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ONTARIO Mining Review

Spring 2017

Change is in the air

Canadian mining industry readies and adapts in response to climate change

A new tomorrow

Coping mechanisms in troubling economic times


Achieving rapid development in underground mines

Fall Protection For Tools

Gravity defied.

Dropping tools has consequences. Take gravity out of the equation with 3M™ DBI-SALA® Fall Protection for Tools.

3M Science. Applied to Life.™ 3M, 3M Science. Applied to Life., and DBI-SALA are trademarks of 3M. Used under license in Canada. © 2017, 3M. All rights reserved. 170207834 E BA-17-23021

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ONTARIO Mining Review

Reliable pH/ORP measurement in metallurgical applications...........6 Message from the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle..............................................................................9

Advertising Sales: Ross James, Dan Roberts, Gary Seamans

Message from the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association president, Bob Chataway.........................................................10

Š Copyright 2017

Achieving rapid development in underground mines........................11

Ontario Mining Review. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in and the reliability of the source, the publisher in no way guarantees nor warrants the information and is not responsible for errors, omissions, or statements made by advertisers. Articles and advertisements in this publication are not solicitations to buy, hold or sell specific securities; they are for information only. Opinions and recommendations made by contributors or advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher, its directors, officers or employees. Investors should be aware that risk is associated with any security, strategy or investment and are advised to seek the counsel of a competent investment advisor before making any investment, or utilizing any information contained in this publication. Subscription, advertising and circulation information can be obtained from the publisher. Publications mail agreement #40934510 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3L 0G5 Email:

How one company used lean manufacturing to cut waste by 37 per cent...............................................................................12 Turning to satellite for reliable voice and data communications in the mining industry.........................................13 Strength in Numbers: Building gender diversity in mining.............................................................................15

Change is in the air:

Canadian mining industry readies and adapts in response to climate change.......17

Index to Advertisers 3M.........................................................................................................................................................IFC, 3 & 4 Avjet.............................................................................................................................................................. IBC ALS Minerals Division...................................................................................................................................7 BDC....................................................................................................................................................................12 Corriveau J.L. & Ass. Inc.............................................................................................................................16 IC Controls.........................................................................................................................................................6 Major Drilling Group.....................................................................................................................................8 Miller Technology Incorporated.......................................................................................................OBC Norske Drilling..............................................................................................................................................10 Northern Survey Supply..........................................................................................................................16 Spectrum Telecom Group Ltd...............................................................................................................13 Watts, Griffis & McOuat Limited...............................................................................................................7 Weilers Law.......................................................................................................................................................7

PRINTED IN CANADA 02/2017 Spring 2017


Aiming for a Zero-Drop Policy Fall protection for tools for a safer work environment Protecting your workers on the job should be a top priority, but they are not the only ones who risk injury on a daily basis: those walking and working near your worksite are also in danger. Currently, there are over 27,000 recorded incidents of people being struck by falling objects every year in Canada, which is equivalent to an average of 135 instances per day during the work year.

How can this statistic be lowered? By taking proper preventive measures and implementing a dropped object plan on each and every worksite.

Managing risk rather than results Fall protection for tools is not a new concern; it has been an important topic in the industry for over 100 years. At the turn of the 20th century, the New York Times published an article about dropped objects, in which it described placards posted on a bridge to caution iron workers to handle tools with care in order to avoid dropping them into the river. Still today, the most common strategy is to use signage to warn workers and passersby of the potential dangers that might occur when approaching a certain area. The issue? Putting up warning signs, wearing hard hats, or using plywood boards to protect the sidewalk below might seem like an effective strategy, but it does not work 100% of the time. Why not? First, when objects fall, their trajectory isn’t always predictable. However, the main reason these measures lack effectiveness is that they focus on protecting people and surfaces from dropped objects, rather than addressing the source of the problem. Striving to reduce the number of dropped objects is key to truly eliminating the issue at its source. 3M is a trademark of 3M. Used under license in Canada. Š 2016, 3M. All rights reserved.

The solution: dropped object prevention plans More and more contractors and workplaces are adopting dropped object plans which include tool/ object-tethering processes to ensure the safety of their worksites. General consensus indicates that within the next few years, legislation requiring the implementation of dropped object plans are expected to pass within the industry. Why not be one step ahead and take the proper preventative measures now? You can help reduce the risk by formalizing and implementing a dropped object plan. This plan would require workers to tether their tools in accordance with the dropped object plan. In recent years, there has been a veritable rise in technology where working at heights is concerned. From small pouches intended for storing nuts and bolts, and tethers designed specifically for hand and power tools, to safe buckets, adjustable radio holsters, and hard hat coil tethers, there are various intelligently engineered accessories that can help improve the level of safety on your worksite. In fact, over 90 percent of tools used on industry sites can be tethered using attachment points—a proven system for tools, equipment and objects weighing up to 80 pounds. Not only can the use of tool tethering solutions help prevent accidents on the worksite; but they may also help reduce the cost of asset or equipment replacement.

A safer environment within your reach As an industry leader in fall protection, 3M has leveraged its technology used in protecting the body to create product solutions that are built for all industries and designed ergonomically for workers to protect objects, tools and equipment. The solutions are thoroughly tested, effective and easy to use. The goal? To help you create a safer work environment. But this requires putting processes into place and choosing the right tethering plan for your specific needs: 3M can assist you in creating and implementing a dropped object plan tailored to your specific site and project needs. Defy gravity and strive for zero drops with a drop prevention plan.

Contact us to learn more about how 3M can help you create a safer work environment by developing on-site plans.

References Caldwell, M. (2016). The Sky Isn’t Falling (And Your Tools Shouldn’t Either). EHS Today. Retrieved from on Sept. 21, 2016. Gravity defied. 3M Science. Applied to Life. DBI SALA, Fall Protection For Tools. (2016). Retrieved from AWCBC Online Community - NWISP Report (Data 2011- 2013) Gravity defied. 3M Science. Applied to Life. DBI SALA, Fall Protection For Tools. (2016). Retrieved from VOC, Industry Knowledge Tools up to 80lbs.

3M is a trademark of 3M. Used under license in Canada. © 2016, 3M. All rights reserved.

Reliable pH/ORP measurement in metallurgical applications Hydrometallurgical refining applications require pH/ORP sensors to withstand harsh environments while maintaining accuracy. Processes such as solvent extraction (e.g. copper, nickel, zinc) and cyanide leaching (e.g. gold and silver) require pH and ORP to be at specific levels to yield the desired chemical species. With declining ore grades, extractive processes are becoming increasingly aggressive. Under these challenging physical and chemical conditions, pH may need to be controlled as precisely as ±0.05. Because each process is unique and tailored to specific ores, it is critical to scrutinize every application to ensure the instrumentation used in them is appropriately configured to maximize service life and accuracy. IC Controls has designed and manufactured sensors for these applications for more than 35 years – its flagship 642 pH/ORP sensor product, purpose-built for metallurgical applications, illustrates the evolution required to meet the demands of refining applications. Frequently this product achieves two to three times the life of other sensors. Sensor size influences service life and durability of pH/ ORP sensors to a great extent. Designed from the outset for full submersion in metallurgical applications, the 642 sensor has a large one-inch (25.4 millimetres) diameter


Ontario Mining Review

reference junction to resist plugging. The large sensor diameter in combination with its length (12 inches/305 millimetres) makes for a large internal volume to accommodate electrolyte, as well as sensor options such as an integrated preamp. Since electrolyte depletes over time, electrolyte volume is critical to sensor life. The design flexibility and protection afforded by volume within the sensor has allowed integrated preamps to be developed for use up to 105 °C / 221°F. Incorporating the preamp in the sensor allows for preservation of the measurement signal, especially when transmitted over long distances. Constructed from heavy-gauge extrusion-grade engineering polymer, the large sensor housing acts to protect the sensor internals, as well as guard the exposed pH electrode glass tip. While heavy-duty construction of the components that house the glass helps shield it from damage, the geometry and the composition of the glass itself also contribute to its mechanical properties. Multiple glass configurations are available in the 642 product and the specific selection is based on process chemistry, the presence of abrasives or debris, as well as desired accuracy. In recent years, the industry has undergone changes to eliminate lead for environmental reasons, which has resulted in new lead-free glass composi-

tions. This move had posed new challenges in the processing of glass for pH sensors which had to be overcome through extensive testing and development. These formulations are now validated in 642 sensors to allow the flexibility to use lead-free glass without compromising service life or accuracy in aggressive environments. As an electrochemical measurement approach, pH/ ORP sensors require electrolyte to operate. For the widest operating temperature range, typically a plasticized, or gel, electrolyte is recommended for the 642 and has the added advantage of inhibiting the ingress of poisoning ions. In some cases though, such as a requirement for high accuracy, IC Controls has found that using a liquid electrolyte can be advantageous. The challenge is to manage the tendency for the liquid to convert to gas as temperature approaches the boiling point. Sensor performance can be pushed to these physical limits by careful attention to the mechanical integrity of the reference assembly. Moreover, the 642 pH/ORP product family, like the metallurgical processes it is intended for, is tailored for a specific purpose. From its physical size to its material selection and available options, it is designed for long service life and reliable measurements in the most aggressive of processes.

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Spring 2017



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Message from the

Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle


e are now more than a year into the hard work of implementing Ontario’s renewed Mineral Development Strategy, a 10-year blueprint to keep our mining sector growing well into the 21st century. We are already making great strides on key goals of the strategy, focusing on sustainability and innovation to keep our province at the forefront of global mining. Our first-ever Mining Innovation Summit – held in November 2016 – highlighted the incredible talent and potential in Ontario’s mineral sector and brought government, industry, academia, thought leaders, entrepreneurs and research and innovation organizations together to exchange knowledge and ideas, fostering further partnership and innovation throughout the industry. Continuous innovation, community readiness and collaborative approaches are fundamental to the sustainable development of

mineral resources and maintaining our position as a global leader. We launched the Junior Exploration Assistance Program, which has supported more than 50 mineral exploration projects across Ontario. It provides a rebate for junior companies conducting or planning exploration work in the province. To further enhance mineral exploration, geologists with the Ontario Geological Survey partnered with the Ontario Prospectors Association to deliver the first Prospecting Training Program course at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay in October 2016. More courses are scheduled to run this year. The training introduces members of the public to the information and skills they need to become prospectors in Ontario. The Aboriginal Participation Fund is helping indigenous communities prepare for a stronger role in the mineral exploration sector, nurture relationships with industry and realize greater benefits from local mining activities. Last fall, we introduced legislation that, if passed, will continue to modernize Ontario’s Mining Act. It would allow us to implement online claim registration as well as a province-wide integrated land management system that would make it easier for everyone in the mineral exploration sector to manage their mining land holdings. We continue to invest in this key economic sector, with more than $170 million invested across the industry into mining innovation, completing the modernization process and rehabilitating abandoned mine sites. Our investments include $40 million for initiatives

supporting Mining Act modernization. We have also made permanent the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program with $120 million budgeted annually to help major employers in the north remain competitive. With a strong history in mining, an abundance of mineral resources and an attractive investment climate to build on, the Mineral Development Strategy will help us ensure that Ontario capitalizes on the immense opportunities in our province’s mineral sector. It will articulate new initiatives that stimulate exploration activity and promote the discovery of new deposits that will lead to the mines of tomorrow. Mineral exploration and development is vital to the prosperity and quality of life of everyone in Ontario. We are committed to ensuring the province’s mineral sector continues to grow while helping indigenous peoples build the capacity to meaningfully participate in and benefit from new mineral development opportunities. Now more than ever, Ontario is poised to build on more than a century of success in this crucial sector. We are working harder than ever to ensure our mineral sector remains competitive and innovative by attracting jobs and investment, increasing mineral discovery rates and fostering a strong culture of innovation. I am proud of everything we’ve accomplished so far, and excited to see the bright future in our province’s mineral sector. Together we will continue to spur innovation in exploration and mining that will drive investment, growth and discovery in Ontario for generations to come. Spring 2017


Message from the

Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association president, Bob Chataway


he Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association (NWOPA) would like to welcome delegates to the 2017 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) big convention. I know you will have an experience to remember and learn about new discoveries or some potential geological scenarios to follow up on. Northwestern Ontario has some of the most prospective ground in Ontario and a labour force of prospectors, exploration crews and supportive Ontario Geological Survey and Ministry of Northern Development and Mines teams with valuable local experience. Talk to them on the convention floor and maybe your next project will evolve. This year, Peter Moses will be receiving the PDAC’s Skookum Jim Award. Peter has a long and distinguished history of working in the mineral industry and encouraging the employment of indigenous workers. Peter has been and continues to be involved in educating

First Nations leaders on how best to work with the mining companies exploring in Northwestern Ontario. NWOPA would like to offer our sincere congratulations to Peter for receiving the Skookum Jim Award. You are a very deserving recipient and excellent ambassador for Northwestern Ontario. Coming up in April is the annual NWOPA/OPA Symposium in Thunder Bay where the scope of the convention has increased from a Northwestern Ontario focus to a province-wide focus. Check the websites for both associations ( and www.ontario for information. The expanded format should provide an exceptional opportunity for new and old exploration companies working in Ontario to meet the prospectors with the properties of interest. The 2017 convention marks the 100th anniversary of the first prospectors’ meeting that was held in Port Arthur, Ont. (now Thunder Bay). That meeting discussed the potential of iron pyrites and copper and gold deposits. Interestingly, the subject of Mining Royalties imposed by the gov-

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Achieving rapid development in underground mines By Shannon Katary

The Mine Development Canopy System (MDCS) is the first phase of CEMI’s strategic project on rapid development in underground mines. CEMI and Nordic Minesteel successfully complete Phase 2 testing.


EMI – Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation – is now in its 10th year. It continues to co-ordinate and direct step-change innovation through the strategic areas of exploration, deep mining, mine productivity, underground mine construction and environmental impact. CEMI’s objective is to lead innovation to help generate significant improvements in the performance of mine operations in Ontario, Canada and around the world. In the last 30 years, advance rates of development headings in underground mines have declined steadily. This decline was driven by two factors: the increased size of access drifts (tunnels) to accommodate larger production equipment and the need for more support to ensure safety and stability. Both of these make the ground control component of the development cycle longer. The result is slower advance rates, increased capital cost, an increase in the time to first production from the new ore-body and a depressed ore-body net present value (NPV). Phase 1: Mine Development Canopy System The Mine Development Canopy System (MDCS) is the first phase of CEMI’s strategic project on rapid development in underground mines. The primary goal of the Rapid Development Project is to reduce the time to first production in new underground ore-bodies and reduce overall mining cost by increasing the effective utilization of the face, not the utilization of the equipment. In addition, it improves safety and productivity. CEMI’s MDCS provides a physical barrier to the rock-related hazards in development headings in high-stress conditions, enabling simultaneous activities in the heading and effectively reducing the development cycle time. Current drift development prac-

tice generally involves four sequential activities: removal of blasted rock (mucking), installation of the ground control system (bolting), drilling the face holes and charging them with explosives. This four-stage sequence of activities requires the re-entry of four pieces of equipment, and critical time is often lost between the re-entries. No face activity can be carried out until the ground control is complete and in some cases, support has to be installed on the face of each heading after each blast. This increases the duration of the development cycle and further reduces the advance rate. The robust, engineered, movable canopy can be brought into the development heading to protect personnel and equipment from rock falls and rock-bursts and allow simultaneous activities in the heading. The MDCS is comprised of three individual canopies. The front canopy, with a face shield when necessary, will protect the face drills and the drill carrier from rock-related hazards and allow equipment to return to the face as soon as the mucking cycle is complete. The canopy is designed to allow for the necessary lookout to drill the wall and roof control holes. The back canopy protects the equipment and operators and allows ground support activity to be completed while the face is being drilled and charged. The middle canopy protects workers as they travel between the front and back canopies. CEMI has developed the MDCS for single-heading lateral development. Functionality and strength tests have been performed on prototypes both above and underground. Nordic Minesteel Technology (NMT) of North Bay, Ont., has been involved with the design and testing of the system components. The System is in the final stages of pre-commercialization, undergoing operational field testing, to be completed in 2017. NMT will construct commercial units and will market the MDCS to the mining industry. Spring 2017


How one company used lean manufacturing to cut waste by 37 per cent G

rowing a business by 25 per cent while reducing waste from production by 37 per cent might seem unattainable to many manufacturers. But not for E.T.M. Industries of Renfrew, Ont. Thanks to an operational efficiency drive, the company achieved those results in just 18 months. Today, with 20 lean manufacturing projects underway, ranging from improving setup time to reducing inventory, E.T.M. Industries has increased overall productivity by 22 per cent. The company manufactures precision-machined components, largely for the aerospace, mining and defense industries.

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A serious look at operations “From a sales point of view, our business was doing well,” says vice-president J.P. Leclerc. “But we knew we might crash and burn if we didn’t take a serious look at how we were running our company from an operational point of view.” “We had to make sure we could handle our growth,” he says. The growth led the company to increase its staff to 100 employees from about 65 in four years. “We needed to make sure that we had solid processes in place, especially for people who were less experienced,” Leclerc says. Identified priorities In the first phase of the project, a BDC operational efficiency expert conducted interviews on site to see how E.T.M. Industries ran its plant and thoroughly analyze its processes. “This enabled us to come up with a strategic plan and identify priorities where we could achieve the most significant results as quickly as possible,” Leclerc says. One important part of the exercise is known as a Kaizen Blitz. It involves intensive brainstorming sessions with line employees and managers to find solutions to common problems on the plant floor. “Sometimes it could be something as basic as looking at the distance people were walking from raw materials to the equipment line,” Leclerc says. Easy, fast improvements The company was able to identify 87 “just-do-its” — activities where easy improvements can be immediately put in place. One key recommendation in the plan was to accelerate the training of less experienced employees in order to improve productivity and reduce waste. “Companies such as E.T.M. Industries are looking for quantifiable results that show their efforts are paying off,” says David Raymond, a BDC consulting senior partner. “It’s very motivating for entrepreneurs to see a direct and positive impact on their bottom line.” Leclerc adds, “We have been able to get everybody on the same page in the plant. And that’s been invaluable for a growing company.”

2017-01-23 11:50 AM

Turning to satellite for reliable voice and data communications in the mining industry By Fintan Robb, director of marketing for Globalstar Canada Satellite Co.


or resource-based industries competing in today’s data-driven, interconnected, global marketplace, communications networks play a critical role in the success of day-to-day operations. From keeping remote workers safe and productive to business continuity planning, companies are constantly looking for new ways to build reliability, speed and affordability into their communications systems. Among the challenges facing resource industries such as mining and mineral exploration is that operations take place in remote areas

that are not served by cellular networks. In fact, according to estimates from the CRTC, only 20 per cent of Canada’s landmass is served by cellular network.1 Approximately eight million square kilometres is beyond the reach of traditional cellular and GSM communications networks. As a result, mining and mineral exploration companies have been increasingly adopting the new generation of satellite voice and data communications solutions to connect their workers and assets, and ensure operational uptime.




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Remote worker safety and productivity Many provinces in Canada have implemented lone worker regulations which require employers to ensure communications contact with any worker spending time alone in the field. In the past, this was often addressed with two-way radios, but in the event there was no response from a remote worker, it was almost impossible for employers to determine the worker’s location and needs in a timely manner. Now there are a range of affordable satellite solutions which are helping companies address lone worker safety requirements, including satellite voice, hot spots and tracking products that provide reliable connectivity beyond cellular. If a critical piece of equipment needs to be replaced or a worker becomes injured at a remote location, a satellite phone can provide a reliable method of voice and data connectivity, completely independent of cellular. Satellite phones can also be used for remote project management such as connecting with control centres, suppliers and subcontractors, filing project reports and receiving work orders. For workers who are away from home at mining camps for extended periods of time, a satellite phone can also boost morale by providing an easy and affordable way to stay in touch with family and friends. The new generation of fixed and mobile satellite phones are also taking operations well beyond simple voice functions. Globalstar, for example, offers affordable mobile and fixed satellite phones to keep remote workers online and connected including Internet, email and voicemail. The GSP-1700 mobile satellite phone connects users virtually anywhere in the world with crystal-clear voice quality and data access. Fixed satellite phone systems, such as the GSP-2900, provides workers access to satellite voice and data services. In addition, as many as five jacks can be connected to provide dial-tone to any standard or cordless phone. Users can also access remote terminated data, an easy way to communicate with monitoring devices to track and monitor equipment in remote locations. Both solutions also serve as a redundant communications system for business continuity, providing temporary backup communications for any location. To maximize productivity for work crews, there are powerful new satellite data hot spots such as Sat-Fi which enables up to eight users to connect beyond cellular using their own smartphone or Wi-Fi enabled tablet. Should an accident or equipment failure occur at a remote site, workers can easily connect via satellite with emergency services or contact head office using email, SMS text messaging and voice services from their preferred device. In Northern Ontario, Spectrum Telecom Group Ltd. is a wireless solutions company that is known for innovation. It integrates communication technologies to satisfy remote voice, data and video communication challenges with a focus on the resource based industries. According to Shelley Fox, corporate sales manager, mining and resource industry customers are increasingly looking for flexible satellite communications solutions that are affordable and can be used for a variety of basic or advanced applications.


Ontario Mining Review

“Our customers are looking for satellite voice, data and GPS solutions including mobile and fixed satellite phones, as well as tracking devices for lone workers and data hot spots for work crews in remote mining camps. These workers need reliable ways to stay in touch with family as well as to send data reports and ensure emergency communications beyond cellular. We’re proud to use the Globalstar satellite product line – it’s easy to use, dependable and the solutions can be basic or for advanced use.” Business continuity planning Business emergency preparedness plans must include backup communications networks to ensure continuity of communications when primary networks fail or are disrupted. They must be easy to deploy, user-friendly and able to create fast and robust connections. The equipment should be capable of multiple modes of communication including voice, data and geolocation-based messaging, regardless of the scenario. Satellite communications are an essential component for critical telecom network planning. A satellite system should be emphasized and included in the early planning of these initiatives to ensure there is a backup communications solution when the terrestrial network is damaged or destroyed. Without a satellite component to any future emergency response communications network, emergency communications will be rendered useless when the terrestrial network sustain damage or is overloaded. Satellite based voice and data solutions such as the GSP-1700 satellite phone, Sat-Fi satellite data hot spot and GSP-2900 fixed satellite phone system are all designed to reliably address the rigorous communications demands within resource industries today. From remote worker safety to business continuity, the new generation of satellite solutions is raising the bar for productivity while enabling companies to better compete in the global, data-driven marketplace. Fintan Robb is director of marketing for Globalstar Canada, the leader in satellite messaging and emergency notification technologies. Fintan can be reached by email at For more information on Globalstar voice and data solutions, visit For more information on Spectrum Telecom Group visit www.spectrum Footnote 1 This stat was calculated based on the CRTC’s estimate that cell coverage extends to 20% of Canada and that Canada’s total land mass is 9.98 million sq. kilometres. CRTC report, section 5.5: “Wireless networks cover approximately 20% of Canada’s geographic land mass” http:// cmr5.htm.

Strength in Numbers

Building gender diversity in mining By Sarah Gauen and Courtnay Hughes


iHR’s latest national labour market report details that in 2016 women accounted for 17 per cent of the Canadian mining workforce - only a slight increase from the 14 per cent noted over 10 years ago and substantially below the overall Canadian workforce at 48 per cent. We can see things are changing, but when we look at the overall representation the impacts are fairly minimal. This slow pace of change isn’t consistent across all jobs; in fact, the mining industry faces broad underrepresentation of women layered over specific occupational gaps. When we compare the representation of women in occupational categories in mining to the representation in all industries, we see that gender gaps are prevalent across occupational categories in the sector. Even in occupations that traditionally have low female representation, such as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related professions, the mining industry has not attracted a representative proportion of women into the sector. The underrepresentation of women has been causing increasing levels of alarm in and out of the sector - a developing appetite for addressing gender equity in mining has resulted in an upswing of activity, research, conference panels and initiatives joining the chorus of those working on the issues at hand. Recently, MiHR published a national study on gender in mining, Strengthening Mining’s Talent Alloy: Exploring Gender Inclusion, which looked at the experiences of women and men in mining and provides insights on the challenges and solutions that are available to foster greater inclusion. Key findings include: Mining workplaces are perceived and experienced differently by men and women: In general, the respondents to this study indicated that their mining workplaces were characterized as respectful. However, women who had

less positive experiences than men were more likely to report seeing put-downs, harassment and a lack of team atmosphere. Work-life integration is a challenge for everyone: The ability to integrate work with personal and family demands continues to be a challenge for women – particularly in remote locations and FIFO assignments. However, there is a growing recognition that these issues are not “women’s issues” as men are taking larger family responsibilities outside of work and millennials have greater expectations around flexibility. Workplace culture perceptions impact recruitment and retention: The women in this research were more likely than men to expect to leave the sector within the next five years. Not surprisingly, survey respondents who were less comfortable in their current mining workplace were more likely to leave the sector within the next five years. Accessing mining networks remains a barrier to greater workforce diversity: Finding out about job openings and career opportunities in mining is a continued challenge. Having a personal network appears to be critically important – yet women highlighted that it is difficult for them access these networks. Workplace harassment is harming min-

ing workers: Overall, the survey results indicated that in many workplaces, harassment incidents are infrequent – more than half of the survey respondents reported – that they “never” or “almost never” see harassment, bullying or violence in their workplace. Nonetheless, one in five “see” it once a month or more, and one in eight “experienced” it once month or more. Almost a third of women respondents (32 per cent) said that they have experienced harassment, bullying or violence in their workplace in the last five years; less than half as many men (16 per cent) said the same. It has taken time, effort and some challenging conversations, but the voices and message of industry diversity champions, researchers and critical advocacy work by groups is being heard. Many mining companies are digging into the root causes of these unintended barriers and committing to making real change. MiHR’s Gender Equity in Mining (GEM) initiative has engaged champions who have committed to making changes in their companies including revising recruiting polices, diversifying hiring panels, considering the unique needs of indigenous women and using inclusive language in their job postings to name a few. Helen Francis, chair of the GEM taskforce and Vale’s general manager of business effectiveness, beSpring 2017


lieves “it is both an obligation and in my best interest to champion gender diversity. I want to work in an industry and company that will make the best decisions for today and for future generations to come - we won’t have the best if we only attract a certain homogeneous sector of society.”

Need for continued insights and action MiHR’s recent gender and inclusion activities have revealed that many companies are at different points on their journey towards gender inclusion. There are still many topics that we do not fully understand including the


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gender pay gap, the need for targeted solutions, the impacts of mid-career attrition and intersections between race/ethnicity/disability and gender. And those insights we have captured in our research still require collaborative action from a variety of industry stakeholders. This involves all of us asking some tough questions– and ultimately determining how we would define success. What collectively, are our gender equity goals? What are we working towards? What actions are most likely to get us there? If you are interested in being part of this discussion, MiHR is currently developing a national strategy and research agenda on diversity and inclusion and launched a diversity in mining online community in October 2016. Add your voice to the conversation, and your conviction to actions that will impact equity in mining. Connect with Courtnay Hughes, manager of HR research ( or Sarah Gauen, manager of diversity initiatives ( for further information.


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Ontario Mining Review

Change is in the air

Canadian mining industry readies and adapts in response to climate change By Melanie Franner


anada is one of the largest mining nations in the world. According to Facts & Figures 2015 (produced by the Mining Association of Canada), Canada produces over 60 minerals and metals. The industry employs some 375,000 people and contributed $57 billion to the country’s GDP in 2014. It is also one of several industries that may be impacted significantly by global climate change. “We’re already seeing the impacts of climate change, such as the increase in temperatures and changes in rainfall intensity,” states Al Douglas, director of climate change adaptation at MIRARCO Mining Innovation. “The mining industry does have it challenges when it comes to climate change, as do other industries.” Douglas cites the example of tailings ponds as one area of mining operations that could be impacted by climate change. “If we experience drier conditions, then it can lead to more dust and more oxidization of the tailings,” he says. “If we experience wetter conditions, it could mean overtopping of the dams.” Those companies relying upon surface water for their processing activities or those who share assets (such as transportation and power) with local communities are also susceptible to changes in climate change. “Changes in climate bring different kinds of impacts,” adds Douglas. “We will experience it in different ways. Drought in northern Ontario, for example, can create larger risks for forest fires. Too much rainfall may cause flooding, which can have an impact on open-pit mining. There are certain aspects within mining that are at greater risk to climate change.”

Toronto flood (July 8, 2013).

In the books A 2009 study released by the David Suzuki Foundation, entitled Climate Change and Canadian Mining: Opportunities for Adaptation, identified several examples of ways that the mining industry has shown its vulnerability to climate change. These include: • A multi-year drought in Saskatchewan in the late 1980s that resulted in the Chaplin sodium sulphate mine nearly halting production due to reduced water levels; • In 2005, a similar situation in Marathon, Ont., resulted in several mines reducing water intake and finding alternative resources; • Hot and dry temperatures in recent years have decreased the availability of water in southern Quebec, forcing gravel

quarries to curtail production in order to abide by dust-suppression regulations; The 1998 ice storm cut off power to several mines in Quebec for three to four weeks; Warm winter temperatures in 2006 led to ice-road closures in the Northwest Territories, costing diamond mines millions of dollars for fuel and equipment to be transported by air; In 2008, heavy rains in the Yukon flooded four kilometres of the Minto mine access road and forced the company to release excess untreated water directly into the Yukon River system; and Lower water levels in the Great Lakes have necessitated smaller shipping loads of metals and non-metals. Spring 2017


As a result of these extreme-weather situations, more and more mining companies are beginning to think about climate change and how it can impact their operations. “I think mining companies are beginning to appreciate that these challenges are becoming more significant,” states Douglas. “Our previous assumption that climate change is static was not correct. Companies now have to start thinking of how to incorporate these changes and how they can assess the risks.” An industry in flux Although climate change may be more top-of-mind today than ever before, it isn’t necessarily getting the recognition it deserves within the mining community. A survey of 26 Canadian mining companies, undertaken by the Mining Association of Canada and documented in a 2014 report entitled Climate Adaptation in the Canadian Mining Sector, found that one-third of those polled consider climate

mation and tools related to the subject. A few companies reported difficulties in obtaining accurate and sufficient scientific data and the majority of respondents felt that better projections of future climate changes – along with information on climate change impacts – would be useful. Another key finding of the study had to do with the role of government and industry. More than half of those surveyed said they would like to see better projections of future climate changes and impacts by region in order to predict the effects on their particular operations. They would also like to see examples of good practices, information on risk-assessment methods and tools; adaption-planning frameworks; and sample business cases. There is also broad support for the government to play a Above: Al Douglas, Director of larger role, including support for climate change adaptation policies, incentives, and regulaat MIRARCO Mining Innovation. tions for climate change to “deBelow: Pointe Au Baril flood risk” the mining industry. (2008).

change a medium to low-level risk for their business operations. Another one-third reported that they have committed resources to understanding how they will adapt their operations to deal with climate change, with the most common nature of the actions considered or taken having to do with engineering and design, followed by infrastructure upgrades, and changes to business procedures. Of note in the survey is the fact that many companies believed there was a lack of infor18

Ontario Mining Review

The way forward Despite the fact that climate change continues to be a major topic, it would appear the Canadian mining industry has not yet fully embraced the potential impacts of these potential events to their operations. The hope, however, is that this will change. “There is a lot more attention in general being given to the topic of climate change and a lot of information is being shared between government and non-governmental organizations,” says Douglas. “But what has to hap-

pen is we have to have more sharing of this information and we need to see more adaptive planning happening within companies.” Positive actions that Douglas believes should already be happening within the industry include detailed analysis of the variables (such as flooding). “Companies should put to use their engineering skills to study the intensity of rainfall and other extreme weather events,” he advises. “Technical data on intensities can be used to support better decision making in companies, such as the need to build better tailings ponds or the need to at least provide better maintenance of those tailings ponds.” Such actions, believes Douglas, will make companies more resilient and better able to withstand the risks in their area to safeguard business continuity. It will also work to safeguard and protect the community and ecosystem, he adds. “There are wins all around for why companies should be doing these things now,” he states. “Companies can incorporate this data at a local level and can extract data from other levels to look at their supply chains in other areas in order to determine how climate change could affect the flow of materials, sale of raw materials, movement of goods, and other critical processes.” Although there remains a great deal of work to do, Douglas believes that the occurrence of ongoing extreme weather events will continue to draw increased attention to the topic. “I think we’ll see more pick up due to some of the more extreme weather conditions that seem to be happening more regularly now,” he adds. “It’s just a matter of time before companies will be forced to think about how these changes will impact them and to develop adaptation strategies to minimize negative impacts to infrastructure and operations.” Of course, in the end, one of the big drivers will be the bottom line. “When the risks become material, when companies want to safeguard their profitability and the safety of their employees – that’s when we will see them push themselves and adapt,” concludes Douglas. “That’s when real changes will begin to occur.”

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Ontario Mining Review Spring 2017