Tag Archives: Canada

SGS aims to ease lab sampling burden for exploration companies with MSPU offering

With the mining industry dealing with a backlog of sending their samples to labs for test results over the past year, some companies are turning to Mobile Sample Preparation Units as a solution, with SGS’ MSPU offering coming to the fore.

The turnaround times associated with sampling are especially important in the early stages of exploration for companies requiring reliable testing data in real time to make important investment decisions to advance their projects.

Matador Mining realised that there were issues in addressing the realities of exploring in remote areas like its Cape Ray project in an isolated area of Newfoundland, Canada, SGS said.

In April 2021, SGS started working with Matador Mining to build a Mobile Sample Preparation Unit (MSPU) in one of the most remote areas of Newfoundland. Sitting on the edge of the ocean in Port-aux-Basques, many were sceptical about the feasibility of building a lab there, SGS said. The site is a two-and-a-half-hour drive away from Deer Lake and the closest regional airport linking to the rest of Canada.

Cindy Collins, Director of Sales and Business – Geochemistry SGS Natural Resources, said: “The goal of the project was to find a way to more easily execute the testing that Matador Mining needed while staying mindful of the possibilities and problems associated with a location as remote as this one. We felt that if we could come up with a mobile lab, then we could staff it with local talent and replicate it across the world.”

Collins says there are great benefits from MSPUs when it comes to sustainability. Instead of building bricks and mortar, the mobile unit runs on its own power and prepares samples for on-site analysis.

Having their data faster allows clients to continue or even modify drill program strategies based on data they’ve already received. Once the program is finished, the MSPU is transported by truck to its next client, SGS explained.

A year later, the MSPU (lab) provides an excellent case study for exploration companies around the world about what is possible. Instead of having to ship 100,000, 3-5 kg samples across the country to its analytical facility in Burnaby, British Colombia, only 250 grams per sample are sent while the remaining materials remain with Matador on site in Newfoundland. This means major carbon footprint reduction and cuts to CO2 emissions and points to the kind of positive mitigating effect on sustainability that investors and stakeholders are demanding, SGS said, in addition to tangible action and accountability when it comes to corporate social responsibility.

Collins is optimistic for the future of the MSPU, saying that the company has three units in Canada and several globally.

“By my projections we should have several more across the continent by next field season with more to be commissioned this year,” she said. “And, for context, since 2004, we have had 35 MSPUs in places like PNG, Peru, Congo, West Africa, Mexico and Kazakhstan. Since 2011, there are about 20 active MSPUs across the globe.”

Rio Tinto to provide Salzgitter with iron ore for hydrogen direct reduction steelmaking trials

Rio Tinto and the Salzgitter Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together towards carbon-free steelmaking by studying optimisation of Rio Tinto’s high-quality Canadian and Australian iron ore products for use in Salzgitter’s SALCOS® green steel project in Germany.

Under the MoU, the two companies will explore optimisation of iron ore pellets, lump and fines for use in hydrogen direct reduction steelmaking. The two companies will also explore the potential for greenhouse gas emission certification across the steel value chain.

Rio Tinto produces iron ore pellets and concentrate at Iron Ore Company of Canada and iron ore lump and fines in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. The partnership will focus on the potential use of these products in the SALCOS – Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking – program, which is targeting virtually carbon-free steel production, starting step-by-step in 2025 using hydrogen direct reduction.

Rio Tinto Chief Commercial Officer, Alf Barrios, said: “We welcome the chance to work with Salzgitter on ways to accelerate green steelmaking, in keeping with our commitment to reduce emissions across the steel value chain.

“Salzgitter has one of the world’s most advanced green steelmaking projects. Rio Tinto is excited at the opportunity of supplying our product and combining our technical expertise with that of Salzgitter to help advance the SALCOS project.”

Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH Chairman of the Management Board, Ulrich Grethe, said: “With this alliance, we want to combine the knowledge of both companies to make further progress with low-carbon steel production.

“In this context, the Salzgitter Group is relying on strong partners, as set out in our ‘Salzgitter AG 2030’ Group strategy, in line with its motto of ‘Partnering for Circular Solutions’.”

The agreement follows a similar technical cooperation pact signed with LKAB last week, which could see the Europe-based iron ore miner supply high-quality iron ore pellets to Salzgitter for its SALCOS project.

Rio Tinto says it is committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and is targeting a 15% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2025 (from a 2018 baseline) and a 50% reduction by 2030. Rio Tinto’s approach to addressing Scope 3 emissions is to engage with its customers on climate change and work with them to develop the technologies to decarbonise.

Under the SALCOS program, Salzgitter’s carbon-based blast furnace route will gradually be replaced from the middle of this decade by direct reduction plants, initially operated by natural gas and then with a steadily increasing proportion of hydrogen.

Chrysos Corp adds Britannia Mining, Kibali to PhotonAssay customer base

Chrysos Corp continues to expand the reach of its PhotonAssay™ technology, with the company set to provide new units to Britannia Mining Solutions, Intertek and Barrick Gold’s Kibali gold mine.

This brings the total number of deployed or contractually committed units to 38, up from the previous total of 33 units, with the new lease contracts increasing Chrysos’ total contract value by A$108.6 million to A$559.8 million ($386.8 million).

Two five-year leases (with five-year renewal options) have been signed with new customer Canada-based Britannia Life Sciences to deploy PhotonAssay units across its newly formed North American subsidiary, Britannia Mining Solutions. The contract specifies the deployment of an initial two PhotonAssay units while providing the opportunity for further expansion of the agreement in the future.

Two other new lease contracts highlight Chrysos’ growing relationship with international testing, inspection and certification company, Intertek (ITK). The association, which started with the installation in 2021 of two PhotonAssay units at ITK’s Minerals Global Centre of Excellence in Perth, Western Australia, has since expanded to include another already-operating unit in Perth and the upcoming deployment of two new units on a five-year plus five-year-option contract basis for the ITK business in Ghana.

Chrysos says one recently commissioned PhotonAssay unit is now operating in Val d’Or, Canada, with MSALABS, and another unit is now fully operational in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, with ALS, it added.

Furthermore, Barrick Gold is expanding its adoption of PhotonAssay technology, with one of MSALABS’ already-committed PhotonAssay units to be deployed to Barrick’s Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Barrick, in partnership with MSALABS Ltd, installed a Chrysos PhotonAssay laboratory at the Bulyanhulu mine in Tanzania last year.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dirk Treasure, said: “This is an exciting time for our business as we continue to execute our expansion plans and focus on key international mining hubs.

“With increasing demand, a strong pipeline of blue-chip customers and our global market penetration continuing at pace, we feel the business is well positioned to meet its ongoing strategic and operational objectives.”

PhotonAssay, Chrysos says, delivers faster, safer and more accurate analysis of gold, silver and complementary elements by non-destructive measurement of larger and more representative samples in as little as two minutes, enabling rapid turnaround of critical operational information that drives optimisation throughout the mining value chain.

The system, originally developed at Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, provides an environmentally friendly, chemical-free, more sustainable replacement for traditional fire assay methods, significantly reducing CO2 emissions and hazardous waste.

Chrysos went public on the Australian Securities Exchange earlier this month following a successful, fully underwritten IPO, raising A$183.5 million at A$6.50 per share.

Artemis awards Blackwater gold EPC contract to Sedgman Canada

Artemis Gold Inc says it has made an award for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPC) scope of works for the processing plant and associated infrastructure at its Blackwater project in British Columbia, Canada, to Sedgman Canada Limited, a CIMIC Group company.

The award amount of approximately C$312 million ($243 million) is consistent with the prescribed budget for the process plant and selected infrastructure scope of works in the 2021 feasibility study.

Sedgman Canada Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Sedgman Pty Limited, a CIMIC Group company. CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) is an engineering-led construction, mining, services and public private partnerships leader working across the lifecycle of assets, infrastructure and resources projects.

The EPC contract is expected to be executed by June 30, 2022, with the contract supported by performance security including bank letters of credit, which will underwrite the financial performance and obligations of the contractor under the contract.

While the parties finalise the definitive EPC contract, in order to maintain the project schedule, an interim services agreement has been agreed which could cover procurement and pricing of long lead equipment and optimisation through refined scope changes, among other aspects.

The project schedule supporting the award to Sedgman includes the following assumptions:

  • Construction mobilisation and major works preparations commence in Fall 2022 with process plant bulk earthworks scheduled to be completed prior to the start of major works;
  • Commissioning activities of the process facility to commence in Q1 (March quarter) 2024; and
  • First gold pour expected in the first half of 2024.

The final EPC contract terms will provide for potential cost adjustments of certain components of construction representing approximately less than 15% of the total contract amount, including the potential for cost adjustments from further quantity definition, Artemis said. Standard adjustments, including currency exchange rates for certain equipment purchases also apply, and further optimisation of the processing plant with final engineering will occur.

Artemis is also considering awarding additional construction packages under an EPC agreement type structure to further enhance the risk management of the total capital expenditure for Blackwater, it said.

When combined with the EPC for the Power Transmission Line announced on August 18, 2021, the percentage of the estimated total capital expenditure for Blackwater under EPC is on track to target circa-60% of the initial Stage 1 development capital of C$645 million in a lump sum EPC type arrangement by the September quarter of 2022.

Stage 1 development should lead to the building of a 6-9 Mt/y operation (6 Mt/y in years 1-4 and 9 Mt/y in year 5) able to produce around 312,000 oz/y of gold.

Steven Dean, Chairman and CEO, said: “The award of the EPC job for the process plant at Blackwater is another significant milestone for Artemis, reflecting a competitive process involving multiple bidders. We are very pleased to be working with a world-class engineering firm in Sedgman. In partnership, we will work to finalise the design and engineering of the Blackwater project in advance of a start of major development activities. Blackwater remains on track for a start of major construction activities following receipt of Mines Act and other permits in Fall 2022 with a first gold pour in H1 2024.”

MacLean opens doors to R&D facility, shows off latest mining innovations

MacLean has opened the doors to its Research & Training Facility in Sudbury, Ontario, for the first time since acquiring the underground R&D lab in 2018.

The company welcomed industry VIPs to tour its facility and get behind-the-scenes access to the range of MacLean product development spanning mobile equipment electrification, automation and digitalisation.

Guests had the chance tour the ‘Ducky Decline’ to get demonstrations of MacLean ground support installation robotics, as well as video remote control for the secondary reduction application in the underground mining cycle. In addition, the open house also provided the chance for visitors to get up close with a battery-electric version of the company’s latest model of shotcrete sprayer – the SS5 with Quickscan thickness imaging (graphic below) and Chemsave accelerant savings technologies – as well as the latest addition to the MacLean Utility Vehicle product line – the GR5 Grader – purpose-designed for the rigours of the underground environment.

“The pandemic didn’t set us back in terms of pushing forward with product development, but it did force us to delay being able to show the mining world just how much of an innovation engine this underground facility truly is for us,” MacLean President, Kevin MacLean, said. “I was thrilled to be there with Don this week to welcome everybody and deliver the message in person: MacLean is committed to investing in paradigm-changing mining vehicle innovation that helps make the industry safer and more productive.”

Stella Holloway, MacLean Vice President of Northern Ontario Operations, added: “Our Research & Training Facility is also an active collaboration space with the broader industry, through our existing training partnership with Cambrian College’s Centre for Smart Mining and the great work we’re doing training the next generation of mine worker. Now that we have the ability to open our doors and show, not just tell industry colleagues what we’re doing as a mining innovators, it feels great – I look forward to this type of in-person dialogue getting reinstated and ramping up in the months and years to come.”

Maarten van Koppen, MacLean Vice President of Product Management, said the company was cognisant that there are hurdles to broader adoption of electrification, automation and digitalisation across the global mining industry, but he stressed that the upside benefits meant the effort was worthwhile.

“That’s why having this facility is so critical to our ability to deliver mobile equipment solutions that not only solve today’s problems, but also create the foundation for the next generations of mine design and operations around the underground mining globe,” he said.

David Jacques, MacLean VP of Engineering, stated: “The company as a whole persevered through the pandemic to get rigs designed, built, shipped and commissioned, which wasn’t always straightforward. It’s why they call it ‘innovation’ – not just continually improving the way things are currently done, but also asking: is there a different way to tackle this problem that will deliver paradigm-changing safety and productivity dividends? This is how we think at MacLean, and the Research & Training Facility allows us to put that philosophy into action.”

Weir consolidates ESCO Eastern Canada footprint with Carriere Industrial Supply buy

The Weir Group says it has completed the acquisition of Carriere Industrial Supply Limited (CIS), a manufacturer and distributor of highly engineered wear parts and aftermarket service provider to Canada’s mining industry.

Its products, which include mining buckets and lip systems, help customers increase productivity through reduced downtime and improved safety, Weir says. The enterprise value for the transaction, which will see CIS join the ESCO Division, is £20 million ($26 million), subject to customary working capital and net debt adjustments.

The transaction builds on long relationship with CIS, acting as ESCO distributor in Eastern Canada for many years, Weir said, while delivering on ESCO’s strategy to have direct sales channels in major mining markets. It also increases ESCO’s capability in underground hard-rock mining applications, with CIS having a strong presence in gold and being located close to deposits of nickel and lithium.

According to Weir, the acquisition will be earnings- and margin-accretive in year one with returns expected to exceed the group’s cost of capital in the first full year of ownership.

Andrew Neilson, President of Weir’s ESCO Division, said: “The acquisition of CIS aligns with our strategy of providing direct sales and service to our mining customers and builds on our long-standing partnership, while also enhancing our capabilities in underground hard-rock mining applications.”

Milestone Austin 797 haul truck body set for Canada oil sands sector

Only 16 days after opening its newest manufacturing facility in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, Austin Engineering says it has completed the construction of an inaugural massive haul truck body for a client in the region’s oil sands sector.

The Austin designed, built and supported body is a heated 797 model that weighs 48 t and has a payload capacity of circa-370 t.

These Austin truck bodies operate in minus 40°C temperatures for several months of the year, according to the company, with the large red load arrow (pictured) enabling sight of loading in regular blizzard conditions.

Austin says its Fort McMurray facility has more contracted 797 bodies to complete throughout December and beyond.

Back in August, Austin announced it was expanding its North American operations into Canada, signing a 10-year lease on a site with 23,000 sq.ft (2,137 sq.m) of manufacturing facilities in Fort McMurray.

MacLean battery-electric support fleet set for Odyssey gold mine

A fleet of MacLean battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are set to operate at the Odyssey Mine, one of Canada’s largest underground gold mining projects, after the OEM and Canadian Malartic Partnership agreed on a fleet order.

The mine, currently under construction, is owned 50:50 by Yamana Gold Inc and Agnico Eagle Ltd. The partners have already said it is expected to be one of the most modernised electric underground mines, with all major mobile production equipment (such as trucks, scoop trams, jumbos, bolters, and longhole drill rigs electric powered).

The MacLean BEV fleet at Odyssey Mine will be used for ground support installation, explosives charging, materials transport, and construction and maintenance, the OEM said.

The Odyssey Mine, located near the Town of Malartic in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of northern Quebec, will extract ore from an orebody that lies underneath the historical East Malartic Gold Mines, whose Mine Manager from the late 1930s to late 1940s was none other than ‘Ducky’ MacLean, father of Don MacLean, who founded his namesake mobile equipment company in 1973 and spent close to a decade of his childhood in the Malartic mine camp.

Don MacLean’s son Kevin MacLean now leads the mining vehicle manufacturer, having assumed the role of company President in 2009. He said: “Every fleet order is special but this one has particular resonance because it connects the MacLean family past with the MacLean company future in the form of battery-powered mining vehicles. The underground project of the partnership provides a perfect opportunity for MacLean mobile equipment to return to East Malartic in support of diesel-free operations.”

Don MacLean added: “I’m thrilled to see underground mining coming back to Malartic and grateful that the partnership has put their faith in MacLean BEVs to get the job done safely and productively.”

Tony Caron, MacLean VP of Quebec, Nunavut, and Latin America, said: “The fact that the MacLean fleet in Malartic will represent a return to Don’s childhood roots adds a special dynamic to this story, one that everyone at the MacLean branch in Val-d’Or will keep at heart as we dedicate ourselves to supporting the success of Odyssey Mine.”

The partners approved construction to transform the Odyssey Project into the Odyssey Mine over the coming years in February, spelling out plans to extract 19,000 t of ore at an estimated grade of about 2.75 g/t Au and roughly 5,000 t/d of waste rock during peak operation. It will be accessed by a ramp and a shaft estimated to be 1,800 m deep.

Gekko Systems partners with Quadra Chemicals to expand GoldiLOX leach reach

Gekko Systems says it has entered into an agreement with Quadra Chemicals Ltd to represent its GoldiLOX leach accelerant exclusively in Canada and the USA, and non-exclusively in Mexico.

GoldiLOX is an advanced leach accelerant able to, the company says, increase gold recovery while shortening intensive cyanidation times, making gold production a faster and more effective process. Compatible with all intensive reactors in the marketplace, GoldiLOX is either added as a single manual addition or by an automated chemical dosing system to the intense leach reactor.

“Gekko is pleased to enter an agreement with Quadra Chemicals to provide a cost effective and efficient leach accelerant, GoldiLOX, to our clients in Canada, the USA and Mexico to add further value to their projects,” Andrew Edmondston, CEO of Gekko Systems, said.

Ian Holden, Product Manager, Mining Group of Quadra Chemicals Ltd, added: “Partnering with innovative solution providers to the mining industry, such as Gekko, allows us to continue to provide technologies which will help to ensure our client’s competitiveness in the market. We are excited about this new partnership and look forward to working in collaboration with Gekko.”

Orano and Denison eye uranium mining method alternative with use of SABRE

Orano Canada Inc and Denison Mines Corp, the partners in the McClean Lake Joint Venture (MLJV), have reported the successful completion of a five-year test mining program deploying the patented Surface Access Borehole Resource Extraction (SABRE) mining method on the McClean Lake property in the Athabasca Basin of Canada.

The final stage of a five-year field test was completed from May to September 2021 with four mining cavities successfully excavated to produce approximately 1,500 t of high-value ore ranging in grade from 4-11% U3O8. The program was concluded with no safety, environmental or radiological incidents and confirmed the ability to achieve key operating objectives associated with the test program – including targets for cavity diameter, rates of recovery, and mine production rates, the companies said.

Most of the ore recovered from the test mining program has now been transferred to the McClean Lake mill and is expected to be processed for the MLJV by the end of the year.

SABRE is a non-entry, surface-based mining method that uses a high-pressure water jet placed at the bottom of a drill hole to excavate a mining cavity. The cuttings from the excavation process are then air lifted to surface, separated and stockpiled. SABRE is viewed as a method that could potentially allow for the economic access to relatively small high-grade orebodies in the Athabasca Basin that are either too small or too deep to be mined economically by open-pit and/or underground mining methods.

This test represents an important milestone for the SABRE technology, they said.

Based on the success of the 2021 program, the partners plan to evaluate the potential use of this innovative method for future mining operations at their jointly-owned McClean Lake and Midwest properties. The MLJV is owned by Orano Canada (77.5% and operator) and Denison (22.5%). The Midwest joint venture is owned by Orano Canada (74.83% and operator) and Denison (25.17%).

David Cates, Denison’s President & CEO, said: “With this test result, SABRE has demonstrated that it is capable of mining high-grade uranium ore in the Athabasca Basin region. Orano, as operator of the MLJV, has diligently advanced the necessary R&D efforts as part of a long-term vision for developing a mining method that could benefit our joint venture. We are appreciative of Orano’s efforts to ensure the safe and successful development of this patented technology and look forward to jointly exploring its potential applications in the context of improving uranium markets.”

SABRE, the companies say, is unique in that the mining method can be selective and scalable, which has the potential to provide superior flexibility when compared to conventional mining methods and is, thus, ideally suited to ever changing uranium market conditions – coming with a potentially short production ramp up of months instead of years.

“The SABRE method is considered environmentally friendly as a result of its less intrusive nature and potentially smaller surface footprint when compared to conventional open pit or underground mining methods,” they added. “Reduced water usage and power consumption also contribute to potential reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and improved sustainability. Additionally, as a non-entry mining method, radiological exposure for mine workers is minimised.”