Tag Archives: ESG

Worldsensing underlines supply chain sustainability with Naeko Logistics pact

A leading player in remote monitoring solutions, Worldsensing has announced a move to further improve the sustainability of its supply chain through a partnership with Spain-based Naeko Logistics.

This will see Worldsensing ship its technology to more than 270 engineering companies and partners in over 60 countries via a provider that, it says, shares the company’s strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials.

Naeko is one of Spain’s foremost logistics providers in terms of ESG performance and is currently seeking B Corporation certification, the highest level of institutional recognition in this field, according to Worldsensing. Naeko’s ESG commitments include investments in renewable energy generation and 100% recyclable packaging.

Worldsensing, meanwhile, says its monitoring technology addresses four of the United Nation’s sustainable development goals, including improvements in affordable and clean energy and building resilient infrastructure.

“Our commitment to society and the environment extends across our supply chain,” Steve Cahill, Worldsensing’s Chief Operating Officer, said. “That’s why we are particularly pleased to have forged this partnership with Naeko.

“Naeko’s investment in social and environmental measures, from sponsoring local sports clubs to migrating to a zero-emissions vehicle fleet, are fully in line with our own ambitions for sustainability and civic responsibility.”

Recent ESG initiatives at Naeko have helped save 250 t of CO2 since 2019 and include a 100 kW solar array for renewable energy at the company’s head office, low-power LED lighting in the company’s Sant Boi warehouse and the replacement of plastic and non-biodegradable packaging with 100% recycled or recyclable materials.

“ESG performance is a critical part of our culture,” Naeko’s CEO, Xavier Roma, said. “We are delighted that this has been a key factor in sealing our partnership with Worldsensing, a company that shares our environmental, social and governance values.

“We are also happy to be working with a company that helps safeguard communities and ecosystems through the improved monitoring of critical infrastructures such as dams and mines.”

Worldsensing, through its Loadsensing industrial monitoring solution, allows mining operators to implement remote data collection and real-time monitoring to reduce time spent on mine readings and improve decision making in critical situations. This includes monitoring tailings storage facilities, among other infrastructure.

Nordgold and DuPont Sustainable Solutions to develop safety improvement roadmap

Nordgold says it will develop a safety improvement roadmap for its mining operations with DuPont Sustainable Solutions (DSS).

The gold miner has invited DSS, an operations management consulting firm, to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the safety culture of the company’s operations, it said.

The project is a part of Nordgold’s global Technical Excellence program, aimed at improving processes, systems and employee skills to successfully align them with the industry best practices throughout the entire value chain, including ESG processes.

The assessment will cover all mines and include documentation reviews, interviews, field visits and focus groups.

DSS is to support Nordgold’s leadership in developing a three-year safety improvement roadmap and health, safety and environmental competency model, to deliver a sustained risk reduction and improved safety performance of more than 8,000 Nordgold employees and contractors.

In 2020, Nordgold says it achieved zero employee fatalities and decreased its LTIFR to 0.14.

Nikolai Zelenski, Nordgold CEO, said: “Safety remains at the core of everything we do and this partnership is a pragmatic example of our commitment towards achieving zero harm for our people.”

RPMGlobal’s software, sustainability capabilities to be showcased at MINExpo

RPMGlobal says it will showcase some of its latest software offerings and new sustainability capabilities at MINExpo International 2021 alongside its commitment to support mining organisations on their journey towards “greener” operations.

The company will have several of its latest software innovations on display at the show in Las Vegas, September 13-15. With RPMGlobal’s strong investment in integrated cloud capabilities increasing significantly in recent years, MINExpo will be the first opportunity for many attendees to learn more about its Software as a Service offerings, which includes the Haulage as a Service (HaaS) simulation product, the company said.

In addition, the increasing sophistication and functionality of RPMGlobal’s industry leading scheduling tools, XECUTE and XPAC Solutions, will be front and centre at its booth. This includes the next evolution of mine scheduling software with the introduction of the Hybrid Scheduling and advanced pit-to-port capabilities.

RPMGlobal’s General Manager of the Americas, Sandeep Sandhu, said the company had been focused on accelerating and expanding its software suite in line with the company’s commitment to driving real change in the mining industry through innovation.

“We continue to strengthen our portfolio of products which is evident in the growing breadth and depth of our software offerings since the last MINExpo in 2016, which is something we are very proud of,” he said. “RPMGlobal’s purpose is to help operations extract more value through innovative software solutions and sustainable mining methods so we are very excited about showcasing the progress we’ve made across our software suite in a face-to-face setting in what is undoubtedly the most anticipated mining event of the year.”

RPMGlobal’s exhibit will demonstrate the company’s commitment to advancing the industry towards a more sustainable future, achieved through a focus on innovative technologies and the provision of domain expertise.

Alongside the mining industry’s commitment to sustainability, RPMGlobal’s Consulting & Advisory team will be able to update attendees on the company’s strengthened environmental, social and governance (ESG) services following the acquisition of Nitro Solutions.

With the global mining industry facing an array of complex challenges, ranging from evolving community expectations to a decarbonisation agenda and controlling costs, Sandhu said miners will need to embrace innovative technology and deep domain expertise to grow sustainably and profitably.

“The pandemic has accelerated the focus on technological innovation as operations have realised they need the right technology to operate their systems and software remotely,” he said.

“In addition, more and more organisations have committed to emission reduction targets. As a METS company, we have a responsibility to assist mining operations respond to the increased demands and achieve those emissions targets so we are really looking forward to having a lot of great conversations with clients and attendees alike about how we can help the industry mine more sustainably.”

RPMGlobal adds electric vehicles to the HaaS simulation mix

RPMGlobal says it has further advanced its environmental, social and governance (ESG) software capabilities following the completion of enhancements to its Haulage as a Service (HaaS) simulation product to incorporate support for electric vehicles.

In addition, the company is planning to add hydrogen haulage vehicle technology into the mix later.

As a cloud enabled, service-orientated approach to haulage analysis, HaaS provides mining companies with the capability to undertake haulage calculations in a cloud environment, according to RPM.

The introduction of electric vehicle support will allow users to model energy usage and regenerative braking within HaaS, providing users with the ability to complete travel time calculations programmatically in a cloud-based environment.

RPMGlobal’s investment in both cloud and sustainability has increased significantly in the past year, culminating in the latest release of HaaS. HaaS, which was the first RPMGlobal solution to be released as a true Software as a Service offering, is a native cloud application that gives miners increased operational agility to undertake haulage calculations from any location, the company explained.

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said the latest release further demonstrated the company’s commitment to support mining organisations on their journey towards environmentally responsible operations.

“RPMGlobal is focused on contributing towards a sustainable future for the people and organisations that we work with and it is great to see the advancements that our software is contributing to in this space,” he said.

With hydrogen now viewed as having an important role to play in the industry’s bid to decarbonise through the integration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the next step for RPMGlobal’s haulage simulation platforms will be the introduction of hydrogen vehicle technology to the mix. Foundation work has already started on the offering, with completion planned later this calendar year, the company said.

“This new functionality will allow organisations to simulate hydrogen-powered vehicles and run scenarios with the specific characteristics of the new hydrogen technology,” RPM said. “The simulation platform will then provide a way to assess options and scenarios for diesel, electric or hydrogen powered vehicles in any combination.”

Mathews views the platform as critical capability for mining organisations and original equipment manufacturers as they search for ways to remove reliance on fossil fuels in mining.

“As more and more organisations commit to emission reduction targets, it will be critical to have software that can simulate different outcomes based on what combination of diesel-, electric- or hydrogen-powered vehicles are deployed within the mining operation and allow users to quantify the results of each scenario in a way that assists them to make the best decisions inclusive of sustainability considerations,” he said.

An increasing number of miners have formally set emissions targets while the majors have committed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Many of the plans to reach these decarbonisation commitments have an element that focuses on haulage of material and the shift from diesel to alternative energy sources that are more sustainable, according to Mathews.

“Whether an organisation is looking to battery-electric vehicles, hydrogen, or trolley infrastructure as a greener alternative, our intent is to ensure RPMGlobal’s simulation solutions can support and enhance those decisions into the future,” he said.

The company added electric vehicle support to its haulage simulation platforms, HAULSIM and SIMULATE, back in May.

Drilling innovation directs Alamos to golden goods at Island

John A McCluskey, President and CEO of Alamos Gold, tends to look forward, not back, when talking about strategic decisions the Toronto- and New York-listed miner has made during his 18 years heading up the company.

When discussing the acquisition of Richmont Mines, which included the flagship Island Gold Mine asset in Ontario, he allows himself a brief rumination on the market’s first impressions of the deal: “We acquired the asset for around $620 million in November of 2017. The consensus view in the market was we had overpaid for the asset.”

That consensus view considered 1.8 Moz of mineral reserves and resources and production around the 100,000 oz/y mark, among other factors.

“In less than three years, we had Island over the 4 Moz reserve and resource threshold – we’re now nearer to 5 Moz – and the consensus valuation for the asset from analysts covering us is around $1.4 billion.”

That new valuation factors in a production rise – the company is anticipating gold output of 130,000-145,000 oz this year – and long-term growth prospects for the asset. The latter is evidenced by an Island Phase Three Expansion study published last year that envisaged a 2,000 t/d operation (currently 1,200 t/d) able to produce 236,000 oz/y starting in 2025.

While McCluskey says the company was aware of these growth prospects back in November 2017, most market observers will be surprised they have been proven up so quickly after the Richmont Mines transaction.

They probably underestimated what the use of surface directional drilling could do at Island.

Originally leveraged by Richmont Mines’ Chief Geologist and now Island Gold Chief Geologist, Raynald Vincent, back in 2015, the exploration technique has allowed Alamos to successfully step out from and infill holes Richmont and predecessors previously drilled.

Scott R.G. Parsons, VP of Exploration for Alamos, says surface directional drilling, in combination with the exploration team’s understanding on the controls on gold mineralisation at Island and Alamos’ financial backing for exploration, has helped the company grow the asset rapidly.

“The significant resource and reserve growth at Island in the last three years – adding 3 Moz net of 500,000 of mining depletion – was largely driven by surface directional drilling,” he told IM. “We could not have moved the asset forward in such a significant way without it.”

The use of what Parsons says are “standard” surface drill rigs and Devico’s DeviDrill™ steerable wireline core barrels are allowing the company to hit mineralisation far below the mine’s existing underground infrastructure. The DeviDrill tool can make multiple branches from a pilot hole, dramatically reducing both the time spent and the cost of drilling when compared with standard core drilling methods. At the same time, no time is lost on moving the drill rig between branch holes, as the core barrel can be steered from surface to complete the optimal drill patterns.

The DeviDrill tool can make multiple branches from a pilot hole, dramatically reducing both the time spent and the cost of drilling when compared with standard core drilling methods (photo: Devico)

The company has drilled 240 surface directional drill holes at Island for about 200,000 m of drilling using only 27 drill sites, Parsons explained.

“Using conventional surface drilling, the 240 holes would have required significantly more drill sites,” he said.

This would have involved moving the rig more frequently, making the process that much slower and expensive.

Instead, thanks to this directional drilling technique, the company is sitting on an additional 3 Moz of gold resources and reserves garnered in the last three years. This has come with a discovery cost of just $11/oz.

Accuracy, as Devico indicated, is another benefit of this technology.

“Surface directional drilling is not only more effective than standard drilling practices, but we can hit our targets with 1% accuracy,” Parsons added. “So, if we’re drilling a 1,500 m hole, we can typically intersect our target within 15 m from plan, 1,500 m downhole. This predictable drilling spacing is critical for defining a mineral resource with the appropriate confidence level.

“You’d never be able to do that with standard surface drilling.”

This technique is not a silver exploration bullet, though. According to Parsons, it does not work everywhere.

“It really all hinges around the quality of the orebody and our understanding of the deposit and the controls and the mineralisation,” he said. “Knowing we require a certain drill spacing to be able to define inferred mineral resources, we strategically target the down-plunge extensions of the ore shoots.”

At Island, these ore shoots – which are the high-grade portions of the deposit – are laterally extensive in the lateral and vertical sense, Parsons explained.

“With the surface directional drilling, we are able to specifically target these down-plunge extensions,” he said. “With one or two pilot holes and branch patterns, we can evaluate a large area down-plunge and along strike of the existing mineral reserves and resources. In some cases, other gold deposits can have ore shoots that are less predictable, or are not as extensive, so it would be a challenge to apply surface directional drilling without having a strong understanding of the controls of these shoots for targeting.”

And, it should not be forgotten, it requires an investment in exploration that goes beyond simply reserve and resource replacement on an annual basis. Richmont, a much smaller company, was unable to bankroll such a strategy.

Alamos has made a commitment to do this, as evidenced in the 16-year mine life outlined in the Island Phase III study and the $25 million it intends to invest in exploration this year.

The use of surface directional drilling looks set to continue paying off beyond this study, with the company recently drilling its best-ever hole to date by leveraging the technique.

Drill hole MH25-08 – 71.21 g/t Au (39.24 g/t cut) over 21.33 m – in addition to MH25-04 (28.97 g/t Au (26.89 g/t cut) over 21.76 m) have true widths approximately four times greater than the average width of the large high-grade inferred resource block defined up-plunge of them (photo: Alamos Gold)

Drill hole MH25-08 – 71.21 g/t Au (39.24 g/t cut) over 21.33 m – is the hole in question. This hole, in addition to the previously reported MH25-04 (28.97 g/t Au (26.89 g/t cut) over 21.76 m), have true widths approximately four times greater than the average width of the large high-grade inferred resource block defined up-plunge of them. This, the company said, demonstrates the zone has widened in this area, providing even further potential beyond the company’s current growth plans.

“That one – MH25-08 – is the best drill hole ever drilled at Island,” Parsons said. “And that is after 1.3 million metres of drilling and over 7,000 drill holes dating back nearly 100-years.

“That speaks to the potential of this deposit to continue to grow through exploration, and also highlights the prospectivity of the Michipicoten Greenstone Belt.”

More to come

With 27,500 m of surface directional drilling scheduled for 2021 – and only 6,683 m carried out as of May 31 – more of these high-grade intercepts could soon come to the fore.

And Parsons says the company can continue to use surface directional drilling some 500 m below where it is currently drilling down to at Island.

On top of that, the company, having established the necessary underground exploration infrastructure, is equipping its underground drill rigs at Island for directional drilling, with 24,000 m of underground directional drilling planned this year (3,233 m completed as of the end of May).

“This is allowing us to reduce our cost per metre compared with surface directional drilling and allowing us to drill more targets in a shorter amount of time,” Parsons said. “We will continue applying directional drilling technology as long as the orebody is continuing at depth to drill off those ore shoots.”

At Young-Davidson, the company’s other core asset in Ontario, Canada, the company is also making plans to use underground directional drilling.

“One of our plans going into 2022 is to evaluate opportunities to utilise directional drilling from underground exploration drifts established in lower and mid mines at Young-Davidson to target mineralisation down-plunge at depth,” Parsons said.

More broadly, Parsons thinks the company’s exploration team can leverage their understanding of the technology at other assets.

“For us, it is a competitive advantage,” he said. “With a solid geological understanding of the deposit you are looking at and an understanding of the application and the benefits of directional drilling, we can recognise opportunities of what could be occurring at depth where others might not see potential until well into the future after underground infrastructure is established at depth.”

There are obvious cost, time and accuracy benefits to using directional drilling, yet there is another benefit that may get lost along the way.

Without the need to constantly move the surface drill rigs between drill pads, the footprint of these rigs is reduced.

McCluskey says the technology has brought another ESG advantage to Island too.

By being able to quickly drill off more targets and convert these into the resource base, Alamos has been able to think long term with its Island Gold Phase III Expansion and justify the expense of a shaft and paste backfill plant.

This comes with a 35% reduction in emissions compared with using the mine’s existing ramp and diesel-powered truck haulage, he said, explaining that much of the Ontario grid is powered by renewable hydroelectricity.

“This technology has given us the exploration success that has been converted into scale and allowed us to think longer term and afford the infrastructure to make it a ‘greener’ operation,” he said.

With such a long list of benefits, more companies will be looking at directional drilling to prolong the life of their assets and make long-term decisions that make economic and sustainable sense.

RPMGlobal establishes dedicated ESG mining division with acquisition of Nitro Solutions

RPMGlobal is set to boost its environmental, social and governance (ESG) offering with the addition of Australia-headquartered Nitro Solutions Pty Ltd.

The two companies have entered into an acquisition agreement whereby RPMGlobal will buy the privately-owned ESG services company.

“Nitro is a company that provides the mining industry with a quality-focused ESG service in the areas of environmental approvals, impact assessment, regulatory advice, environmental audits, compliance reporting (due diligence) and environmental economics, policy & legislation advice,” RPMGlobal said.

This acquisition will be the catalyst to bring together RPMGlobal’s ESG professionals, who are based across the globe, into one division to be headed by Ngaire Tranter, the current CEO and founder of Nitro.

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said the acquisition and the inclusion of the Nitro team combined with RPMGlobal’s existing ESG capabilities would see the company form a dedicated ESG division.

“While our mining advisory ESG professionals have been engaged to perform and manage numerous ESG mandates around the world, until now, we have not had a dedicated division focused solely on ESG,” he said.

“Ngaire and her team have an excellent reputation within the mining ESG market which gives us great confidence that we can build a world-class, mining-focused ESG business leveraging an ESG team that knows and understands mining from the ground up.”

Commenting on the acquisition, Tranter said she was proud of the business her team had built over the last six years and was looking forward to continuing to help mining companies take action to improve their ESG performance.

“Alongside the speed of ESG adoption, the opportunity to be part of a larger organisation with a global footprint allows us to assist the mining industry with the increasing requirements in this space right around the world,” she said. “It’s clear that RPMGlobal is passionate about building a premier mining ESG business supported by state-of-the-art software products, and I, together with the rest of the team, really look forward to joining RPMGlobal on this exciting journey.”

With most major and mid-tier miners around the globe having accelerated their efforts to meet decarbonisation targets in parallel with a broader societal commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, RPMGlobal says it has been drawing on its leading technology and the Advisory teams’ strong expertise to deliver a range of ESG-focused services.

“With organisations globally rising to the challenge of meeting increasing sustainability demands placed upon their organisations and operations, I see the merger of Nitro with RPMGlobal as an important step forward to supporting mining companies in their quest to meet decarbonisation, governance and social licence to operate requirements,” Tranter said.

Mathews said this was just the start of RPMGlobal’s ESG journey as the company plans to grow its ESG division with mining services capabilities through a range of organic and non-organic strategies.

“We also intend to harness the deep ESG domain knowledge of the Nitro team to assist RPMGlobal’s technology division identify software products we can either acquire, or alternatively build to service this accelerating market segment,” he said.

The acquisition is expected to close on June 30, 2021, subject to satisfaction of a number of conditions precedent and customary completion events.

Sber and Eurasian Resources Group to cooperate on metals and mining ESG standards

Sber and Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) have signed a Memorandum of Intent to cooperate on developing environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, including green financing instruments, for the metals and mining industry.

The document was signed by Andrey Shemetov, Senior Vice President and Head of SberCIB, and Benedikt Sobotka, Chief Executive Officer of Eurasian Resources Group.

The parties plan to develop ESG standards for the metals and mining industry, including relevant targets and metrics, and apply ESG-linked financial instruments to support mining and metals production. Sber and ERG will also collaborate on matters concerning investment and export opportunities, with ERG receiving advice and information support from Sber on ESG risk analysis.

Shemetov said: “We have been working with ERG, one of the world’s leading mineral mining and processing companies, for a long time, and this partnership has been fruitful. Mining and processing are vital to the economy, and we are aware they entail certain environmental risks. That is why it is most important that market players adhere to ESG principles.

“We welcome ERG’s willingness to evolve ESG-wise and, for our part, are ready to facilitate the development of the company’s sustainable practices while offering a variety of green products and joint projects. I am confident that this work will contribute heavily to the attainment of sustainable development goals by our companies.”

Sobotka added: “We are pleased to continue our partnership with Sber. ESG factors and sustainable development goals have been at the heart of the group’s activities for many years, while responsible ‘green’ investments for project financing are more relevant today than ever. The ethical production of the metals of the future, such as the cobalt needed to produce electric vehicles and gadgets, is essential for the transition to a green and lower-carbon economy. This is a major part of the group’s overarching mission.

“This agreement will facilitate the introduction of ESG principles into our decision-making processes as we implement innovative projects in our regions of presence. We are confident that the new collaboration with Sber will make a significant contribution to the group’s progress in this respect.”

Barrick Gold advances emissions reductions targets after a year of ESG positives in 2020

Barrick Gold has decided to up the ESG ante with a new emissions reduction target to 2030 that makes its goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 that much more achievable.

The company said its ESG strategy delivered tangible results in 2020, included zero Class 1 environmental incidents, a new record of 79% water recycling and re-use by its operations, and the introduction of fully functional community development committees at all its operating sites to guide its social investment programs.

Speaking in a virtual presentation on sustainability this week, Barrick President and CEO, Mark Bristow, said: “At the beginning of last year, we set an emissions reduction target of 10% by 2030 against a 2018 baseline that combined the data from the legacy Barrick and Randgold operations as well as newly acquired assets. Through the year, we worked on identifying further reduction opportunities and this has enabled us to set an updated target of at least 30% by 2030 with an interim reduction target of 15% based on projects already being implemented, while maintaining a steady production profile.”

He added: “Ultimately our aim is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, achieved primarily through greenhouse gas reductions and offsets for some hard-to-abate emissions,” he said.

Sustainability has long been a strategic business priority for the company, according to Bristow.

“Our strategy is based on four pillars: the creation of economic benefits for all stakeholders; the protection of health and safety at our mines and in their host communities; a respect for human rights; and the minimisation of our environmental impacts. For us, ESG is not a corporate compliance function: it’s integral to how we manage our businesses worldwide.”

In the same presentation, Barrick’s Group Sustainability Executive, Grant Beringer, said all the company’s sites had been certified to the ISO 14001:2015 environmental management standard. Each site had also been empowered to manage its own environmental issues under the oversight of the group’s strategic leadership. There was a particularly rigorous approach to management of tailings facilities, the company added.

Beringer said: “Our tailings and heap leach management standard has been aligned with the recently updated guidelines of the International Council on Mining and Metals, of which Barrick is a member, as well as those of the Mining Association of Canada. The standard sets out six levels of inspection and surety for the safe operation of tailings and heap leach facilities.”

Newmont sets up global centre to promote meaningful engagement with Indigenous Peoples

Newmont Corp has launched the Newmont Global Center for Indigenous Community Relations as a key part of the company’s aim to promote meaningful engagement with Indigenous Peoples.

The centre will be a resource for the company and the mining industry as a way to promote awareness, education and engagement between industry and Indigenous Peoples, the gold miner said.

Tom Palmer, President and Chief Executive Officer, explained: “Newmont recognises the special connection between Indigenous Peoples and the land, and that mining can affect this connection in some challenging ways. The entire industry has a great opportunity to learn and improve our practices.

“Through the centre, meaningful partnerships will be formed to create a space for dialogue and sharing with the aim of improving outcomes for Indigenous communities around our operations and act as a catalyst for improvement within the mining industry.”

The centre seeks to establish a respected source of dialogue, collective knowledge and experiences in order to improve the company’s practices and contribute in advancing the industry’s approach to engagement with Indigenous communities, Newmont said. It has identified three focus areas and a set of three-year strategic objectives to orient meaningful outcomes. These focus areas are:

  • Partnership and learning network;
  • Respect for customs and culture; and
  • Opportunities for Indigenous People.

Based in Vancouver, Canada, the centre will work collaboratively with the Advisory Council on Indigenous Community Relations, a group of external experts who advise the Safety and Sustainability Committee of the Board of Directors.

An internal working group comprised of diverse representatives from within Newmont will also share experiences, best practices and identify ways to improve collaboration. The centre will work across all of Newmont’s jurisdictions around the world, the miner said.