CIM Calgary Branch Newsletter
In February Greg Ashcroft from Acquire presented, How an effective geoscientific information management framework helps companies stay compliant, to 29 of our members. Greg did a wonderful job of highlighting the risks and potential impacts of having poor, disorganized geological data. Attendees got great insights on how to tackle geological information compliance including great tips on information leadership.
In addition to Greg’s presentation, we presented Willie Hamilton from AGP Mining Consultants with the 2021 Award of Distinction. Willie’s contribution to the mining industry both locally in Calgary and throughout Canada and beyond is esteemed and has led to numerous mine developments. Willie’s thoughtful, diligent mine planning continues today through his consulting. On behalf of the Calgary mining community, congratulations Willie!
Our January presentation was Communities with Mineral Resource Education by Patricia Dillon, President, and CEO of Mining Matters. This presentation was graciously sponsored by Terracon Geotechnique. 21 of our members enjoyed learning the importance of mining education. There is big opportunity to increase the community's awareness and literacy of mining processes. Many organizations, like Science North and Minerals Ed BC, are working hard to cease this opportunity. Mining Matters continues to assist teachers, either in departments of education, indigenous communities, and other education organizations, to learn more about geology, minerals, and metals. We in the mining community can also assist by connecting with educators and offering our knowledge as well as using the numerous resources from Mining Matters and other mining education organisations.
On the 9 December the Calgary branch combined with the Minerals Exploration group for our annual social mixer, to catch up with each other and celebrate the beginning of the holiday season. This year the event was held at the Garage Sports Bar in Eau Clair. A good night was had by all. It was great to be able to mix again in a more ‘normal” atmosphere following the long period of Covid isolation.
For our November presentation, we were lucky enough to have two presenters. Jim Fisk from Rail-Veyor joined us to talk about a new materials haulage system that combines the best of conveyors, rail, and truck haulage and improves operations for both surface and underground applications. The system has the added advantage that it is also truly autonomous and depending on the source of electricity has a carbon footprint measurably lower than other haulage systems. Ed Gillespe from Teck Coal joined the presentation to talk about a trial of the Rail-Veyor system at one of their mines in SW British Columbia.
Jim Cassie, Principal Geotechnical Engineer, BGC Engineering presented The North Fork Rose Creek Realignment Project, an urgent works closure project at Faro Mine Yukon. 38 members and the Calgary mining community enjoyed the presentation from Jim who described the water flow earth works completed at the closed Faro Zinc Mine with the goal of controlling zinc in the local waterways. Thanks to our sponsor, BGC.
Guy Gilron – Senior Environmental Scientist – Borealis Environmental Consulting - Selenium Management and the Development of Alberta’s Coal Policy: A Perfect Storm of Science Policy and Pubic Opinion. 46 attendees enjoyed Guy’s presentation online, our first for the fall season in 2021. Selenium is a controversial element as it is both essential and toxic, depending on the concentration. Se concentrations can be influenced by mining activity, liberating Se from solid form into solution and water ways, potentially impacting animals consuming the water. Guy chronicled the political responses to media and social media concerns after the 2020 repeal of the 1976 Alberta Coal Policy and then reinstatement and now review. Also of interest was the various treatment methods for mines to reduce Selenium in water. During the question period Guy addressed the recent disapproval of the Grassy Mountain coal mine by the Joint Review Panel.
Jason Weibel, Senior Safety Advisor, from Imperial Oil Kearl delivered a great presentation on Safe Choice – Understanding how human performance impacts decision making. This presentation was graciously sponsored by Terracon. Jason described how Kearl is driving down safety incidents using the Safe Choice system. He showed how safety has evolved from regulations to individual worker performance. As the mining industry strives for further safety improvements, the focus now shifts to psychology and cognitive processes. Slowing down the thinking process can actual breakdown some bias that can influence our behavior. Interrupters like Take-5 can be critical in slowing workers down to enhance their cognitive processes. In addition, peer-to-peer training really helped Safe Choice be embraced at Kearl. These learnings were well appreciated by the 26 attendees with wonderful questions and engagement.
David Corriveau from Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) kindly joined us in April and described the foundation of COSIA as well as reminded us of the role that COSIA plays in advancing the oil sands industry. David outlined how COSIA is unique in its approach to bring forward innovation for land, GHG and water impact reduction. COSIA has a very significant track record implementing initiatives, with billions of dollars spent and thousands of projects implemented. Projects like Bitumen Beyond Combustion (BBC) are exciting as they help decarbonize oil sands emissions as well as produce useful carbon fibers. 32 of our members really benefited from David’s presentation and we appreciate all the support from Teck Resources for the sponsorship of this lunchtime lecture.
In March the Calgary CIM branch invited Lyn Anglin to present the spill response and remediation work at Mount Polley’s tailings dam breach. Since the tailings spill at Mount Polley in August 2014 much good work has been completed achieving remarkable results in environmental restoration. With great support from the mine owners, authorizing a $71M of tailings recovery and creek and lake rehabilitation, the damaged area is showing good signs of recovery. Lyn emphasized how communication of well-founded geochemistry as well as providing community stakeholders ample opportunity to visit the remediation site was critical in achieving support and approval of the recovery work. Interestingly, despite the spill being an initial disaster, many improvements to tailings dam management have emerged following the investigation of the incident.
This presentation, generously sponsored by Barr Engineering, was well received by 68 attendees that eagerly put forward some insightful questions to Lyn. Once again, a valuable lecture was delivered. Special thanks should go to the CIM Foundation for sponsoring Lyn and this lecture series.
Our branch hosted a technical webinar, sponsored by Teck Resources, where Matthew Gay from Teck presented the RACE21 project. RACE stands for renew, automate, connect and empower. Matthew showed us how computing, sensors and connectiveness has the potential to unlock much value for mining operations. As the cost of digital innovation decreases with the scale of the technology solutions, mining applications are more feasible and valuable. Mining has lagged behind other industries in its uptake of digital technology. With the help of McKinsey (?), Teck estimate they can unlock an increase of current income by 11-16%. The RACE21 project has already achieve millions of dollars of value, 25% via mining analytics. In addition, RACE21 helped a 5% improvement in mill throughput and 2% improvement in yield. With many great questions from our members, Matthew explained the learnings from RACE21 and how similar initiatives can be tackled at other mining operations.
CIM Calgary was very proud to present the annual award of distinction to Anne Marie Toutant. Anne Marie, with an illustrious mining career in Alberta and BC, was delighted to be recognized by her mining community.
In addition to the award of distinction, we received a very interesting presentation from SMS Equipment’s, Scott Schellenberg. Scott's observations on automation from the supplier’s perspective were direct and insightful with comparisons between automation projects in Canada and Australia.
As the COVID 19 pandemic was showing no signs of abating, the CIM Calgary branch continued our newly founded tradition of hosting our monthly luncheons online. Recently our talks have been focused on examining alternative energy sources and how Alberta may be able to assist in the energy transition. November’s talk was no exception to this, and we were fortunate enough to be able to host Chris Doornbos from E3 Metals who talked to a group of 50 members, about an exciting new lithium project located between Calgary and Edmonton. Chris focused on how the Leduc lithium project extracts water located under or adjacent to previously extracted oil reservoirs and concentrates and purifies the lithium contained within using new technology. In many respects, the extraction process is similar to traditional oil and gas extraction. Chris highlighted that Alberta offers a mature lithium industry, stable jurisdiction, social license, and an accessible and highly trained workforce to extract this keenly sort after commodity, required for the batteries of our new electric future. The event was kindly sponsored by E3 metals.
Again, during the COVID 19 pandemic, the CIM Calgary branch hosted a virtual technical presentation to its members and mining community with Nathan Ashcroft from Stantec presenting, OPPORTUNITY WITHIN THE ENERGY TRANSITION. Nathan’s presentation was extremely interesting especially for Calgarians that have been very well associated with oil and gas for such a long period. The energy transition that Nathan presented shows much opportunity for hydrogen (of various grades), wind, and solar all growing in demand and supply, globally and locally in Canada. These sources of greener energy will help energy-intensive industries like our mining industry reduce both our carbon footprint and the intensity of pollution. New sources of energy will be an inevitable change for the mining industry, and it is important for our community to be aware of these likely changes and prepare for a smooth transition.
Our branch was delighted to recommence our technical discussions in September, albeit virtually, online, and without lunch! Keely Cameron and Simon Foxcroft from Bennett Jones law, also gracious sponsors of the event, delivered a presentation on how the Redwater Decision impacts the mining sector and their environmental liabilities. The event was very well attended online, and our members benefited from Keely’s experience directly with the Redwater decision in the Supreme Court of Canada. It became apparent that the mining industry is perhaps better regulated with the established environmental and reclamation bonds than the traditional oil industry but still not totally covered in terms of environmental risk coverage. These risks were well emphasized by Simon. Thanks to Keely and Simon and Bennett Jones, as well as all that have made our ‘new normal’ technical discussions a success.
April 2020 and May 2020
Unfortunately, our April and May luncheons were cancelled due to the COVID 19 outbreak.
On an extremely cold day, just prior to the Corona virus distancing restrictions, Mansoor Hussain and Martin Roseke, Imperial Oil presented Kearl’s Autonomous System Journey. The technical luncheon sponsored by RWH Engineering was a sell-out with many very engaged CIM members attending.
The Kearl team describes how the implementation of their autonomous equipment has been long, involved, but fruitful. Major learnings included engagement with the provincial regulator to help educate them about the new technology and working together on assessing risks and controls. In addition, Kearl found great benefit in having the operations buy-in to the implementation project, including operators through to operations managers attending workshops and reviewing performance. They also mentioned it is important to consider the performance of the auxiliary equipment when assessing the performance of the autonomous equipment. For example, with more utilization of trucks, graders, dozers and the fuel-lube trucks need to work harder to keep up. This led to a frenzy of operations questions from the keen CIM group, like fuel burn rates, maintenance costs, etc. Martin and Mansoor did a great job fielding the questions and keeping the crowd at bay!
For our February technical luncheon, Donovan Munroe, from Worley, presented - Options Analysis. The luncheon was kindly sponsored by Worley and proved to be a very insightful meeting. Donovan really illustrated well how important the facilitation of workshops with project stakeholders can bring out many very useful project options. Recently, the mining industry has been critical of itself for not exploring mining options and the concept and scoping level. Donovan showed us how he and the Worley team have a very good methodology for teasing out innovation as well as delivery world class engineering.
On a bitterly cold (-32 degree) day, 33 hardy souls attended our monthly luncheon at the University of Calgary's downtown campus. The speaker was Tim Skinner from the Smart group. Tim is an active and passionate supporter of computer and automation in mining and he provided the group with an update to the status of the international standards group’s development activity and planned program of work.
Additionally, the January meeting made its annual Recognition award. This year we recognized the contributions and efforts Don Mills from Teck Coal has made for our local mining community over many decades. Some of Don’s work collogues lightened the mood of the occasion by sharing some light-hearted and humorous anecdotes of Don’s early career in BC’s Elk Valley.
As always, the CIM Calgary Branch extends our gratitude to our sponsors; namely 3DP, Deswik, FWS and Barr Engineering.
To celebrate the year past and enjoy some Christmas cheer, we gathered with our friends from the Minerals Exploration Group at the Garage Bar. Many new contacts were made, and old friendships reinforced as we socialized with our geologist cousins.
Calgary had a particularly big dump of snow in the week of 19th November and in line with all the material movement (shoveling) required after such an event our branch hosted Rudi Pieterse from FWS Group to talk about the “sticky” issue of material flowing through transfer points on conveyor systems. Rudi’s talk directed our members thought processes towards this often overlooked, yet critical element in any materials transfer systems. Of particular interest was a new idea of using cascading chute designs to better control material flow through transfer points. A scaled-up model of the actual chute design was made available during the talk to enable our members to get a practical and tactile demonstration of the concept.
October 23 saw the branch hold its monthly luncheon with 38 members in attendance.
On this occasion, we were lucky enough to have not one, but two presenters; Karen Woo from De Beers Canada and Andre Stengl from Deswik. Their talk described a detailed haulage and dump optimization strategy planned for the now operating De Beers’ Gahcho Kue open-pit diamond mine in the North West Territories. Karen and Andre discussed how the usual approach of minimizing cycle time throughout the mine plan resulted in deferred ore delivery, reducing the value of the project. Their alternative approach set the mine production target as a hard constraint and then modified both the haulage and dumping strategy to both support the production target and work within the capacity of the available truck fleet. Many local oil sands mining members took the opportunity to ask how the study balanced the production targets with the constrained truck fleet. This, as well as very pertinent investigations into capex versus opex was explored. Overall, it was a fantastic event with members sharing and solving challenges together. Thank you, Karen and Andre.
After the long summer break, the Calgary branch reconvened its activities with a luncheon on the 23rd of September with 20 members in attendance. Our first talk of the season was from Grenn Holden, Technical Solutions Advisor from 3DP. Grenn took us through the details of the deployment of LTE/Meshing data solutions on mine sites. He discussed issues revolving around the quality of service, network security, cost of deployment, and better managing data within the network at any one time.