On Tuesday morning, the CIM Convention 2019 in Montreal hosted two keynote speeches on the subject of resource management. The first, given by Green Mining I nnovation director and CIM president 2018-2019 Janice Zinck, focused on the natural resources and how mines can become more sustainable. The second, delivered by Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion consulting and partnerships senior director Cathy Gallagher-Louisy, spoke on human resources and the importance of diversity.
Before Zinck or Gallagher-Louisy could take the stage, however, Sudbury member of parliament Paul Lefebvre addressed the crowd to announce the six finalists for the Crush It! Challenge, each of whom will receive $800,000 to advance their energy-efficient milling solutions, with the final winner receiving a grand prize of $5 million.
“Using less energy isn't something that affects climate change on the margins,” Lefebvre said. “[It is] something that strikes at its heart. Crushing and grinding rock at mining operations is a great example.”
The process of mining uses large amounts of natural resources such as energy and water, and it also produces a lot of waste in the form of tailings and other products. In her speech, “Crushing the Consumption Conundrum,” Zinck argued that innovative solutions are required to make drastic environmental changes, such as repurposing tailings for re-use in other industries.
“Globally, we have some 18,000 tailings dams, and we're generating tailings at a rate of 1.3 gigatonnes per year. That's a lot of waste, and that's just tailings,” Zinck said. “So we have to look at things differently. It's really about risk versus resource. We all know the tailings are a huge risk, environmentally [and] financially. But are we looking at them as a resource?”
The people who make work possible at mining companies are just as valuable a resource as the ores that they mine, said Gallagher-Louisy, in her keynote on diversity and inclusion. Diversity in people can lead to diversity in thought, allowing perspectives that may not have been considered otherwise. However, she pointed out, mining has a very low level of diversity as an industry, which can have direct impacts on employee engagement and productivity.
“Improving on diversity and inclusion is not just doing diversity training, a one and done,” Gallagher-Louisy said, “it's a very complex change initiative that needs a change management strategy. Training is just one tool in the toolbox that goes with leadership commitment, communications, measurement and a number of other things you need to do to move forward on this area.”
Crush It! Challenge Finalists:
- Gillian Holcroft, Canada Mining Innovation Council - Conjugate Anvil Hammer Mill
- Claude Gagnon, COREM - Optimization of High-Pressure Grinding Rolls
- Erin Bobicki, University of Toronto - Microwave Pre-treatment and Ore Sorting
- Tracy Holmes, Jenike & Johanson - Microwave Treatment and Materials Handling
- Philippe Gagnon, COREM - IntelliCrush
- Cliff Edwards, Envisioning Labs - Transcritical CO₂ Pulverization