Sustainable standards for the mining and metallurgical industry of the 21st century

Abstract The 20th century saw changes in the mining and metallurgical industry not only technically but also in social and environmental expectations. As projects become larger their visibility raises concerns among communities of interest, and mining companies must adopt a transparent and open approach to assure success. An equally important task is to anticipate the standards that will be required to meet expectations.
Early mines left waste and spoil piles around the surface and the images of barren blackened hills is the environmental legacy of coal mining that still lives with us today. The growth of media reporting after World War II raised public awareness to a new level. Industrial pollution was no longer localized and disasters, such as mercury poisoning in Minimata Bay, Japan, were internationally exposed. Native populations with diets consisting of a high percentage of fish were thrust onto front page headlines because of the impacts of elevated mercury levels.
From this grew public advocacy and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that could no longer be dismissed as fringe groups or an insignificant factor in environmental matters.
Some companies took a more balanced approach and their support of communities and the environment were a model of the day. In the context of the time this was more often seen as a ‘paternalistic approach’ to social needs. These values of the organization are largely embraced within a sustainable development approach to business.
The refinement of financial models over the latter half of the 20th century has created situations that inhibit spending today to prevent future problems. The rational result of these models is that investing, instead of spending the money, will lead to more than enough cash to correct future problems when they arise. The error or risk in this approach is that uncertainty has not been adequately considered.
A case is made that deferral of environmental control dollars is not justified compared to the inherent risk to the overall business. Decisions made today will be with most mines for the next two decades. If conventional financial decisions restrict access to future resources, we must therefore place a value on the intangibles. Financial decision measures are thus not simply a matter of business acumen made by the rational mind of an accountant.
Falconbridge established very early on that project standards for their Koniambo project would have to satisfy numerous criteria to be acceptable to all communities of interest. The intent has been to establish a mix consisting of the most stringent baseline standards on which to develop the project. These reflect the sensitivity to multiple national and regional standards as well as the expectations of potential financing agencies. A risk-based approach will be used to ensure optimal use of the investment.
Mining organizations need to view their communities of interest as partners in the venture. Capacity building is a key part of community development needs. At Koniambo, Falconbridge is pursuing an open process that will keep all communities of interest informed at every step of the development.
It is expected that in the future, stakeholders will become more closely involved in the activities of mining and metallurgical operations in their communities. They have increasing expectations of openness and want to be party to information and changes that could have an impact on their everyday lives. The mining and metallurgical industry of the 21st century must be cognizant of these expectations if they wish to be part of future resource development, otherwise they may not be invited or allowed to participate.
Keywords: Sustainable standards, Sustainable development, Environmental awareness, Corporate attitudes, Community attitudes.
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Summary: Environmental desulphurization is an attractive alternative for the management of acid generating tailings. Sulphide bulk flotation is the most commonly used method to produce desulphurized tailings, as shown from many previous works. This process can reduce the volume of problematic tailings to manage by making a sulphide fraction concentrate. The desulphurized tailings can then be used as construction material for an engineered cover to prevent acid mine drainage.
Results from different...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): D. Bois, M. Benzaazoua, B. Bussière, M. Kongolo, P. Poirier
Keywords: Desulphurized tailings, Acid mine drainage, Dry cover, Water covers, Paste backfill.
Issue: 1087
Volume: 98
Year: 2005
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Summary: Traditional planning of mines and scheduling of production is largely based upon the modelling of ore grade. It is known, however, that grade is not the only characteristic that can be taken into account to maximize performance at the processing plant and efficiency of tailings disposal. Ore processing plants respond well to feed that is consistent over time and that has known physico-chemical characteristics, which can be used to improve plant design and performance through the management of...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): A. Richmond, R. Dimitrakopoulos
Keywords: Stochastic spatial simulation, Ore texture, Ore reserves.
Issue: 1087
Volume: 98
Year: 2005
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Summary: Over the last few years, a number of research projects to prove out the concept of applying fuel cell technology to underground mining vehicles have been managed by Vehicle Projects LLC for the Fuelcell Propulsion Institute. These have been carried out with the support of mining companies, trade unions, regulatory agencies, equipment manufacturers, research laboratories, technology developers, universities, and consultants.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology is clean and produces only water and...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): M.C. Bétournay, P. Laliberté, R. Lacroix, C. Kocsis, S. Hardcastle, G. Desrivières, P. Mousset-Jones, G. Righettini
Keywords: Fuel cell, Diesel, Costs, Benefits
Issue: 1087
Volume: 98
Year: 2005
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Summary: In 1997, a group of Canadian mining companies met to review the Mine Environment Neutral Drainage (MEND) program and to consider future activities. They concluded that Canadian industry and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) should fund a small secretariat in Ottawa to support technology transfer in Canada, and that it was important for industry to continue the momentum of MEND on an international scale.
The need for the International Network for Acid Prevention (INAP) was strongly endorsed by...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): R. Gallinger, B. Kelley
Keywords: International Network for Acid Prevention,Waste management, Acid drainage.
Issue: 1087
Volume: 98
Year: 2005
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Summary: The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell locomotive was successfully demonstrated at the Placer Dome Campbell Mine in Balmertown, Ontario. This demonstration was a success based on the following criteria:

safely demonstrated the operation of a hydrogen-powered fuel cell locomotive in a production situation;
determined the regulatory and operational requirements for future fuel cell mining equipment;
determined technical and soft issues critical for future fuel cell applications; and
determined...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): F.C. Delabbio, D. Eastick, C. Graves, D. Sprott, T. MacKinnon, M.C. Bétournay
Keywords: Fuel cell, Risk management, Regulatory compliance, Campbell Mine.
Issue: 1087
Volume: 98
Year: 2005
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Summary: The Las Cristinas deposit in Venezuela contains proven and probable reserves of 12.8 million ounces of gold at a grade of 1.20 g/t. The deposit comprises fully oxidized saprolite (SAPO) overlying a layer of sulphide-enriched saprolite (SAPS) which lies above carbonate- leached bedrock (CLB) and carbonate stable or un-leached bedrock (CSB). Gold occurs at a similar concentration in all lithological units.
Virtually all of the copper originally in SAPO has been leached out and deposited in the...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): J.R. Goode, K.G. Thomas
Keywords: Las Cristinas, Gold, Saprolite, Gravity, Leaching, CIL, Thickening, Rheology, Natural degradation, Cyanide destruction, Plant design.
Issue: 1087
Volume: 98
Year: 2005
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