Earlier this summer, McEwen Mining hosted the first of its “Mining Innovation Lunch and Learn” get-togethers. The event drew professionals who work for suppliers, business and engineering consultancies, professors, professionals from competing mining firms and at least one attendee with no background whatsoever in mining for a series of presentations and wide-ranging discussion on how the industry might become more productive.
Rob McEwen told those assembled that Tesla Motors has proved “somebody can walk in and blow the doors off of everybody else” by eschewing standard practices, and the mining industry, he argued, seems ready for a similar shake-up. McEwen would prefer to open the doors of his namesake company himself, allowing big ideas and their value to flow through, rather than lose them at the hinges.
It is in the mining industry’s favour, reasoned Michael MacFarlane, an Anglo Gold Ashanti veteran invited to speak at the event, that there are other industries that have a 30-year head start in introducing more efficient, technologically advanced operating practices. The challenge for mining is to adopt them. Among the successful examples he cited was Dundee Precious Metals’ Chelopech mine in Bulgaria that you will find profiled by Eavan Moore in this issue.
The questions of innovation and risk also drive the discussion in Christopher Pollon’s feature on the oil sands, “Clean steam.” Natural gas has been the fuel of choice to generate steam for bitumen extraction, but there is some doubt about the sustainability of that option. As demand for natural gas grows along with scrutiny over the carbon intensity of oil sands operations, the story examines the potential that emerging nuclear plants have to meet the needs of producers in the country’s oil patch.
In the preceding months many of you took the time to help CIM get its strategic bearings through an online survey, round table discussions, webinars as well as the leadership congress at our annual conference in May. The result was an enormous amount of valuable feedback that CIM National has been working through to understand how the Institute can best serve its members and the broader mining community in the future. You will find some of those learnings distilled here, and many more available through cim.org. Thanks to all of you who contributed to this project. Next: President's Notes – Hard lessons
Technology: Equipment Monitoring
CIM News from Canada and Beyond
Tools of the Trade