92 % de la société par Brookfield Capital Partners ; en septembre cette même année, NAP est contrainte de licencier 13 % de son personnel, pour ne garder que 422 personnes. 84 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

Mais revenons-en à 2018. La mine Lac des Îles de la société, située à 90 kilomètres (km) au nord-ouest de la baie Thunder, en Ontario, budgétise 613 employés pour l’année 2018, ce qui représente une hausse de 45 % par rapport à 2015. C’est grâce à eux que la société, qui affiche des records successifs de production souterraine, connaît un revirement de génération et retrouve sa rentabilité. L’exploitation à ciel ouvert Lac des Îles voit le jour en 1993, date à laquelle elle produit à peine plus de 3 000 tonnes par Toutes les photos sont aimablement fournies par North American Palladium


profil de projet

La capacité nominale de l’usine de concentration est de 15 000 tonnes par jour.

jour de minerai à la zone Roby. La mise en service d’une nouvelle usine de concentration à la fin de l’année 2002 permet d’augmenter la production à 15 000 tonnes par jour. La production souterraine à la mine commence en 2006 à l’aide d’une rampe d’accès depuis la mine à ciel ouvert. Cette mine, ainsi que l’exploitation Stillwater dans le Montana, sont les deux seuls principaux producteurs de palladium au monde, un métal que l’on utilise principalement dans les convertisseurs catalytiques des automobiles. Après la crise financière de 2008 et la chute des prix des métaux en résultant, la mine est placée en mode de soins et maintenance. Les travaux à la mine reprennent en 2010, et comprennent notamment un projet de développement souterrain impliquant le fonçage d’un puits pour commencer l’extraction dans la zone Offset, récemment découverte sous la zone Roby. « À mesure que le projet avançait, comme dans tous les projets de l’époque, le calendrier et le budget ont malheureusement fini par doubler », déclarait Jim Gallagher, chef de la direction actuel de NAP. En 2013, les investissements ne courent pas les rues, la revalorisation des prix du palladium est à un point mort et la production connaît des interruptions. Brookfield Capital Partners accorde alors un prêt à la société de sorte qu’elle puisse poursuivre le développement de sa mine souterraine. Ancien directeur de l’exploitation minière à l’international chez Hatch et dirigeant pendant de longues années chez Falconbridge, Jim Gallagher fait son entrée dans la société fin 2013 en tant que directeur de l’exploitation. « Tout comme Brookfield, j’ai bien perçu la valeur de cet actif, dont le corps minéralisé présentait selon moi un fort potentiel. » Des changements sont cependant incontournables, à commencer par la méthode d’exploitation par longs trous à grande échelle qu’utilise NAP depuis longtemps. « C’est une méthode d’exploitation intéressante qui est renforcée par le remblayage », indiquait Bryan Wilson, directeur général de la mine. Toutefois, NAP ne dispose pas d’usine de remblayage. « Nous procédions au remblayage avec un enrochement non

consolidé, ce qui entraînait des ruptures lors de l’abattage au toit, créant de grandes quantités de morts-terrains constitués de refus de crible. Nous avions vraiment beaucoup de mal à honorer nos engagements en matière de tonnage avec la quantité de refus de crible que nous générions dans nos chantiers. Il devenait par ailleurs très difficile de fixer les panneaux secondaires en raison de la quantité de matériaux de remblayage non consolidés de part et d’autres des panneaux primaires. » La société doit donc trouver une autre méthode d’exploitation minière. La première méthode envisagée à la mine Lac des Îles est baptisée modèle boîte à chaussures. « Essentiellement, nous sommes passés de la méthode d’exploitation minière en coupe transversale du toit (éponte supérieure) au mur (éponte inférieure) à la méthode d’exploitation longitudinale le long du toit », expliquait M. Wilson, mais cette nouvelle méthode s’avère rapidement irréalisable. L’équipe explore ensuite l’idée d’une méthode d’exploitation en sous-niveaux avec foudroyage. « Beaucoup de mines utilisent cette méthode, mais le foudroyage n’était pas une option pour notre mine ; ainsi, nous avons adopté une version modifiée de l’exploitation en sous-niveaux, baptisée méthode d’exploitation par sous-niveaux abattus (SLS, de l’anglais sublevel shrinkage). C’est une méthode qui consiste à combler les vides par remblayage avec des stériles », précisait M. Wilson. Il suit les recommandations des groupes d’experts-conseils Itasca et SRK Consulting, qui évaluent tous deux les aspects géotechniques du développement. Pour étudier la méthode SLS en action, une équipe d’ingénieurs de la mine Lac des Îles se rend en juillet 2015 dans l’État du Queensland, en Australie, pour visiter quatre mines qui l’utilisent. « L’équipe s’est montrée très généreuse ; elle a partagé avec nous toutes ses données techniques et de production », se rappelait M. Wilson. NAP se laisse vite charmer par la méthode SLS et en septembre 2016, la société procède à l’extraction du premier minerai de la mine à l’aide de cette méthode. Ceci marque May • Mai 2018 | 85


un changement fondamental. « Nous avons dû redévelopper nos sous-niveaux », indiquait M. Wilson. « Il nous a fallu comprendre ce qu’impliquait cette nouvelle méthode d’exploitation minière ; nos mineurs connaissaient bien la méthode d’exploitation par longs trous, mais ils ont dû découvrir la méthode SLS. Aujourd’hui, 75 % du minerai souterrain est extrait à l’aide de cette méthode. Nous utilisons encore l’exploitation par longs trous aux extrémités du corps minéralisé. » Cette méthode présente également d’autres avantages. « Le modèle boîte à chaussures risquait de laisser 40 % du corps minéralisé dans les étais de mine et les seuils », indiquait M. Wilson. « La méthode SLS nous permet d’extraire 100 % du minerai. » En outre, la fragmentation s’est bien améliorée.

« En 2014, nous avions beaucoup de gros engins sur le site, tels que les chargeurs-transporteurs Cat R2900. Nous avions besoin de ces machines pour déplacer les morts-terrains constitués de refus de crible. » L’amélioration de la fragmentation à la mine permet de passer à des engins requérant moins de chevaux-puissance, mais qui déplacent encore de grandes quantités de roches. « Les améliorations en termes de remblayage des chambres et de chargement des camions étaient tout simplement incroyables », indiquait M. Wilson. « En outre, les vides créés par la méthode SLS nous permettent de déposer sous terre les stériles générés par le développement ; ainsi, plus besoin de les remonter à la surface. » Les machines utilisant moins de chevaux-puissance simplifient aussi les exigences en termes d’aérage de la mine. « Une

Cette mine fait partie des deux seuls principaux producteurs de palladium au monde ; les résultats les plus récents des travaux d’exploration de la société attenant à l’exploitation minière souterraine ont été publiés début avril ; la mine, située à une heure de route au nord-ouest de la baie Thunder, compte 613 employés. 86 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3


profil de projet étude que nous avons menée montre que pour le genre d’équipement imposant que nous avons dans la mine, l’aérage requiert une grande puissance. La méthode SLS nous a permis de répondre aux besoins en termes de productivité avec des machines plus petites, et de réduire la demande en aérage. » À l’automne dernier, la société atteint un autre tournant important. L’usine de concentration recommence à tourner à plein temps après un programme de fonctionnement en alternance de deux semaines sur quatre et ce, grâce à l’agrandissement de l’installation de gestion des résidus à la mine.

réellement la donne ; en effet, on peut maintenant voir où se trouvent tous les équipements, et observer ce qu’il se passe en temps réel », expliquait M. Wilson. Les retombées, expliquait M. Wilson, sont considérables. « En 35 ans d’expérience dans l’exploitation, on a observé pour la première fois au mois de février une production très régulière. Au jour le jour, nous ne sommes jamais tombés en dessous des 6 200 tonnes par jour. La production classique dans une mine connaît des hauts et des bas, des bons et des mauvais jours. » La société compte environ le même nombre d’employés en souterrain L’ADOPTION DU NUMÉRIQUE qu’en 2015, indiquait M. Wilson. Outre les changements au niveau de la « C’est une bonne nouvelle car nous méthode d’exploitation minière, la société avons augmenté notre production connaît également une révolution souterraine de 50 % depuis 2015, pour numérique. En tablant sur un réseau de atteindre plus de 6 000 tonnes par fibre optique installé dans la mine en 2015, jour ; cette année-là, notre production un certain nombre de technologies sont était de 3 000 à 4 000 tonnes par ajoutées, notamment des étiquettes d’iden- En 35 ans d’expérience jour. » Par ailleurs, la mine commence tification par radiofréquence (IFR) pour dans l’exploitation, des travaux d’essai avec un chargeurl’équipement et le personnel. « Cette on a observé pour la transporteur autonome de Sandvik année, nous élargissons notre réseau première fois au mois de dans l’espoir de réduire le temps d’imsouterrain et créons un réseau de densité février une production mobilisation dans les activités, par supérieure de manière à pouvoir localiser exemple au moment des changements très régulière. nos engins et notre personnel avec une de poste. M. Gallagher ajoutait que plus grande précision », expliquait David – J. Gallagher NAP explore également les possibilités Galea, directeur de l’excellence opéraqu’offre le transport automatisé jusqu’à tionnelle chez NAP. « Nous commençons la surface ; en effet, la société envisage également à envisager l’automatisation de procéder à l’extraction à grande souterraine. » échelle du minerai restant dans d’anciLes données opérationnelles sont maintenant accessibles en ennes zones minières plus proches de la surface. temps réel. « Cela n’englobe pas toutes les données que nous Si l’on observe les points forts de l’exercice 2017, on consouhaiterions aujourd’hui, mais certaines choses peuvent se state que la société parvient à surmonter les obstacles. La profaire en temps réel, comme le suivi de l’équipement et du per- duction souterraine pour l’année est de 5 198 tonnes par jour sonnel par exemple », indiquait M. Galea. « En termes de den- en moyenne, ce qui représente une augmentation de 39 % par sité de réseau, nous pouvons voir à quel endroit l’équipement rapport à l’année 2016, où la production moyenne était de passe les différents niveaux d’accès. Nous augmentons cette 3 736 tonnes par jour. Au dernier trimestre 2017, le taux de densité de manière à pouvoir observer les mouvements de production souterraine atteint 6 200 tonnes par jour. Le coût l’équipement entre les niveaux, ou à chaque niveau. » L’ex- de la production par tonne pour l’année est de 57 $, soit une ploitation étend son réseau aux zones supérieures également, baisse de 10 $. Le flux net de trésorerie de NAP est désormais où la société extrait des débris. « Le contrôle entourant les positif. activités de coordination a rendu le développement et l’organ« L’année 2017 a été décisive pour la société, mais je pense isation de notre calendrier quotidien plus homogènes », indi- que ce n’est que le début », indiquait M. Wilson. « Nous avons quait M. Galea. beaucoup de choses en préparation. » Les données sont envoyées dans une salle de commande Comme l’indiquait M. Galea, la société a encore beaucoup située en face des bureaux du directeur de la mine et du à faire. « On ne peut se contenter de dire que l’on a remis la directeur de l’entretien ; ainsi, la planification cadre mieux société sur pied et s’arrêter là », déclarait-il. « Ceci reviendrait avec les activités souterraines et les ajustements peuvent être à renoncer à profiter de toutes les portes qui s’ouvrent encore faits rapidement. « Cette nouvelle salle de commande change à nous. » ICM

May • Mai 2018 | 87


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May • Mai 2018 | 89


MINING LORE Heaven’s metals By Cecilia Keating

M

90 | CIM Magazine | Vol. 13, No. 3

Steve F. E. Cameron/Wikimedia

ining expeditions in als and gemstones including lapis ancient Egypt, where the lazuli, gold and carnelian. To make sun god Ra’s body was the beads, the meteoric metal was made of gold and miners had a carefully hammered into thin patron goddess in Hathor, were not sheets and then rolled into tubes. only motivated by economics and Tutankhamen’s tomb also included politics but seen as a necessary reliiron jewelry and daggers. gious duty. Egypt’s kings and queens While Ra was associated with hoarded iron they saw as sent from gold, Hathor, who was simultanethe heavens, and gold, silver and ously his mother, daughter and wife, gemstones extracted in state-run was the patron saint of miners. Temmines across the region to promote ples were erected to her at most mintheir own semi-divine status. ing camps, including turquoise, The Temple of Hathor in Dendera Ra was said to have hair made copper and malachite mines in the from lapis lazuli, bones of silver or iron, and was often referred Sinai, copper mines in Timna (now southern Israel), and to as a “mountain of gold” on account of his golden flesh. As a gneiss quarries in the southern Egyptian desert. result, gold had great religious significance: it symbolized eterThe remains of a 12th-century BC temple to Hathor still nal life and was used in royal funerary equipment – including stand near the ancient copper, turquoise and malachite mines masks, resins, ornaments, coffins and garments – to guarantee at Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai. Egyptologists believe miners rulers’ smooth transition to the afterlife as immortal gods. camped out in dug-out rock caves nearby so Hathor could tell In royal tombs dating from the New Kingdom period (16th them the whereabouts of turquoise while they dreamt. Comto 11th century BC), the sarcophagus chamber was known as memorative stones and slabs left by mining exhibitions in the the “house of gold.” The sister goddesses Isis and Nephthys temple were dedicated to the goddess, “our lady of were often inscribed at the bottom of royal coffins, mourning turquoise.” prostrate on the hieroglyphic sign for gold. Inscriptions at the temple to Hathor at her cult centre in The lavish tomb of 14th-century BC King Tutankhamen Dendera reveal ancient Egyptians’ broader cosmological take was crammed with gold items. Three coffins were nestled on mining. In the “silver chamber,” kneeling figures representinside each other, and the innermost one was made of solid ing Egypt’s different metal-producing regions offer gold, gold and weighed 110 kilograms. Tutankhamen’s elaborate turquoise, jasper, calcite, copper, carnelian, galena, green death mask weighed over 10 kg and was created from two feldspar, lapis lazuli and silver to the goddess. Hieroglyphic sheets of hammered gold. There were also miniature gold text explains that the offerings to Hathor allowed the temple to coffins holding his internal organs. function and exist, in the same way mining and the accumuGold was central to the concept of sacred kingship, where lation of minerals was central to maintaining the harmony of kings claimed to be direct descendants of Ra, and intermedi- the universe itself. aries between mankind and the gods. As such, kings initially Experts believe Hathor’s popularity with miners is at least kept a monopoly on gold items like furniture, weapons, partly derived from her role as patron saint of sycamore and clothes, jewelry and utensils. However, there is evidence that acacia trees. Ancient prospectors believed the presence of acafrom the Middle Kingdom (21st century BC) onwards this cias indicated copper and lead ores underneath and used the privilege was extended to high-ranking court officials, generals trees as markers for new exploration ventures. Acacia wood and priests. was also used for pit props in gold mines. Iron was also revered by the ancient Egyptians. Many hisThe wealth of mineral resources in ancient Egypt was legtorians believe it was more prized than gold because it was endary among contemporary civilizations. In the 14th century scarce and fell from the sky in the form of meteorites – seem- BC, a Mesopotamian king pressed his ally pharaoh Amenhotep III ingly a gift from the celestial gods. Iron smelting was not to send him more gold because “gold occurs in Egypt like sand invented until sixth century BC, so meteorites were the only on the road.’’ All the same, ancient Egyptians mined very little source of the metal available. In hieroglyphic language it was of the precious metal by today’s standards. A 2001 study esticalled ‘ba-en-pet’ which translates as metal from heaven. mated that only 6,000 kg of gold was produced in 3,000 years A necklace dating from 3,200 BC highlights iron’s high of Ancient Egyptian civilization. In comparison, 163,000 kg of status. Iron beads were strung alongside other precious met- gold was produced in Canada in 2017 alone. CIM


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CIM Magazine May 2018  

Creative solutions to mining’s skills shortage Project Profile: North American Palladium's Lac des Iles mine The growing rate of innovation...

CIM Magazine May 2018  

Creative solutions to mining’s skills shortage Project Profile: North American Palladium's Lac des Iles mine The growing rate of innovation...