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SET TING A GOLD STANDARD FOR MINING IT INNOVATION

www.miningglobal.com

OC T OB E R 2 0 19

Inclusion and Diversity in Chile

BUILDING ON STRONG FOUNDATIONS Alacer Gold assures long-term sustainability goals through world class expansion project in Turkey

Global Mining Companies


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FOREWORD

W

elcome to the October issue

owned copper giant is leading the

of Mining Global magazine!

way towards achieving equality in the

In this issue Mining Global explores

the Australian mining industry. AusIMM President Janine Herzig, PT Merdeka Copper Gold CEO Colin Moorhead and Austmine Chairman & Director Mark Read share

mining sector in Chile and beyond. “The materials we need for a greener economy, and to find new solutions, lie within the products the mining industry makes,” says Ontario Mining Association President John Hodgson, who explains

their insight into the chal-

the capabilities of the mining

lenges and opportunities

industry to deliver min-

ahead for the region.

erals and metals make

This month’s cover examines the relationship between the contractors and mining

modern life and the quest Stewart Beckman, Alacer Gold Corp

engineers who delivered the sulfide plant expansion project which will support Turkey’s Çöpler Gold Mine for the next 20 years. “Diversity is our pledge to reflect as a company what we should protect and defend as a society: respect for every human being.” We hear from Codelco’s Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Director, Irene Schlechter Kutscher and learn how the state-

for innovation possible. Also in this issue, Argo Natural Resources reveals

why DES technology could, and should, revolutionise the way metals and minerals are extracted. Do you have a story to tell? Email: daniel.brightmore@bizclikmedia.com to join the conversation. Enjoy the issue! Daniel Brightmore w w w.mi ni nggl o b a l. com

03


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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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CONTENTS

10 A bright future for Alacer

40

52


96

62

Events

72 100 Kinross Gold Corporation

82

114 Global mining companies

SSR Mining


10

WRITTEN BY

DAN BRIGHTMORE PRODUCED BY

RICHARD DEANE

OCTOBER 2019


11

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ALACER GOLD

The construction of the Çöpler Sulfide Plant is a game-changer for intermediate gold producer Alacer

T

he Çöpler Sulfide Expansion Project (CSEP) was completed on time and ~10% under its projected budget of $744mn.

The project was delivered 13 million hours Lost Time Injury (LTI) free, and with a Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) of 1.84 per million hours – a record that Chief Operating Officer 12

Stewart Beckman describes as a “stellar” achievement for the more than 3,000-strong team responsible for construction and the operations team, who are responsible for ramping up and running the new plant. The successful completion of the CSEP, combined with its operational oxide plant, will provide Alacer’s Çöpler Gold Mine with a strong foundation for at least the next 20 years. “For approximately 10 years we have produced gold by processing oxide ore through our heap leach plant. Underneath the oxide ores are sulfide ores that also contain gold, but gold that cannot be recovered by simple leaching. Nature converted the top of the deposit to oxide ore by slowly oxidising the sulfide ores. The construction of the Çöpler Sulfide Plant gives us the ability to accelerate the process and rapidly OCTOBER 2019


13

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WINNING THE GOLD METAL !

your local contact

more information

It‘s the teamwork that leads a project to success! Our expertise for your success in: Process studies Process related developments Finite element calculations Hardware solutions

EKATO Rühr- und Mischtechnik GmbH | Hohe-Flum-Str. 37 | 79650 Schopfheim | Germany | +49 7622 29-0 | info@ekato.com


Close collaboration with EKATO for the Çöpler Sulfide Expansion Project As for many other mineral processing projects, EKATO accompanied the Çöpler gold project over the last years. Already in the early design stages an intensive exchange and discussions between the end customer, engineering company and the equipment suppliers like EKATO took place. As the experience with other similar projects has shown in the past, this collaboration is increasingly limited to not just the equipment but to an extended scope of supply, which is appreciated by customers. In these cases, EKATO, with more than 85 years of experience in mixing technology and state-of-the-art testing equipment in its technical center, offers much more than just agitators. This additional scope can be quite extensive and cover all types of agitated applications in the plant flowsheet. For Anagold’s Çöpler Sulfide Expansion Project, EKATO designed and delivered agitators for all large agitated applications including the POX autoclaves‘ agitators. EKATO also performed several studies in its technical center. One of these series of tests was related to the optimum feed pipe locations and geometries in the first autoclave compartment. These tests in the model scale were then backed up by CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) studies which were carried out in-house as well. Other services included the assessment of slurry rheology data, supplied by other parties. The consideration of the appropriate slurry rheology is crucial for the proper operation of the agitators, especially for the large atmospheric tanks with capacities up to several thousand cubic meters. For this particular project, additional CFD simulations were prepared to double-check the designs of these tanks. EKATO’s capabilities also allow to extend this scope, provided during the design and construction phase, to the start-up and operation of the plant.

3D model of a world scale POX autoclave

Of course EKATO’s solutions are not limited to process related issues. The reliable mechanical design of the agitators, including the in-house manufactured mechanical seals and supply systems, ensures a maximum life time of the equipment with longest service intervals. This overall reliability has not only been proven in this particular project but in many other projects in mineral processing.

Pilot autoclaves in EKATO‘s R&D Center

www.ekato.com


ALACER GOLD

“A “stellar”achievement for the more than 3,000-strong team responsible for construction and the operations team, who are responsible for ramping up and running the new plant”

16

— Stewart Beckman, Chief Operating Officer, Alacer Gold

OCTOBER 2019

oxidise the sulfide ores, enabling us to recover the considerable gold value that was previously trapped,” explains Beckman. “The oxide ore in the original mining area was depleting and so, without the CSEP, the Çöpler Mine would have been facing declining production and the prospect of winding down operations. However, the CSEP now gives the operations ~20 years of life. In addition, recent discoveries of new oxide ore deposits around the original Çöpler deposit now provide the prospect of extending the


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘ALACER GOLD: EMPOWERING EMPLOYEES AND TRANSFORMING THE FUTURE WITH SAP S/4HANA®’ 17 life of the oxide ore processing well into the future. We have gone from the prospect of declining operations at Çöpler to now having a very bright future, with both the oxide plant and the sulfide plant running. This is a great outcome for our business, our employees and the communities that are supported by the mine’s operations”. In 2019, Çöpler is expected to produce 355-415 koz at an AISC range of $675-725/oz from both the oxides and sulfides. Project Director John Ebbett oversaw the design and build of the CSEP, explaining that the construction of the w w w. minin g gl o b a l . c o m


No Margin for Error Congratulations to Alacer Gold and the Wood Group, we look forward to our continued working relationship at this site and other potential projects in the future. Koch Knight, LLC is a leader in acid proof and corrosion solutions with capabilities in construction, engineering and services, working with state-of-the-art ceramics and plastic materials. Koch Knight manufactures ceramic products which include, brick, proprietary mortars and membranes highly suited for the mining industry. Koch Knight provides responsive, customer-focused solutions. Our products and services are available worldwide through our global network of manufacturing and outsourcing ceramic and plastic facilities. Whether it is a revamp or new construction, from start to finish, Koch Knight will assist you with every step to ensure speedy completion and successful results.

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new plant utilised an Integrated Project

behaviours, while also remaining

Management Team (IPMT) model to

involved throughout the project by

successfully break down inter-company

performing organisational health

barriers, increase transparency and

checks and assisting with change as

drive individual accountability. “This

the project progressed through its

allowed project issues to be highlighted

execution stages.”

and dealt with in a timely manner,”

Ebbett’s teams were able to take

he says. “Early in the development of

advantage of existing infrastructure on

the IPMT, 4Points were engaged to

site and built additional accommodation

develop a structured programme that

for the 3,000 temporary workers “at

would instill the desired culture and

well above the typical local standards

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

19

John Ebbett John Ebbett spent almost five years as Project Director at Alacer Gold throughout the construction process on the company’s Çöpler Sulfide Expansion Project (CSEP). Previously, he spent over four years working as Project Manager for Newcrest in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Managing the portfolio of capital works at the Lihir Gold Mine, he ensured that capital use was efficient and aligned with Newcrest’s short- and long-term strategic plans. The projects delivered during this time included optimising the process plant following the MOPU project, community infrastructure and refurbishment of process plant facilities. Prior to this he was a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Ausenco, where he has now returned to take up the role of Vice President, Global Project Delivery.

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ALACER GOLD

20

OCTOBER 2019


“The construction of the Çöpler Sulfide Plant gives us the ability to accelerate the process and rapidly oxidise the sulfide ores, enabling us to recover the considerable gold value that was previously trapped” — Stewart Beckman, Chief Operating Officer, Alacer Gold

w w w. minin g gl o b a l . c o m

21


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23

for a construction site”, along with

sections of scope: the process plant,

more than 100 apartments, including

tailings storage facility and support

three-bed family units, for the ongoing

infrastructure. The tailings storage

operations team. “Compared to some

facility is a fully lined, downstream

of the projects I have completed

impoundment with both under and over

elsewhere in the world, the infrastruc-

drain systems. The embankment is a

ture in eastern Turkey is fantastic. We

mass wall, with phase one constructed

had a great road to the mine site, a

during the CSEP construction,

50MW hydro power station 5km away

containing 3.5 million m3 of structural

(connected to the national grid) and

rock fill. The construction of the TSF

other hydro power stations in the area.”

was delivered using the current mining

The CSEP comprised of three major

contractor, Çiftay, with Golder providing w w w. minin g gl o b a l . c o m


Delivering value-driven solutions for the future Backed by a 60+ year history delivering some of the world’s most logistically and challenging mining projects, Wood has a proven ability to optimize asset performance, drive capital efficiency and deliver for our customers. From early-stage concepts and evaluations to turn-key projects and asset solutions, we are implementing technology-enhanced solutions to change the blueprint for the next generation of mining. Our global experts challenge the impossible to meet the growing demand for materials that make future technologies possible.

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construction quality control.

The process plant scope included

The infrastructure scope included

crushing, grinding, acidulation,

upgraded access roads, accommoda-

pressure oxidation, iron/arsenic

tion apartments for staff, an upgraded

precipitation, counter current decanta-

water supply system and other site

tion, leach, carbon in pulp, elution,

facilities. The bulk of this infrastructure

electrowinning, detox/neutralisation

was delivered by local contractors from

and tailings pumping. “A key feature of

within the Çöpler District, resulting in a

the process plant is the twin autoclave

significant level of community involve-

circuits that, due to transport con-

ment. The CSEP was an opportunity to

straints, required vessels to undergo

further develop local contractor

final assembly and post-weld heat

capability and assist with Alacer’s goal

treatment on site,” reveals Ebbett of

of creating a sustainable operation and

this industry-leading approach. “We

surrounding community.

looked at the best way we could get

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Stewart Beckman Mr. Beckman joined Alacer Gold in June 2016. He has 30 years of experience in the mining and minerals processing industry. Prior to joining Alacer, Mr. Beckman spent 19 years with Rio Tinto, working across a number of product groups in senior leadership, minerals processing, mining operations and project development roles. His most recent roles were Global Lead for Group Working Capital Reduction and Senior Vice President Operations and Technical Development for Turquoise Hill Resources and Director Oyu Tolgoi Expansion. Prior to joining Rio Tinto, he spent seven years in a variety of operational roles at Placer Dome.

w w w. minin g gl o b a l . c o m

25


Courage, firm steps, innovation, and common sense. Result: Success More than 130 successfully completed projects on three different continents. Ranking in ENR’s “Top Contractors League” Since 2006. Logistics power extending over three continents. 22 million accident free man/hours.

As a prestigious contracting company preferred in infrastructure, substructure, housing and industrial plant projects, G İnşaat is a leading, innovative, and environment-friendly solution partner, which has adopted the principle of making maximum use of modern technology. GAP has undertaken the whole scope of Civil Works, Steel Structure, Equipment Installation, Lifting, Piping, Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel and Super Duplex Tanks installation, Electrical and Instrumentation Works and Scaffolding Works at ÇÖPLER PROJECT .

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www.gapinsaat.com | www.calik.com HQ (0 212) 306 50 00


the autoclaves to site in sections within

flexibility are also provided by matching

the tight transport limits in terms of

the twin horizontal autoclave configura-

both size and weight. Transporting the

tion to the twin train oxygen plant

autoclave to site in sections allowed us

(supplied by Air Liquide under a build

to balance the operational benefits of

own operating agreement).

horizontal autoclaves, and to minimise

Ebbett recalls the unity of the

the potential construction issues by

various branches of the contracted

only having to weld autoclaves sections

Engineering, Construction & Project

together on site rather than site

Management (EPCM) team: “Some-

fabricating the complete vessels.�

times owners can get in the way of the

Increased availability and operational

EPCM being effective; with an integrated

27

w w w. minin g gl o b a l . c o m


ALACER GOLD

28

“Sometimes owners can get in the way of the EPCM being effective; with an integrated owner’s team and no positions duplicated we were able to meet challenges with quick decision making” — John Ebbett, Project Director, Alacer Gold

OCTOBER 2019


29

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Industry leading severe service innovations More than ever before, autoclave operations require commissioning of process sites as quickly and efficiently as possible. Thereafter, the focus shifts to sustainability and reliability, where it becomes critical to extend the production time between major shutdowns. Extreme processing conditions require high-integrity valve designs with the most advanced coatings. For over forty years, MOGAS has invested in surface engineering development, culminating in the latest and most advanced coating technologies. Our breakthrough ML-381 metallurgically bonded weld overlay has been proven to substantially increase the time of plant operations between shutdowns. When profitability and efficiency are key, MOGAS valves outperform the competition time and time again.

www.mogas.com


The Çöpler Gold Mine Alacer continues to pursue opportunities to further expand its current operating base to become a sustainable multimine producer with a focus on Turkey. The Çöpler Gold Mine is located in east-central Turkey in the Erzincan Province, approximately 1,100km east of Istanbul and 550km east of Ankara, Turkey’s capital city. The mine processes ore through two producing plants. With the recent completion

of the new sulfide plant, the Çöpler Mine will produce over 3.5 million ounces at first quartile All-in Sustaining Costs, generating robust free cash f low for approximately the next 20 years. Commercial production at the sulfide plant was declared in May 2019 and the bank completion test passed in August 2019. The ramp up continues and the plant design is proving to be robust with good upside potential.

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31


ALACER GOLD

32

OCTOBER 2019


owner’s team and no positions duplicated, we were able to meet challenges with quick decision making.” Wood provided engineering procurement and construction management services; Carpenteria Corsi delivered POX circuit vessels, while Ekato brought mixing and agitation technologies. “The IPMT structure drove a high level of collaboration and ensured nothing fell through the cracks in terms of information shared,” adds Ebbett. Turkish contractor GAP İnşaat (a subsidiary of Çalik group, which is Alacer’s Turkish partner and 20% owner of the Çöpler Gold Mine) was the general contractor for the process plant scope of the project, working closely as part of the IPMT. “GAP was C OM PA N Y S TAT S

Çöpler Sulfide Expansion Project (CSEP) by numbers

key for us to effectively manage and work with our Turkish subcontractors,” he confirms. Ebbett maintains completion of the

• 40,363 m3 concrete

project on time and under budget was

• 8,751 tonnes steel

achieved by “getting the basics right”

• 1,164 mechanical items

and following best practice rather than

• 85km piping

taking risks with new innovations. “One

• 885km cable

of the key achievements was that we were well advanced on the engineering when the Alacer board approved the w w w. minin g gl o b a l . c o m

33


35

project,” he says. “Some resource

make sure we could get the process

projects tend to miss cost and schedule

and performance requirements Wood

targets when they’ve been approved

was specifying.”

with insufficient engineering and project definition.” Wood’s strong engineering expertise

Elsewhere on the project, MOGAS provided all of the severe service valves needed around the POX

is recognised by the project director.

(pressure oxidation) circuit. “There

“They provided the bulk of our person-

are only a few manufacturers in the

nel and worked with other key partners.

business capable of delivering the

Carpentiria Corsi fabricated the

valves required and their performance

pressure vehicles (certified under

is important for plant reliability,” says

the European Pressure Equipment

Ebbett. “Koch Knight was another vital

Directive) and also completed the site

partner, brought on board to provide

assembly, working in unison with us to

the lining of the vessels with the use of w w w. minin g gl o b a l . c o m


ALACER GOLD

3 MAJOR COMPANIES, 10 MAJOR CONTRACTORS, 3000+ PEOPLE AND 30+ CULTURES...

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37 tailored acid and corrosion resistant

in the future operation of the Çöpler

materials. Also working with us was

Gold Mine and its plants was a

Weir, which supplied the specific

consideration throughout the CSEP.

equipment required (for the POX feed

“We have included the ability to take

pumps) with an elegant design and

it further,” confirms Ebbett. “The full

proven technology to function at the

control system across the plant is

high POX feed temperatures present

state-of-the-art, along with the ability

at Çöpler.” Importantly, along with

to collect and utilise data.” The new

specialist international suppliers, the

plant also has a high level of digitisation

tanks, piping and structural steel

laying the groundwork for advanced

fabrication and prefabricated electrical

analysis. “Nothing is set in stone,” he

rooms were all sourced from within

adds. “These plants are complex to run

Turkey, resulting in a high portion of

and optimise, with the operators

in-country spend.

managing many input and control

The role that technology would play

variables such as the sulfide in the ore, w w w. minin g gl o b a l . c o m


ALACER GOLD

“There’s plenty of options to accommodate growth, and different ore characteristics through the sulfide plant.We’ve got flexibility in the process plant for the future” — John Ebbett, Project Director, Alacer Gold

38

OCTOBER 2019

oxygen consumption, oxygen efficiency, carbonates in the ore, the amount of acid being generated, etc. The ability to leverage simulators and high-powered tools will help the plant keep delivering to the highest standards in the future.” Beckman is proud of the speed at which the plant has been ramped up. “We fully expect the CSEP to have the capacity to perform beyond its nameplate design,” he says. “We’re


already working on options to make

ore characteristics through the sulfide

minor modifications to the plant to

plant. We’ve got flexibility in the

improve operations and increase

process plant for the future.”

production. Concurrently we’ve got significant exploration adjacent to the mine, so we aim to continue the oxide plant running in parallel to the sulfide plant and to increase the amount of ore available to the sulfide plant.” Ebbett concurs: “There’s plenty of options to accommodate growth, and different

39

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L E A D E R S H I P & S T R AT E G Y

40

OCTOBER 2019


How Codelco is promoting Diversity & Inclusion in Chile’s mining sector Codelco’s Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Director, Irene Schlechter Kutscher, explains how Chile’s state-owned copper miner is striving to achieve equality in the workplace. WRITTEN BY

DAN BRIGHT MORE

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41


L E A D E R S H I P & S T R AT E G Y

“D

iversity is our pledge to reflect, as a company, what we should protect and defend as a society — respect

for every human being,” explains Irene Schlechter Kutscher, Corporate Diversity

& Inclusion Director at Codelco, Chile’s stateowned copper mining company. Since 2015, Codelco’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has been placed at the very heart of its operations. Schlechter Kutscher recalls that, four years ago, the company first published its Gender Diversity Corporate Policy, a directive aimed at promoting work-life 42

balance and improving gender parity. Secondly, it began the implementation of the Chilean Standard 3262, which is the first ISO standard for gender equality at work in the world. Codelco’s strategy is generating a cultural change across all eight of its divisions and two work centres. The company now has a Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Directorate, Diversity and Inclusion Leaders at each operational centre, and is also creating Gender Round Tables with trade unions. With over 17,000 employees (1,782 of which are women) and 47,000 contractors, Codelco is influential in the promotion of gender equality across Chile and contributes to the UN’s fifth sustainability goal: OCTOBER 2019


43

“PROFESSIONAL WOMEN HAVE HELD SECONDARY POSITIONS FOR DECADES, PROBABLY BECAUSE MATERNITY HAS BEEN AN ASPECT WHICH HAS BEEN PERCEIVED AS A LIMITER OF CAREER DEVELOPMENT, FAVOURING THE ABSENCE OF REFERENCES FOR NEW GENERATIONS” — Irene Schlechter Kutscher, Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Director, Codelco

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L E A D E R S H I P & S T R AT E G Y

“To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” For Schlechter Kutscher’s team, the journey towards gender parity is an ongoing challenge. “Although we have increased the participation of our professional female workers by four times in the past 20 years, at both operational and technical levels, the ratio remains practically the same,” she says. “We have a big challenge in increasing the number of female executives because there is still scarce talent in mining at that level. We will

44

be focusing on preparing female management leaders and forming the capacities of young women in our country to join and to keep strengthening all segments.” Mining is the economic activity with the second lowest female participation in Chile at 8.4%. However, Codelco is performing better than the national average at 9.9%. Schlechter Kutscher is keen for Codelco to push further, fly the flag for Chile, and collaborate with both national and international companies in the country to promote the insertion of women into the industry. OCTOBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘CODELCO - WIM CHILE’ 45 Schlechter Kutscher, who previously

leaders at Codelco to encourage,

worked in agriculture, pharma and tech

mentor and accelerate women’s

startups, notes that historically, “women

careers to c-level, there is still a lack

only had access to certain professional

of women at the top executive level.

fields and were prohibited to develop

“We need to work on our culture biases,”

a career” free from the weight of tradition.

she recommends. “Professional women

Today, even though many are working

have held secondary positions for

in diverse industries, hurdles remain. “As

decades, probably because maternity

a society, certain stereotypes remain.

has been perceived as a limiter of

I believe that education is a great solution

career development.”

for organisations to have a merit-based

Respect is key, believes Schlechter

development culture, without gender

Kutscher. “It needs to always be the

acting as a constraint on equal opportu-

core value of our culture. We all need

nities,” she says. Even though there is

to be treated with the same respect,

a willingness from male management

regardless of our differences. w w w.mi ni nggl o b a l. com


L E A D E R S H I P & S T R AT E G Y

Everybody must feel valued to have

middle management we’re talking

a strong engagement with this

about nearly 2,000 people.” She

organisation. And our leaders know

highlights that the company is not

they have a big role to play.”

only going through a period of

Codelco manages 50% of the

significant cultural change, but is

mining workforce across Chile.

also a digital transformation as part

“We are the biggest mining compa-

of a $4bn investment phase.

ny, in terms of endowment, in the

46

To further its diversity and inclusion

country,” confirms Schlechter

goals, Codelco has strong collabo-

Kutscher. “That is a challenge in

rative relationships and frequent

and of itself, because any changes

round tables with several organisa-

you want to implement require

tions, including the Chilean Ministry

communication with more than 200

of Women and Gender Equality,

leaders at the executive level; with

the Ministry of Mining, Business

E X ECU T I VE P RO FI LE

Irene Schlechter Kutscher Had previously worked at Swiss farming company Roche for six years where she managed human resources for its Chilean operation and led its diversity and inclusion efforts across Latin America. “The years I spent with Roche gave me an invaluable overview of what’s happening across our region,” she says. “We have similar issues at Codelco and similar challenges in each foreign country in the region, in terms of stereotypes, career development and the glass ceiling. I’m proud that in the last five years we’ve raised the importance of addressing issues around diversity and inclusion.” The founder and former CEO of a tech firm (The Bondng) supported by Microsoft Azure and Imagine, she was the first female Chilean entrepreneur to sell a digital startup in the country.

OCTOBER 2019


“ULTIMATELY, WE SHOULDN’T NEED TO HAVE A DEPARTMENT FOR DIVERSITY, THE GOAL IS FOR IT TO BE NATURALLY OCCURRING” — Irene Schlechter Kutscher, Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Director, Codelco

Sweden and Women in Mining; it also works closely to forge links with universities across the country. “We have bi-monthly meetings with the Federation of Workers in Mining [Chile’s biggest union],” adds Schlechter Kutscher. Beyond Codelco, Schlechter Kutscher can see a growing trend of mining companies increasing the number of female employees and empowering them to develop their technical abilities. “We were among the pioneers,” she says proudly. 47

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L E A D E R S H I P & S T R AT E G Y

“That’s why we cannot be left behind;

today and in the long-term - regardless

we need to keep being innovative and

of colour, origin, gender or any other

the first to implement new practices

difference. Talent is not housed in

in terms of upgrading core responsibili-

a genre. Every person that works at

ties, our infrastructure, work centres

Codelco is here for their merits, not

and the role modelling of our leaders.

to make up the numbers.”

Ultimately, we shouldn’t need to have

Codelco has been strengthening

a department for diversity; the goal is

and accelerating female career paths

for it to be naturally occurring. We must

while identifying high potential in the

attract the best talent in the market

lowest levels of its organisation and

to ensure the success of our business

beyond. “We have a great programme

DID YOU KNOW?

The Chilean Norm 3262

48

I n 2012 the Chile Government issued a national standard on “Gender equality and reconciliation of professional, family and personal life” (NCh3262, 2012). Codelco has adopted this standard to guide its approach to promoting gender equality and an inclusive workplace. Nelson Pizarro, Codelco’s CEO, asserts geneder and productivity are intertwined: “Through inclusion we are looking to be more

OCTOBER 2019

competitive and to improve our performance as a company. This is why we are giving this topic so much attention and priority”. Chile is the first country in the world to promulgate an ISO standard for gender equality at work that aims at the management of people within organisations. Codelco was the first state company, of large endowment and in the mining industry to be certified in this standard.


business in the short term, but critical for its long-term sustainability. She believes that, as a state-owned company, “Codelco has an ethical commitment to our society to do the right thing, be aligned with human rights and protect the working rights of every person,” focused on girls and young women at

and that the policies Codelco is imple-

both professional and technical levels;

menting are contributing to the transfor-

we’re preparing them for opportunities

mation of Chilean culture. That pledge

in the mining industry when they finish

to transform has seen Codelco aim for

their studies,” says Schlechter Kutscher.

new target of 14% (to further increase

“We’re also talking to young people

the number of women in decision-mak-

at technical schools about gender

ing roles (today it’s 12.7%) while setting

balance and diversity in our industry,

a ‘women in the workforce’ target of

so we can encourage more talents

11% by 2025. “We need to keep listening

to enter it, because the recent analysis

to both women and men, from all levels

from the likes of EY shows it has become

and generations, because this matter

increasingly difficult to attract younger

involves everybody,” she says. “Their

generations into the mining profes-

input is essential to position the biggest

sions. We must work to reverse that.”

copper company in the world as an

Codelco’s diversity and inclusion department was originally created

example of how diversity fosters a high performance organisation.”

with a gender focused directive, but was expanded to include support for different generations, backgrounds and cultures. “We are a reference point for the industry in Chile,” says Schlechter Kutscher, who believes promoting these values is not only good for w w w.mi ni nggl o b a l. com

49


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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y & C S R

52

RETHINKING NATURAL RESOURCES Argo Natural Resources is developing an established technology to revolutionise the way metals and minerals are extracted. Mining Global hears from CEO Samantha Hyde on how her company’s approach has the potential to transform the industry with a disruptive processing solution for the 21st century. WRITTEN BY

OCTOBER 2019

DAN BRIGHT MORE


53

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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y & C S R

54

A

rgo Natural Resources

Argo’s CEO Samantha Hyde

(Argo) aims to bridge the

explains, in collaboration with the

gap between academia and

University of Leicester, the company

industry in order to develop a viable,

is harnessing 20 years of academic

non-aqueous technology for mineral

research and laboratory testing,

processing, one capable of producing

where researchers have already been

metal leaching faster than convention-

able to demonstrate selective extrac-

al methods at ambient temperatures

tion and recovery of minerals. “Simply

which can be applied to a diverse range

put, the potential for the mining industry

of metals and minerals. Argo’s

to benefit from DES is linked to the fact

technology aims to offer an alternative

that non-toxic salts can be used to

approach to traditional smelting and

recover a variety of base and precious

refinery techniques, supporting the

metals from a range of ores.”

production of market quality metals at the mine site. OCTOBER 2019

Argo was formed in 2017 as the licensee to achieve a route to market


55 for a technology first developed by

in a wide range of industries – from

the University of Leicester’s Professor

pharmaceuticals or paints, to turbine

Andrew Abbott in the 1990s. “Andy has

blades. “We have found a way to

the most amazing mind, and is an expert

dissolve group metals without

in the field of chemistry,” explains Hyde.

roasting ores and releasing sulfuric

“He effectively came up with a way to

acid and arsenic,” reveals Hyde,

un-bake a cake; by using ionic salts,

of a process capable of dissolving

to dissolve metals, and then extract

gold without the use of cyanide and

and separate metals to allow them

water. “Imagine the possibility – and

to be reused.”

the value to an ethical market – of

The science behind the innovation

mercury-free gold…” she offers.

involves a special set of non-toxic ionic

“Countries that have valuable metals

liquids. These deep eutectic solvents

resources will welcome non-toxic

(DES) have a track record of replacing

recovery and less intrusive mine

the use of water and toxic chemicals

and waste dam design.” w w w.mi ni nggl o b a l. com


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y & C S R

“Simply put, the potential for the mining industry to benefit from DES is linked to the fact that non-toxic salts can be used to recover a variety 56 of base and precious metals from a range of ores” — Samantha Hyde, CEO, Argo Natural Resources

The vision for Argo is a metals extraction and processing industry that no longer relies on “antiquated, expensive and environmentally damaging processes”. The company has chosen to focus on gold, commonly recovered using cyanide and, in artisanal mining, the use of mercury. Argo’s new approach deploys an “environmentally compatible, recyclable, rapid and catalytic method” for extracting gold without the need for a refinery. This could change the economics and social infrastructure in gold producing countries, enabling smaller operations to realise the potential of their resources. A non-aqueous approach, such as Argo’s, would also be environmentally sustainable. “It currently takes 7,000 litres of water to produce one ounce of gold,” notes Hyde. “Without this drain on such a precious resource, mines will have a much lower impact

OCTOBER 2019


on the water table and their local

environmental solutions, but ours

environments.”

certainly does offer a new option for

The company is going through an

mining technology,” she says. “We

“exciting R&D phase”, but also achieved

have people on our team with many

its first commercial contract in April

decades of experience in the mining

reveals Hyde. Since then new con-

industry who truly believe this can

tracts have been coming in on a

bring a positive change to the sector.

monthly basis, making for a “healthy

The technology’s one thing, but if

pipeline” against the backdrop of a

you haven’t got the right people behind

mining sector which she believes can

it, nothing’s going to happen. I really

be slow to innovate. “Argo is one of

believe it’s about culture and values

many possible options in terms of

as much as it is about the solution.”

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

57

Samantha Hyde A professionally qualified archaeologist, Hyde comes from a family of builders and developers so appreciates the need for being open to leveraging new technologies while considering their impact on communities and the wider environment. Moving between sectors, among previous roles, she has been a Director at Save the Children, working with some of the most marginalised communities in the UK and across the globe. Working extensively with government, until recently, she was the CEO of one of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’ charities and has raised over £40m for charitable projects in the past three years. Hyde is a group Board Director of L&Q, a regulated charitable housing association, and one of the UK’s most successful independent social businesses. The L&Q group houses around 250,000 people in more than 95,000 homes, primarily across London and the South East. Fascinated by the potential paradigm shift in mining, she joined Argo as CEO in February 2019.

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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y & C S R

What does Hyde say to those who

Hyde can see that change is difficult,

argue that it sounds too good to be

especially in the mining sector, but

true? “There’s no flaw. This is the

is keen to emphasise the proven

reality,” she counters. “A mining

evidence base that DES do work while

engineer’s attitude might be, ‘we dig

being non-toxic, environmentally

it up and smelt it’, but the leadership

benign, chemically stable and recycla-

of global mining companies want to

ble. “We can bring a process to market

look at ways of doing things differently

that allows the use of existing plant

with a renewed focus on health and

equipment that could be simply adapted

safety and environmental protection.”

to allow for DES technology to be

C OMPAN Y FACT S

58

Argo targeting commercial uptake of DES (deep eutectic solvents) technology in four key sectors:

transforming the lives of some of the poorest communities on Earth.

Mining

DES can dissolve precious and strategic metals from electrical circuit boards. It could halt the flow of valuable e-waste to informal and environmentally damaging processing sites.

DES has been proven to dissolve a host of metals from ores, with gold dissolution rates 80-times faster than when using cyanide. The process has the potential to eliminate the need for smelting. Artisanal DES has the potential to arrest the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale mining. This could contribute to positive social and environmental change

OCTOBER 2019

E-Waste Recycling

Remediation The environmentally benign and waterless solvents used in DES can be employed in difficult to permit jurisdictions. DES can be tailored to dissolve toxic heavy metals from contaminated sites.


“A mining engineer’s attitude might be, ‘we dig it up and smelt it’, but the leadership of global mining companies want to look at ways of doing things differently with a renewed focus on health and safety and environmental protection” — Samantha Hyde, CEO, Argo Natural Resources

59

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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y & C S R

inserted into the process chain, removing the smelter – one of the most environmentally damaging ways of processing materials.” Economics also play a part with efficiency gains and reduced capex costs when comparing the use of cyanide with DES. “We are talking about a paradigm shift in mining,” urges Hyde. “Improvements in site safety, impacting climate change… Imagine a world with no more underground mining? Where mining companies could also become 60

recycling companies?” Allied to this, she explains the need for tailings dams would decrease, having a positive impact on local communities and promotion of agricultural activity. “With no pollution getting into upstream and downstream water supplies, a DES approach would support artisanal mining projects,” she adds, suggesting the creation of a portable unit for use in countries like Africa would help artisanal miners bypass smelting to “wholly own” their production process, bringing huge economic and environmental benefits. Currently at the feasibility stage, Argo is planning to test its solution through a OCTOBER 2019


UK pilot plant while working on designs for the physical unit to be introduced to mining sites. Targeting the UK government’s buy-in into this technology, Argo’s relationship with the Department of Trade & Industry is key to expanding globally. “We’re very keen to work with UK-based engineering and processengineering companies with a global remit,” adds Hyde. She admits the “golden ticket” will be the advancement of the technology at this next stage but reveals the company has already won the support of a number of global experts in e-waste and powerful consortiums in Australia. Argo’s DES technology is currently classified at the TRL3-4 ‘Proof of Concept’ stage. An extensive test work programme is currently underway and will progress the tech to the ‘Bench Scale’ stage TRL4-5 as early as the end of this year. Hyde believes the technology is commercially viable and throughout 2020 Argo will now look to advance DES technology towards a TRL5, which will deliver the pilot plant for commercial recovery of metals and recycling of DES liquids.

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61


TECHNOLOGY

62

ONTARIO MINING ASSOCIATION: MAKING THE WORLD CLEANER, GREENER AND MORE TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED MINING GLOBAL HEARS FROM ONTARIO MINING ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT CHRIS HODGSON WHO BELIEVES THE MINING INDUSTRY’S ABILITY TO DELIVER MINERALS AND METALS MAKES MODERN LIFE AND THE QUEST FOR INNOVATION POSSIBLE WRITTEN BY WRITTEN BY

OCTOBER 2019

DAN BRIGHT MORE DAN BRIGHT MORE


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TECHNOLOGY

T

he Ontario Mining Association (OMA) was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry in the province of Ontario. One of the

longest serving trade organisations in Canada, much has changed since the association was founded but its mission remains consistent: to improve the competitiveness of Ontario’s mining industry while promoting safety and sustainability. “Down the years, the OMA has maintained its core commitment to these ideals while embracing the change we’ve seen society’s evolving expectations and the mining industry’s capacity to meet them,” 64

says OMA President Chris Hodgson. With its centenary fast approaching, Hodgson believes the OMA is well placed to continue providing support to its members – and the Canadian mining industry – for another 100 years. “Our strength comes from our members,” he explains. “We take a collaborative approach to address issues affecting the industry across various committees. We also work with other mining-related associations both at federal and provincial levels for the juniors and seniors. But we also work with governments, industry coalitions, academic research institutions, NGOs, and the public. Historically, we’ve worked constructively with many communities of interest. We’ve had considerable success as today’s technological disruptions now call for a greater variety of input.” OCTOBER 2019


“WE TAKE A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH TO ADDRESS ISSUES AFFECTING THE INDUSTRY ACROSS VARIOUS COMMITTEES, BOTH AT MINING-RELATED FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL LEVELS FOR THE JUNIORS AND SENIORS” — Chris Hodgson, President Ontario Mining Association

Hodgson is particularly proud of a successful alliance which has seen great collaboration between the government, labour and safety agencies, and employers.“It was a tripartite approach and we’d like to take credit for the safety improvements seen as we approach our goal of zero harm,” he says. “We take great pride in working together with unions, government and industry to drive our safety record to be among the best in the world.” w w w.mi ni nggl o b a l. com

65


TECHNOLOGY

THIS IS MINING

When someone asks, “What is mining?” We know that mining is all of this: • Today’s Technology • Inclusiveness & Diversity • Care for our Planet • A Life of Adventure • A Legacy of Community Building in Ontario

66

What are the elements that make up our industry? Is it the drilling and the digging, the machinery and mining? Or has it become something greater? To celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020, the Onatario Mining Association has created This is Mining, a campaign that takes a fresh look at the role of mining in our lives and in the province. The achievements, the people, the progress and the legacy.

“Mining has always been about discovery. But the more we mine its depths for the elements that drive our modern world, the more we discover what we have become. As individuals. As a community. As an industry. Join us in discovering all that mining has become and all it has to offer.” #THISISMINING

What does Hodgson see as the main

the world with the building blocks

challenges for miners in Canada, and

of innovation. Our industry cannot help

how will the OMA respond to support

but be affected by the fundamental

its members and the wider indus-

technological changes that we’ve seen.

try? “Disruptive technologies are also

Our members are inspired by this, and

changing the way we live in our com-

we are enabled with information shar-

munities and our business. At the OMA,

ing to keep the innovation process

we have to make sure that we live up

moving. We’ve launched our target

to our high standards. It changes

zero campaign, Zero Plus. Our aspira-

the way we mine, and this is supplying

tional target is to have zero harm. It’s

OCTOBER 2019


a big challenge but we’re also push-

Ontario offers a huge advantage there.”

ing for zero waste, zero carbon, and

Reducing our environmental foot-

increased productivity, and this comes

print is a universal theme that the

through innovation. We’ve had a 95%

mining industry in North America

improvement in loss time injuries since

is keen to adopt. “We are moving to

we started the campaign. We’ve had

battery powered underground vehi-

two of the last three years with no fa-

cles which cut ventilation and cooling

talities so we’re meeting the challenge

costs, but the most important thing

and hope that’s a strong trend tak-

is that, without diesel, it makes for a

ing us towards zero harm.” Hodgson

safer, healthier environment under-

points out that Ontario is “pretty close”

ground for workers,” notes Hodgson.

to zero carbon. For example, nickel

“It’s a growing trend in Ontario mines.

produced there has less carbon than

Currently, we’ve got Glencore, New-

any other place in the world. “If you’re

mont Goldcorp and Kirkland Lake

considering global warming or climate

Gold all using electric heat technology.

change, in terms of carbon inputs,

Increasingly, companies are designing

CLICK TO WATCH : ‘THE ELEMENTS OF MINING’

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67


TECHNOLOGY

“WE TAKE GREAT PRIDE IN WORKING TOGETHER WITH UNIONS, GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY TO DRIVE OUR SAFETY RECORD TO BE AMONG THE BEST IN THE WORLD” — Chris Hodgson, President Ontario Mining Association

68

their sites around battery equipment.

of electricity while providing increased

Glencore is planning its auditing depth

production. Additional sustainabil-

site with an all-electric mining vehicle

ity initiatives are being implemented

fleet while Newmont Goldcorp is building

by OMA members and they include:

the first all-electric underground mine.”

fuel switching, ventilation en masse,

Newmont Goldcorp’s Borden mine

fire reductions and compressors that

will improve safety performance and

access heat to warm the building. “We

eliminate up to 7,000 tons of steel tube

are seeing this around the world,” adds

emissions each year. At 3mn litres

Hodgson. “But our companies are also

of diesel power per year reduced over

part of the innovation process while

a mine’s ten-year life, this represents

embracing automation and generat-

a reduction of 70,000 tons of carbon.

ing motor operations to enable a safer,

It also offers a reduction of 330,000MW

more productive future.”

OCTOBER 2019


69

E X E C U T I V E P R OF IL E

Chris Hodgson , President, Ontario Mining Association Chris Hodgson has led the OMA as President for 15 years. Previously, he was the warden of Halliburton County before entering provincial politics. Hodgson was elected to the Ontario legislature in a 1994 by-election; in 1995 he was named Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Development & Mines. After spending four years in ministerial roles connected to the mining industry, he knows all the sites of operation and understands the major issues in the region. Hodgson encourages collaboration among the OMA’s members and is keen to see them harness the benefits that new technologies can bring to the mining industry.

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TECHNOLOGY

“THE MATERIALS WE NEED FOR A GREENER ECONOMY AND TO FIND NEW SOLUTIONS LIE WITHIN THE PRODUCTS THE MINING INDUSTRY MAKES” — Chris Hodgson, President Ontario Mining Association 70 Hodgson is proud of what the OMA has achieved in the past 30 years working with labour organisations, industry and government to achieve a 96% improvement in safety. “The goal remains zero harm, and we believe we will get there with the help of the protection laws and innovation,” he pledges. “We are going to need further research, better training and major investment. Digital analytics and robots all help, but it is really the right culture and collaboration that builds the strongest foundation for success.” To celebrate its hundredth year, the OMA is launching a campaign. “This OCTOBER 2019


is Mining takes a fresh look at the role of mining in our lives and in our province,” explains Hodgson. “We decided as members that we have always been an industry that looks forward, we have never stood still. This is about the future and the themes around mining that we’re aiming to convey to millennials so they can discover the benefits mining can bring. If they dig a little deeper, they will find more value. Our main purpose is to show that this is an industry that can make a difference to the future of our world. If you look at many of the concerns about the climate, the environment. The materials we need for a greener economy and to find new solutions lie within the products the mining industry makes. We are trying to do that in the most environmentally friendly way possible, because we take our stewardship of the earth very seriously.”

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O P E R AT I O N A L E X C E L L E N C E

72

UNEARTHING THE HIDDEN GEMS OF AUSTRALIA Mining Global heard from a trio of experts who shared their views on the challenges and opportunities for business and investing in the region at AusIMM’s Australian Mining Leaders Conference WRITTEN BY

OCTOBER 2019

DAN BRIGHT MORE


73

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O P E R AT I O N A L E X C E L L E N C E

T

he inaugural Australian Mining Leaders Conference took place in London this summer where

organisers The AusIMM (The Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy) provided a platform to some of the leading minds in mining across the region. Among them AusIMM President Janine Herzig, PT Merdeka Copper Gold CEO Colin Moorhead and Austmine Director Mark Read spoke to Mining Global about the potential for growth in Australia’s mining sector. It’s long been considered a challenge 74

for the industry to change its perception as a dark, dirty and dangerous endeavour. Herzig explains technology and innovation lie at the heart of Australia’s mining sector. “There’s been a huge transition from work which often involved uranium, asbestos, and other dangerous materials, combined with a lot of manual lifting and exposure to toxic chemicals such as hydrofluoride and cyanogen bromide,” she says. “However, all of that has changed and we’ve now got robotic sample prep, infusions by XRF, and much better standards when it comes to minimising lifting and twisting in the lab. We also see that translating to the mine site with driverless trucks, and the technologies around confined space access. Another key OCTOBER 2019


technology is the world’s first automated mill relining machine, which has been developed by RME (Russell Mineral Equipment) in my hometown of Toowoomba.” Austmine is keen to engage communities with projects like its women in mining initiative, which has been developed to encourage undergraduates from different disciplines to take work placements in the industry and improve perceptions of the sector across Australia. “By the time they finished their placement, 82% were saying it was a potential job avenue,” says Read. “People aren’t seeing swinging axes and shovels anymore, they see

“B HP HAS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED ITS HEAP LEACH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TRIAL IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA (ADELAIDE), CONFIRMING THE VIABILITY OF THE TECHNOLOGY TO EXTRACT COPPER, URANIUM, GOLD AND SILVER AT OLYMPIC DAM” — Janine Herzig, President, AusIMM

digital control rooms in Perth; the whole mining community is very different from the public perception of the mine fields.” Moorhead agrees: “If the kids of today see mining as part of the solution rather than part of the problem around things like quality and climate risk, and you add to that the technology idolised, then we will be in a good place.” The need for digital skills across the industry makes pathways like these essential as the opportunities provided by automation, along with the ability to deploy sensors to collect data, are vital believes Herzig. “Smart data is key and finding ways to extract what we need from it,” she says. “AI and machine w w w.mi ni nggl o b a l. com

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O P E R AT I O N A L E X C E L L E N C E

“W E’RE SEEING A RENAISSANCE IN GRASSROOTS EXPLORATION AS MANY OF AUSTRALIA’S MINING SITES ARE UNDER DEEP COVER” — Colin Moorhead, Technical Director, AusIMM & CEO, PT Merdeka Copper Gold

76

E X ECU T I VE P RO FI LE

Janine Herzig A metallurgical engineer with nearly 30 years of experience in the resources sector, working for both mining companies and service providers to the resource industry. Involved in projects at all stages from due diligence to feasibility and production. A Fellow of the AusIMM, Chartered Professional Status with the AusIMM in the field of Metallurgy and former Chair of the Adelaide Branch AusIMM Committee. Elected as a Director on the board of the AusIMM for 2013-2015. Re-elected for a second term for 2016-2018. Elected as AusIMM President and Chairman of the Board for 2019.

OCTOBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘REFLECTIONS – 125 YEARS OF THE AUSIMM’ 77 learning can help with sorting at mining

a suite of mine optimisation and

sites. Automated mineralogy has made

strategic mine planning products

a huge difference to the way we perform

since the 1980s.

our new neurology. We still love to look

“Just under 50% of the top 100

in the microscope, but it’s great to have

METS companies worldwide are

access to liberating data. We’ve also got

headquartered in Australia,” says

Ann Snow doing world-class work with

Read. “In Canada it’s just 9%, so

radionuclides (used to examine welds,

we really are at the centre of activity

detect leaks, to study the rate of wear,

but still need to better our communica-

erosion and corrosion of metals, and

tion, education and innovation. Forums

for on-stream analysis of a wide range

like this will help spread the message

of minerals and fuels).” Australia is

of what we’re capable of in Australia

particularly well known for the use of

while further initiatives, like women

technology in the mine planning space.

in mining, can help widen our recruit-

Leading the way is Whittle, offering

ment pool. Some of our technologies w w w.mi ni nggl o b a l. com


O P E R AT I O N A L E X C E L L E N C E

are really special and the ‘overnight’ success stories you’re hearing now with things like driver-less trucks started here with digital 20 years. There’s a timeline which shows Australia has a proven track record — we’ve now got to find ways of adding value to other mines around the world.” Moorhead notes that perhaps the most important progress made by the industry in Australia has been the government’s support for deep exploration technologies. “We’re seeing a renaissance in grassroots

78

exploration as many of the country’s mining sites are under deep cover,” he explains. “In our backyard in the

Colin Moorhead

E X ECU T I VE P RO FI LE

The former President of AusIMM from 2017-2018, Moorhead has worked in the industry for over 30 years, spending most of his career with Newcrest where, among several roles, he was Chief Geologist at the Telfer (WA), Cadia (NSW) and Goswong (Indonesia) mines before returning to Melbourne as General Manager Technical Services for the Newcrest Group in 2006. In 2008 he was appointed Executive General Manager Minerals responsible for global exploration, mining geology, resources and reserves governance and orebody knowledge.

OCTOBER 2019


Pilbara, we’re seeing exploration under

“BHP has successfully completed its

shallow cover and the likes of BHP

heap leach research and development

and Aus Minerals searching under

trial in South Australia (Adelaide),

deeper cover in South Australia. Our

confirming the viability of the technology

country is regarded as a mixture of

to extract copper, uranium, gold and

exploration problems, but we’re in

silver at Olympic Dam,” notes Herzig.

a fantastic position, after over 100 years

“It really is going to be a game changer,

of Broken Hill, Mount Isa, Mount Whale-

not only for Olympic Dam but for many

back, and Olympic Dam, to augment

mines around the world.”

the future with new discoveries in

Moorhead points out like a true

Australia.” Moorhead adds that both

geologist, that most of Australia remains

sustainable development goals and

unexplored while Herzig cites the need

a focus on social performance have

for Australia to work collaboratively with

become an integral part of the mining

other jurisdictions. “I’m very passionate

mindset. “The mining industries have

about supporting the need for nuclear

always had this front of mind, but we’ve

power as part of Australia’s energy mix,”

come on in leaps and bounds,” he says.

she says. “We can learn a lot from the

Mark Read

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Read is the former Director and current Chair of the world leading industry association for the Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector. Austmine actively pursues global opportunities for its member companies by introducing them to buyers and end users of their products and services. A former President of KBR Minerals and Non-Executive Director of Aspire Mining. Read has more than three decades of experience in the industry dating back to his time as a Senior Engineer at BHP Billiton.

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O P E R AT I O N A L E X C E L L E N C E

UK and Europe when it comes to having bipartisan support from government, and good communications so citizens can understand the benefits of nuclear power. There’s still a place for coal, but when it comes to base-load, nuclear really is the way to go, in combination with renewables. Australia has fantastic expertise in mining and processing uranium, and importantly, in community consultation with a great track record on the environmental and mine closure side.” Read adds that Australia some80

times gets a “bum brand” for coming up with good ideas but not commercialising them. “That’s not the case in the METS sector,” he asserts. “We’re actually very good at taking those ideas and turning them into commercial product that can be sold to the world.” All three believe it’s important for the mining industry, both at home in Australia and abroad, to balance advocacy for the advancement of the sector with the promotion of best practice in light of serious incidents such as the Vale dam failure in Brazil. “AusIMM is taking a leading role in the area of tailings management and best OCTOBER 2019

1893

Year founded

13,000+

Approximate number of employees


Moorhead agrees the role of associations like AusIMM should police and set high technical and ethical standards. “In Australia you have to be a competent person, a corporate member of the AusIMM or the AIG or a recognised Aussie association,” he says. “They all have codes of ethics, and where there are legal processes, companies are addressing issues to keep the individuals around those companies to their codes. As the sector becomes more ticketed, people have to have credentials to sign practice through our association with

off on projects as we need to have

the GMPA (across six jurisdictions),”

a very clear and obvious role to protect

confirms Herzig. “We’re also working

and maintain standards around

with the ICMM (International Council

the world.”

on Mining & Metals) because we want

The mission for AusIMM is clear,

to give a voice to individual profession-

to improve standards across the

als and what they can bring to the table.”

mining sector and make the world

AusIMM held its first forum in Peru

a better place.

in September as a part of Perumin, with the expectation to take the forum around the world thereafter. “Tailings approaches are region dependent, climate specific, and geologically related in terms of how towns are managed, so it’s the best way to talk to professionals about what we’re doing to lift standards,” she says. w w w.mi ni nggl o b a l. com

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T O P 10

82

OCTOBER 2019


Global mining companies The world’s largest mining companies showed steady growth in 2018, according to a new report by PwC, which found that the top five companies make up 50% of total top 40 market capitalisation. Here are the top ten, by market capitalisation.

WRITTEN BY

DAN BRIGHTMORE

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83


T O P 10

84

10

Grupo Mexico S.A.B. de C.V. Market cap : $17.66bn

Grupo Mexico is a diversified miner leading in copper production, rail transportation and infrastructure. Over the past 80 years, it has evolved its business to become a stable and sustainable company looking to innovate when it comes to technology. Active in Mexico, Peru, the US, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Spain, Grupo Mexico is the fourth largest copper producer in the world, ranked three in the US and boasts the largest copper reserves in the world.

OCTOBER 2019


85

09

Newmont Mining Corporation Market cap : $31.65bn

Back in April, the $10bn transaction combining Newmont and Goldcorp saw it become the world’s leading gold business. Delivering the highest dividends among senior gold producers, it will offer financial flexibility and an investment grade balance sheet to advance the most promising projects, while generating a targeted IRR of at least 15%. Newmont Goldcorp will aim for six to seven million ounces of steady gold production over the next decade.

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T O P 10

86

08

Coal India Market cap : tba

Founded in 1975, Coal India is a state-controlled enterprise headquartered in West Bengal, India. The company is the world’s largest producer of coal and contributes about 82% of the country’s total coal production. It operates 81 mining areas that span eight states of the country. These are comprised of a combination of open cast, underground and mixed mines.

OCTOBER 2019


87

07

MMC Norilsk Nickel Market cap : $35.63bn

Nornickel is Russia’s leading metals and mining company, while also operating as the world’s largest high-grade nickel and palladium producer. The company also produces gold, silver, iridium, selenium, ruthenium and tellurium. Allied to a strong commercial performance in 2018, Nornickel reported significant achievements in health and safety – its lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) decreased by 48%, from 0.44 to 0.23, reaching an all-time low and remaining below the industry average, according to the company’s latest sustainability report.

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06

Anglo American plc Market cap : $40.06bn

Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive Officer at Anglo American, expects to see the company deliver a 5% production increase in 2020 and 2021, targeting a $3-4bn EBITDA by 2022. “This will come from a combination of meeting or surpassing industry best-practice equipment performance across our operations; volume growth from existing and new operations, such as Quellaveco; and the deployment of our FutureSmart Mining technologies and digitalisation. It is these technologies that will transform how we mine, process and market our products, providing the next step change in our performance.�

OCTOBER 2019


89

05

China Shenhua Energy Company Ltd Market cap : tba

China Shenhua’s main focus is the production and sale of coal and electricity. The group’s development strategy for the company is “transforming into a world leading first-class supplier of clean energy”. Parent company Shenhua Group holds a leading position among listed electricity companies in China, with the installed capacity of its controlled and operated power generators reaching 56,288MW at the end of 2016. The group also operates Huanghua Port, the largest port for seaborne coal in 2016 (approximately 270 million tonnes per year seaborne operation capability in aggregate), allied with its own shipping vessels capable of a 2.2 million tonnes of loading capacity.

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90

04

Glencore plc Market cap : $46.98bn

Starting out as a trading company in 1974, Glencore employs 158,000 people at 150 mining and metallurgical sites, oil production assets and agricultural facilities worldwide. Glencore completed a significant merger with Xstrata in 2013. In March this year, Glencore announced an integration agreement with Goldcorp and Yamana Gold to develop and operate the Agua Rica copper and gold project in Argentina using the existing infrastructure and facilities of the Alumbrera mine in the Catamarca Province.

OCTOBER 2019


91

03

Vale S.A. Market cap : $68.92bn

Vale placed 19th on Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) annual list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies; its stated mission is to transform natural resources into prosperity and sustainable development. The world’s largest iron ore and nickel producer is well placed to service the need for tech metals supporting the development of electric vehicles and battery storage. The company also mines manganese and ferro alloys, coal and copper. Meanwhile, following the disaster at Brumadinho, Vale remains resolute in its efforts to enhance the safety of existing tailings dams and continue the decommissioning of upstream dams.

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T O P 10

02

Rio Tinto Limited        Market cap : $ 105.6bn Rio Tinto’s mining efforts are focused on aluminium,

92

copper, diamonds, gold, industrial minerals (borates, titanium dioxide and salt), iron ore, and uranium. The Anglo-Australian multinational employs 47,000 people in 35 countries across six continents, with strong representation in Australia and North America. Rio Tinto is committed to exploring the potential for new technologies and this year signed an agreement with Caterpillar, which will supply and support mining machines, automation and enterprise technology systems for the new Koodaideri iron ore mine in Western Australia.

OCTOBER 2019


93

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T O P 10

01

BHP Group Limited

     Market cap : $146.93bn

94

BHP is a world-leading resources company, extracting and processing minerals (including iron ore, metallurgical coal and copper), oil and gas, with more than 62,000 employees and contractors working across its operations primarily in Australia and the Americas. This year BHP released the world’s first bulk carrier tender for LNG-fuelled transport for up to 27 million tonnes of its iron ore as it seeks partners who share its ambition of lowering emissions to the mining and maritime supply chain.

OCTOBER 2019


95

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EVENTS & A S S O C I AT I O N S

The biggest industry events and conferences WRITTEN BY DAN BRIGHTMORE from around the world

7–10 OCT

SEG 2019 [ SANTIAGO, CHILE ] The 2019 edition of South American Metallogeny (SEG) is themed around the latest discoveries of mineral deposits on by booking your place on one of the

Mines and Money Americas

p-conference field trips to the IOCG

[ TORONTO, CANADA ]

systems of the Carajás Province at the

Mines and Money positions itself as

Amazon Craton in Northern Brazil, or

the provider of conferences ‘where

the epithermal ore deposits of North-

deals get done’. The Americas edition

ern Chile. Post- conference field trips

provides an opportunity to showcase

include a visit to the Andean IOCG

your project to an audience of institu-

deposits in Chile’s Atacama region.

tional investors, bankers, brokers and

Workshops will investigate integrating

investors from North America, Latin

hyperspectral technologies and geo-

America and elsewhere around the world.

chemistry through the mining value

Last year’s event offered insights from

chain to complement technical pres-

industry leaders at Murenbleed, Denham

entations at the conference on a range

Capital, Sprott Asset Management and

of mineral deposits. Featured speakers

Vale, while providing a platform for more

include prominent geologists in indus-

than 100 pre-qualified junior mining

try and academia including Richard

projects. This year’s new format will

Sillitoe and Lluis Fontboté.

offer three geo-targeted days covering

in the region and their geomet. Get hands

96

8–10 OCT

the US, Canada and Latin America.

OCTOBER 2019


10–11 OCT

14–16 OCT

Mining Investment Latin America

Nigeria Mining Week

[ MEXICO CITY, MEXICO ]

Organised by the Miners Association

Mining Investment Latin America incor-

of Nigeria, in partnership with PwC,

porates Mining Tech (highlighting the

Nigeria Mining Week aims to promote

latest innovations transforming the

the solid minerals sector attracting

industry) to attract 250 attendees -

international investment to further

ministers, mining companies, investors

develop the country’s capabilities to

and service providers - from across the

fully realise the potential of its endow-

world. Speakers will include: Pablo Jamil

ment (including iron ore and uranium).

Escorcia Pereira, Director of Strategy

The event will host over 180 mine and

and Analysis PRONicaragua, Nicara-

exploration companies and more than

gua; Katherine Linehan, Commercial

40 exhibitors as it welcomes 1200+

Analyst, First Quantum Minerals, 

delegates to Abuja. Expert speakers

Panama; Gabriel Nunez, Geologist

bringing you the lowdown on the coun-

Department of Mines and Quarries,

try’s mining sector include Abdulkadir

National Directorate of Mineral

Muazu, Nigeria’s Permanent Secretary

Resources, Panama and Cindy Collins,

for the Ministry of Mines and Steel

Founder and Business Development

Development, and Riaan Van Der

Consultant, Mining Technology

Westhuizen of Minutor Mining and

Partners, Mexico.

Exploration Services.

[ ABUJA, NIGERIA ]

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97


EVENTS & A S S O C I AT I O N S

The biggest industry events and conferences WRITTEN BY DAN BRIGHTMORE from around the world

28–29 OCT

21–22 OCT

Future of Mining Americas 98

East and Central Africa Mining Forum [ KIGALI, RWANDA ] Established in 2017, the East and Central Africa Mining Forum is an early-

[ DENVER, USA ]

to-market investment platform aiming

Highlighting the latest developments

to set a robust legal framework, uniting

across the industry, Future of Mining

stakeholders across the region to con-

Americas aims to address the issues

solidate its position as a mining hub.

caused by jurisdictional and govern-

Kigali welcomes over 700 attendees

ance changes through the perspectives

along with more than 40 exhibitors

of a host of world-leading experts in

and 20 key mining and exploration

the field. Key agenda topics for the

companies. Leading speakers include

second edition will include an investi-

the event’s host Francis Gatare, CEO,

gation of the risks associated with

Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas

tailings storage facilities; how miners

Board; Doto Biteko, Minister at Tanza-

can embrace digital transformation;

nia’s Ministry of Minerals; Gabriel Thokuj

how technology will impact on the

Deng, Minister at South Sudan’s Ministry

social license to operate; and analysis

of Mining and Dr Samuel Urkato Kurke,

of the steps required to create a more

Minister at Ethiopia’s Ministry of Mines

collaborative industry.

and Petroleum.

OCTOBER 2019


6–7 NOV

19–20 NOV

Mining and Investment Latin America Summit

Future Mining 2019

[ LIMA, PERU ]

The AusIMM (Australasian Institute

The Mining and Investment Latin Amer-

of Mining and Metallurgy) presents

ica Summit will attract 650 influential

its international Future Mining confer-

miners, investors, financiers and mining

ence returning to Sydney for its fourth

ministries to Lima. Four stages (including

edition: ‘Get Future Ready’. Industry

a CSR roundtable) will offer more than

leaders will present ideas on the

20 hours of content delivered by 70

future mining industry needs in the

industry-leading speakers. The main

digital age, transforming mining sys-

conference will feature contributions

tems through integration of advanced

from the likes of Frank Holmes, CEO and

technologies, and how to best achieve

CIO, US Global Investors and Executive

operational excellence with cost com-

Chairman, HIVE Blockchain Technology;

petitive, safe and environmentally

Diego Temperley, President, Australian

responsible operations. With many

Chamber of Commerce in Argentina;

factors impacting the future of the

Raul Jacob, VP of Finance and CFO,

mining industry, AusIMM’s focus

Southern Copper Corporation and

is on preparation. Attendees can

Krishna Urs, US Ambassador to Peru,

develop the tools to do so with themes

US Embassy, Peru. Elsewhere, the Miner

covered including automation and

Roadshow offers the opportunity for

robotics, mine IoT, smart data man-

miners to present their latest projects

agement, sustainable mining practice

to key investors in the region while inter-

and the latest breakthroughs in effi-

action opportunities include an exhibition

ciently extracting mineral resources.

[ SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA ]

area, Q&A sessions during panels and 1-to-1 meetings.

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99


100

Kinross Gold is utilising IT as the backbone of its innovation strategy WRITTEN BY

DAN BRIGHTMORE PRODUCED BY

RICHARD DEANE

OCTOBER 2019


101

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KINROSS GOLD

A flexible IT strategy is helping Kinross Gold plan for the future of its diversified operations

F

ounded in 1993, Kinross Gold (Kinross) is a senior gold mining company with a diverse portfolio of mines and projects in

the United States, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Mauritania, and Russia. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Kinross employs approximately 9,000 people worldwide. The company is focused on delivering value through operational excellence, balance sheet strength, disciplined growth, and responsible mining. 102

Kinross’ diverse portfolio of mines stretches from Africa to Russia. The senior gold mining company has embraced the challenge of developing its operations at remote locations across the globe where it has a strong track record of either meeting or exceeding production guidance targets for the past seven years, while regularly meeting or coming in under annual cost and capital expenditures guidance. A key component to delivering on its goals is a flexible IT strategy capable of planning for the future of Kinross’ operations. Regional IT Projects Manager – Africa, Néstor Alemán Esteban has been working for the company for almost seven years. Alemán is based in the Canary Islands at the company’s Las Palmas program management office (PMO) for IT Projects in Africa, where he oversees all projects; also taking OCTOBER 2019


103

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KINROSS GOLD

“There needs to be an IT strategy behind advances in mining. To make the most of the features available from the latest software and automated hardware the technology can’t exist in silos” 104

— Néstor Alemán Esteban, Regional IT Projects Manager – Africa, Kinross Gold

responsibility for the financial control of the capital budgets of the IT department. “Much of my work has been focused on the expansion of the Tasiast mine in Mauritania,” explains Alemán. “We also run projects in the main office of Kinross in Mauritania’s capital city, Nouakchott, where we’re working on connectivity for employee accommodation.” What challenges does the company face to develop and support communications infrastructure when establishing mining projects in such remote areas? “When you’re examining the status of the mining industry everybody is talking about innovation and automation but nobody speaks about IT,” laments Alemán. “It’s the communication behind the technology initiatives that makes them work. In developed countries IT is taken for granted, but what if you are in the middle of a remote area with zero coverage from any telecom provider? In most cases that’s the story with a new mining operation and the company has to find a way of working around this. It’s important that IT and cybersecurity are not left behind, because without them you can’t support innovation safely. It’s a big risk.” Kinross was fortunate that when

OCTOBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘KINROSS PROCEEDING WITH TASIAST 24K PROJECT’ 105 it acquired Tasiast from Red Back, a

to achieve the installation of a 60km

telco provider had infrastructure in the

aerial fiber optic, plus a 1km buried fiber

area. However, it was necessary to

optic, to get the site connected to the

start from scratch and negotiate with

underground main fiber connection of

the provider to boost bandwidth at the

Mauritania, connecting the south with

site. “We started with a 25mb micro-

the north.” Alemán believes satellite

wave connection with around 1,000

communication offers a viable reach-

people on site,” recalls Alemán. “When

back approach, but it’s typically more

activity at the site ramped up we were

costly than microwave or fiber. While

hosting around 2,500 employees with

satellite can solve the connectivity

a 45mb connection and then man-

problem from day one, communica-

aged to get that increased to 90mb

tions infrastructure offered by local

when the workforce reached 4,000.

providers over time may provide more

We now have a fiber optic connec-

cost-effective alternatives.

tion of 155mb+. It was challenging

Meanwhile, the corporate office w w w. minin g gl o b a l . c o m


KINROSS GOLD

106

headquarters of Kinross in Toronto

and from across Mauritania, carrying

handles the perimeter security of the

with them old and unsecured devices

company’s network bubble. “We are

being connected to the network.

responsible for the security of the mine

Alemán believes innovation should

site. We have Las Palmas, Ghana, and

be about much more than modernisa-

Mauritania connected together via

tion with equipment. “There needs to

Toronto, so when somebody enters our

be an IT strategy behind advances in

network through the perimeter secu-

mining,” he urges. “To make the most

rity of Toronto it’s our responsibility to

of the features available from the latest

ensure they don’t behave maliciously in

software and automated hardware the

our network,” adds Alemán. The chal-

technology can’t exist in silos.” Alemán

lenge for his team is maintaining those

champions the concept of interoper-

levels of security when contractors are

ability to ensure value reaches across

arriving from Morocco, Mali, Senegal

the operation. “Mine management

OCTOBER 2019


need to ask themselves where they

chasing new systems and machinery

see operation two years from now in

that might not be compatible with each

terms of innovation and modernisa-

other.” He argues IT should have a seat

tion. Long-term strategies are im-

at the decision-making table, they’re

portant. For example, to implement

not just the guys providing WiFi but the

autonomous vehicles you need to set

team who ensure systems can commu-

your goals by changing mindsets and

nicate with each other.

processes way before you start pur-

Kinross has made big steps forward

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Néstor Alemán Esteban Néstor Alemán Esteban has been an IT Project Manager at Kinross, the world’s fourth largest gold mining company, for almost seven years. Prior to that he worked for NXP Semiconductors (formerly Philips Semiconductors) and Blacktrace Holdings (a world leader in productising science). A PMP and PRINCE2 certified Project Manager, Alemán holds an MSc in Telecommunications Engineering as well as completing multiple postgraduate courses in Technology, Business and Project Management. “One of the things I’ve discovered during many years working in Africa is that I have learned more about project management, people management and communication protocols, by working every day on the field of battle than I have from any academic certificates,” says Alemán. “I’ve worked in the chemicals and microelectronics industries but what fascinates me about mining is the crossover in specialties and the need to keep up with all of the new innovations with technology each department, from geology to operations and processing would like to implement.”

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107


KINROSS GOLD

$3.3bn+ Approximate revenue

1993

Year founded

9,000

Approximate number of employees

2-3

GUIDED SPOTTING RESULTS:

100

Billion additional TONS of optimized haulage*

* Achieved at customer sites

4

DECADES of value-driven results

ADDITIONAL Loads per Hour*

150 INCREASE

%

Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF)*

Doing More to Deliver More


109 to alert IT of new business cases that require its supervision with a telematics process. Alemán sees further room for improvement with communication protocols. “The mine operation should be understood as a unique entity,” he says. “This is why a holistic approach is so important. If you upgrade one part of a system then it needs to be connected to the rest. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed in the industry.” He believes, when it comes to innovation, while mining is keen to catch up with other industries like aerospace

“The mine operation should be understood as a unique entity. This is why a holistic approach is so important. If you upgrade one part of a system then it needs to be connected to the rest” — Néstor Alemán Esteban, Regional IT Projects Manager – Africa, Kinross Gold

there has been a pressure to adapt quickly which heightens the need for w w w. minin g gl o b a l . c o m


KINROSS GOLD

workarounds. “The problem with mining is that it’s a mission critical operation so the pressure to make things work regardless is greater,” he says. “The extreme costs associated with exploration, production and operation mean that network downtime can destroy profitability.” Tasiast is undergoing major expansion in two phases to increase the size of the operation. IT plays a vital role in the execution of all projects and one that Alemán notes could be enhanced in the mining industry by making it a 110

part of the early stages of the decisionmaking process. “Vendors need to collaborate more in our industry, because in others like aerospace or the military they have solved the interoperability puzzle,” he says. “They have standardisation with protocols so any vendor that wants to sell any equipment or hardware systems to these industries has to work to those requirements which enhances collaboration.” Kinross has a longstanding partnership with Modular Mining. The global leader in the delivery of real-time computer-based mine management solutions for surface and underground mining operations supplies the OCTOBER 2019

“Vendors need to collaborate more in our industry, because in others like aerospace or the military they have solved the interoperability puzzle” — Néstor Alemán Esteban, Regional IT Projects Manager – Africa, Kinross Gold


gold miner with its DISPATCH Fleet Management System (FMS). “It has optimised operations at Tasiast, saving time and reducing costs,” confirms Alemán. The system gives mines automated, real-time monitoring, management and visibility of their operations whether above or below ground. “We connect the data received to our mobile maintenance workshop,” explains Alemán, highlighting the use of predictive analytics to drive efficiencies across the fleet. Kinross also deploys Caterpillar’s Terrain applications for precision drilling, while guidance and tracking tools are used to control the stability of the slopes. “All of this is running wireless so we have to ensure all the machinery is connected across our IT network,” he says. While innovative applications are helping deliver huge operational improvements, Alemán points out that mines are traditionally run on controlled, isolated networks which, though the technology was old, made them safe. “Now with the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud applications the temptation is to connect the mine all the way to the internet,” he says. “It’s a big security risk for mining operations opening up the control network to the w w w. minin g gl o b a l . c o m

111


KINROSS GOLD

S TAT I S T I C S

Tasiast local network

112

• +30,000 devices connected • 10 GB backbone network • +100 Km of fiber optic pulled • +110 radio frequency links • 360 WiFi access points • 280 Switches • Six telecommunication towers +45m • Nested mine wireless network • Nested ICS/SCADA Network • Nested digital radio network Tasiast servers infrastructure • • • • •

4TB RAM memory 408 logical processors +450GHz CPU +330 TB storage +12 servers hosting +210 virtual machines • P roviding services to +1000 IT users • T wo sites in high availability +hot-site mode

OCTOBER 2019

Mining communications requirements •A  ccess to corporate business applications • Access to real-time communication • The importance of well-being – keeping on-site personnel connected • D ealing with medical emergencies • Large file transfer • A sset tracking and management • Onsite (cyber) security • D ata storage, back up and redundancy – insuring against power outage and extreme weather


world via the vendors.” Kinross is partnered with Cisco, described by Alemán as “among the best in the market” when it comes to networking. “All our main station network, our business network, is on Cisco. At Tasiast we are completing the migration for everything involving our WiFi infrastructure to Cisco’s industrial networks and we’re very happy with the process.” He stresses the choices made with innovations should be site specific, based on studying the weaknesses of your operations and weighing those against the opportunities to add value and should be made before committing to any hardware/ software purchases. “Mining is a complicated industry,” he concedes. “At the end of the day, the objective with things like automation and driverless trucks is to remove people from dangerous areas.” The result at Tasiast is a challenge for Alemán’s team in managing the workarounds required for a mix of technologies that may lack standardisation when it comes to communication protocols, but will offer significant advances for Kinross in its most remote operations.

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114

SSR MINING: LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY AMIDST TRANSFORMATION IN THE MINING SPACE WRITTEN BY

SEAN GALEA-PACE PRODUCED BY

JAMES BERRY

OCTOBER 2019


115

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SSR MINING INC.

DAVID THOMAS, DIRECTOR OF IT AT SSR MINING, DISCUSSES HOW TECHNOLOGY HAS BECOME AN INFLUENTIAL COMPONENT TO OPERATIONS SINCE FIRST BEING EMBRACED IN 2013

A

s a firm that has undergone significant transformation over the past few years, SSR Mining knows first hand the impor-

tance of embracing the latest trends in order to stay ahead of competitors. With the increasing influence technology has had on industries the world over, 116

SSR Mining has come a long way since it first began to leverage new software and processes in 2013. David Thomas, Director of IT at SSR Mining, believes that, due to its smaller stature in comparison to bigger companies in the region, his firm has utilised this to its advantage. “The key benefit of how we operate is that we’re smaller. Leveraging infrastructure, such as cloud services that we don’t have to invest large capital in, makes us nimbler,” he says. “This means that a few years later, if we want to change and do something that’s slightly different because of new technology, we have the capabilities to do that. If you compare that to bigger companies, a lot of them have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in capital to build infrastructure, however, then they’re locked in. The landscape has changed for us smaller companies as we can get in OCTOBER 2019


117

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SSR MINING INC.

“THE KEY BENEFIT OF HOW WE OPERATE IS THAT WE’RE SMALLER” — David Thomas, Director of IT, SSR Mining

118

OCTOBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘MARIGOLD MINE’ 119 there and do what we want and move

205,000 ounces of gold in 2018.

with the times – I think it means we’re

The Seabee Gold Operation produced

really lucky and in a really great place.”

over 95,000 ounces of gold in 2018,

Based in Vancouver, Canada, the

and Puna Operations achieved

mining firm focuses on the operation,

commercial production in December

acquisition, exploration and development

2018 and produces silver.

of precious metal resource properties

Thomas points to SSR Mining’s

in the Americans and oversees three

ability to combine a proactive and

producing mines: Marigold in Nevada;

reactive approach that differentiates

Seabee Gold Operation in Saskatch-

his company from its rivals. “We’re

ewan; and the 75% owned and

quite fortunate because we can be

operated Puna Operations joint

followers and leaders,” explains

venture in Jujuy Province, Argentina.

Thomas. “In 2013, we invested a little

Since its launch in 1989, the Marigold

bit of money into the cloud despite our

mine achieved production of over

size and the fact we were operating w w w.mi ni nggl o b a l. com


SSR MINING INC.

120

just one mine at the time. Our move

we saw back then was the fact that we

towards the cloud gave us the opportu-

could seize the opportunity to move

nity to move around our technology

into the cloud. When we acquired our

for various projects, such as predictive

second mine operation, Marigold, we

analytics or general artificial intelli-

were positioned to start moving that

gence (AI) and machine learning (ML)

operation’s IT into the cloud straight

type projects.” With mining often

away. During the acquisition, we began

considered as one of the slower

to transition from the previous owners’

industries to adopt new technology,

technology to the cloud. As Amazon

it wasn’t until 2013 when SSR Mining

and Azure introduced new things, we

really put its foot down towards

were able to take advantage of some

digitalisation. “Back then, we had no

of those new tools and features in our

tech. We had an email system and

other operation too.”

that’s pretty much it. But, one thing OCTOBER 2019

Looking back to how operations


were previously conducted prior to new technology being introduced, Thomas acknowledges the challenges he’s faced over the years. “Previously, we didn’t have an Operational Excellence team like we do today,” he says. “Making that connection with the business was a big challenge because we’ve got IT-orientated people and then at the other end of the scale are mining-focused people, too. For us, we had to bring those teams on the extreme ends together and talk about the challenges. For example, our Marigold mine has a dispatch system,

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

David Thomas, Director of IT After six years of Civil Engineering and running a high-rise building computer design department in the mid 90s, Thomas graduated from the University of Technology in Sydney with an Engineering Degree and a Masters Degree in Engineering Management. After graduation he quickly moved into the Information Technology field in Melbourne Australia, working in the bill payment and consulting industries, before moving to Canada in 2005 where he led numerous IT departments and IT Consulting teams in mining, shipping, forestry and finance. With a deep background and education in both Engineering and Information Technology, Thomas provides both IT leadership and strategic IT transformation for SSR Mining Inc.

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121


SSR MINING INC.

$400mn+ Approximate revenue

1946

Year founded

14,000+

122

Approximate number of employees

OCTOBER 2019


123

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OCTOBER 2019


similar to a taxi that tracks the destination of where you’re going. It’s important that we implement the right software that will enable us to improve. We had to have a much more conducive approach, and being able to do that gave us the ability to enhance our processes and automate emergency systems so that, if there’s a problem out on site, they can press a button and get support.” Having partnered with tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS), Thomas believes what

“L EVERAGING INFRASTRUCTURE, SUCH AS CLOUD SERVICES THAT WE DON’T HAVE TO INVEST LARGE CAPITAL IN, MAKES US NIMBLER” — David Thomas, Director of IT, SSR Mining

makes a successful partnership is the 125

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SSR MINING INC.

ability to understand what the other

and it offers us a much larger vendor

expects. “A good partnership will

footprint, too. With AWS, we would get

involve mutual communication at all

involved with the cyber types when

times and a joint ability to deliver

it comes to industrial.”

something that works well together.

With a determination to not rest

I know when it comes to some of these

on its previous successes, Thomas

smaller AWS or Azure partners, we

affirms SSR Mining isn’t at the finish

would choose a vendor that has the

line yet and he still considers it a small

skills and abilities internally to do the

and medium-sized enterprise (SME),

job, but that can also align with our

despite revenues of over $400mn in

nimbleness,” he explains. “A lot of our

2018. “In mining terms, our revenue is

infrastructure dovetails into Microsoft

relatively small. I think once you get

and AWS. Amazon can give us a nice

into the $2-4bn range of market

little angle in terms of IoT endpoints

capitalization, that’s when you can be

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OCTOBER 2019


considered a big company. In terms

workforce is a key aspect for success,”

of market capitalization, we’re currently

he notes. “It’s about ensuring strategic

around $2bn so we’re not quite there

objectives are aligned with the

yet. I almost consider us like a shopping

operation base and being able to work

advert – we do more for less.” Looking

closely with the teams that we have

to the future, Thomas has clear ideas

recently developed in the last two to

about how his organisation can

three years, such as the Operational

continue to thrive in the mining space

Excellence team. We need to evolve

over the next few years and beyond.

as well as help with sustainability in the

“I’m sure the gold industry will drive

next couple of years.”

the success of the company through mergers and acquisitions; however, in terms of our operations, I believe our workforce and the safety of our 127

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Profile for Mining Global

Mining Global Magazine – October 2019  

Mining Global Magazine – October 2019