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Mosaic’s Colonsay facility is located in central Saskatchewan, 70 km east of Saskatoon. The site produces high quality potash fertilizer products that support Mosaic’s mission to help the world grow the food it needs. The Colonsay operation is a conventional underground mine, hoist and mill that began production in 1969. To help meet long-term global potash demand, Mosaic began field work in 2010 on an expansion project designed to increase the site’s capacity by 500,000 tonnes per year. From the early design phases through construction, and completion of commissioning in 2014, the focus was on safety. Everyone involved in the project worked toward an incident and injury-free workplace with the motto Safely Home, Everyone, Every Shift. Through the dedicated efforts of every person working on site, over 3 million hours without a Lost Time Injury was achieved. Strong safety systems, processes and worker training, as well as a collective commitment to safety by Mosaic, Hatch, contractors and employees, made this achievement possible.
AP60 Phase 1 project is set in Rio Tinto Alcan, Arvida Aluminium Smelter located in Jonquiere, Quebec (464 km northeast of Montreal). The AP60 Technology Centre was designed to test RTA’s proprietary AP60 smelting technology at an industrial scale. The project is the first-of-its-kind in the world and the first step in RTA’s planned investment program in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. RTA’s goal was clear from the start—to safely deliver an industrial plant to demonstrate AP60 technology with minimal capital expenditure and a realistic schedule. The CAN$1.3 billion project was completed within the budget and one month ahead of schedule. It also set a world-class standard for HSE that was implemented as the benchmark by RTA and the construction industry in Quebec, which had suffered from extremely high lost time injury frequency rates (LTIFR). The project finished with an injury rate 99 percent lower than the local average. The 60,000-tonne plant employs nearly 140 people and reached its full capacity on 21 December 2013.
Teck’s Highland Valley Copper Operations, located in south central British Columbia, Canada, produces copper and molybdenum concentrates.
Highland Valley Copper is an open pit operation with a mine life until 2027. The processing plant uses autogenous and semi-autogenous grinding and flotation to produce metal in concentrate from the ore.
In 2010, Teck began a mill optimization project at Highland Valley Copper that includes the construction of new flotation and pebble-crushing facilities adjacent to the existing circuits. The project was designed to increase plant availability and increase copper recovery by 2%, molybdenum recovery by 3% and annual mill throughput by 10% over the remaining life of the mine.
The new pebble crushing facility and grinding line upgrades were commissioned in the third quarter of 2013 and the flotation plant was commissioned in early 2014.
By Correy Baldwin
When Thompson Creek brought in Hatch to handle the expansion of its Endako mine, an open pit molybdenum operation in northern British Columbia, Peter Gauthier, the project manager Hatch assigned to the task, began by identifying appropriate safety procedures.
Gauthier says his team was commissioned to upgrade the daily processing capacity of the mine – from 31,000 tonnes to 52,000 tonnes. The site Hatch was overseeing was almost entirely untouched, with limited tie-ins to the existing operations, giving Gauthier’s team control over getting things right from the very beginning.
“We dealt with the safety and design elements at the earliest stages of planning in the office, right from the time we started layouts,” he says. “The culture of safety starts right at the engineering level – how we design things so that we can build them safely, and then operate and maintain them safely.”
Hatch brought in a number of small, local contractors, all of whom were coming to the project with different ideas and expectations about safety. It was up to Hatch to get everyone up to speed and on the same page, with plenty of training and in-the-field discussions.
“It sounds kind of simple, just transferring over our culture of safety, but it took a lot of education to get them to that level,” notes Gauthier, “down to the very details of our expectations for preparing risk analysis, and the thought process you should go through as you’re planning out your work.”
It was a strategy that paid off for everyone involved. “Some of these smaller, local contractors told us they were better, stronger organizations, especially with respect to safety, having gone through this project,” says Gauthier. “That was one of the biggest compliments that we had.”
Hatch also put in place a number of small but effective initiatives, such as giving all personnel at the site a safety checklist on a pocket-sized card. “They would be asked to stop and spend five minutes looking at it, thinking about how the work is being performed,” Gauthier explains. Hatch also organized morning “toolbox meetings,” in which contract crews would plan their work and talk about the key safety issues of the day.
“Our supervision – not just safety supervision but superintendents and engineers – would attend those meetings,” says Gauthier. “Then we would get our team to come back and go around the room and talk about the hot topic at each toolbox meeting. So we made sure there was a good cross-pollination.” Both initiatives helped keep safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind, ensuring it was a key part of every day’s activity.
Management also tracked all incidents and analyzed the data in order to spot trends. “It sounds very simple to track these things,” says Gauthier, “but it does take a robust safety system, and one that’s also easily accessible to the people on the ground who need that information.”
Safety, it seems, is in the details. It also takes vigilance, and an ability to adapt to new challenges and changing environments. Each project is unique, says Gauthier, and no two weeks are the same.
And for Gauthier, a true culture of safety also requires a different attitude: “We wanted to get away from the culture of safety compliance, and instead move toward safety excellence, where we’re not just aiming to meet a minimum standard for safety, but always striving to go beyond it. We tried to create a culture where everyone’s an active participant, in how they plan their work and how they execute their work safely.”
He goes on to say, “It’s about instilling that safety culture at every level within the workforce and within management, so that everybody owns it – not just the safety professionals.”
The Endako mine is a primary surface molybdenum mine located near Fraser Lake, 185 kilometres northwest of Prince George, British Columbia.
The old Endako mine facility originally included a concentrator that processed ore through crushing, grinding and flotation circuits into molybdenum disulfide concentrate. It also included a multiple-hearth roasting facility that converted the concentrate into commercial grade molybdenum oxide.
In April 2008, Thompson Creek Mining began the expansion and modernization project designed to increase the ore processing capacity to 52,000 tonnes per day. The Endako Expansion Project involved construction of a new concentrator facility, including ore stockpile and reclaim, grinding, flotation, pebble re-circulation and regrind circuit. The project was completed in March 2012.
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