Tag Archives: Goldcorp

Goldcorp and Orica looking at further WebGen applications at Musselwhite

Following successful trials of Orica’s WebGen™ 100 at the Musselwhite gold mine, Goldcorp says it is looking at further drill and blast geometries and mining methods using the wireless blasting initiation system at the Ontario mine.

Goldcorp said these blasting tests underground at Musselwhite indicate “a decisive step on the path towards full automation of drill and blast operations in the future”.

In 2016, in collaboration with Orica, Musselwhite began testing WebGen, a system which fires primers through hundreds of metres of solid rock. “The wireless system has been designed to fully integrate with a mine’s existing blasting systems and improves safety by removing people from harm’s way,” Goldcorp said.

The project was recently announced as an award winner, which recognised the development of the temporary rib pillar (TRP) mining method using WebGen.

“The TRP is a revolutionary mining method that uses WebGen technology to extract ore pillars that previously could not be recovered in underground operations,” Goldcorp said. “Using this new method, the main ore of the panel can now be blasted and extracted while the TRP holds back the waste rock backfill. The inaccessible pillars can be blasted, delivering reduced dilution, increased truck fill factors and improved overall productivity.”

The system tested at Musselwhite enables groups of in-hole primers to be wirelessly initiated by a firing command that uses an ultra-low frequency magnetic induction wave to communicate through rock, water and air, according to Goldcorp. “This removes constraints often imposed by the requirement of a physical connection (wires) to each primer in a blast,” the company said.

The magnetic induction wave is transmitted by an antenna at around 1,800 hertz, and received by disposable receivers in each borehole, according to Goldcorp. Each 51 mm-diameter, 320 mm-long disposable receiver has a tri-axis antenna array to receive the signal, supporting any blasthole orientation.

Goldcorp said: “Following the blast plan, each disposable receiver is encoded with the Group ID for its blast, and each detonator with a delay time, just prior to being loaded into the blastholes. A standalone Code Management Computer (CMC) – a tablet wiped of other software – is uploaded with a CSV file from Orica’s blast design software. The CMC assigns the encrypted firing codes and delay timing into a preload blast file. A handheld encoder takes the data from the CMC and encodes each disposable receiver and detonator.”

Three separate codes make up the Group ID, and all three must be received from the transmitter to initiate a blast, according to Goldcorp. First, a wake-up code activates the appropriate disposable receiver from sleep mode. Next, the activated disposable receiver receives an arm code, which calibrates and synchronises the units. Finally, following the mine central blasting protocol, the fire signal is sent, firing each detonator according to its programmed delay time. Other disposable receivers, having not received their wake-up code, remain dormant in their blastholes, ready for subsequent blasts.

Following these tests, further drill and blast geometries and mining methods using WebGen are being explored at Musselwhite, Goldcorp said.

Musselwhite’s Chief Engineer, Billy Grace, said: “Since starting the TRP trials with WebGen in late 2016, our level of comfort with the technology has reached a point that discussing possible wireless applications is an integral part of our mine planning process. The entire team is excited by the possibilities that WebGen opened up, and the new opportunities they are allowing for us to increase our productivity and safety.”

At Orica’s 2018 AGM, Alberto Calderon, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Orica, called WebGen “the most exciting development our industry has seen since bulk explosives in the 1960s”.

Bluestone releases Cerro Blanco feasibility study, weighs up ore sorting

The feasibility study on Bluestone Resources Cerro Blanco gold asset in Guatemala has indicated the project has, at least, an eight-year mine life ahead of it.

The study, completed by a consortium of independent consultants led by JDS Energy & Mining, shows average output of 113,000 oz/y at an all-in sustaining cost of $579/oz and a capital cost of $196 million (including contingency).

Using a base case of $1,250/oz gold and $18/oz silver, the underground project is projected to generate a post-tax net present value (5% discount) of $241 million.

The deposit is expected to be accessed by the existing 3.2 km of underground development. The current decline will serve as the primary access to the mine for personnel, materials, and haulage of mineralised material to the plant site, according to Bluestone, with annual ore production of up to 460,000 t planned from a combination of long-hole stoping and cut and fill mining.

While the 1,250 t/d operation looks profitable at today’s commodity prices, the company has already identified several potential enhancements that could increase its value, which will be factored into a revised feasibility study later this year.

Darren Klinck, President and CEO, said: “The feasibility study outlines a robust development-ready, underground gold mine with a modest capital expenditure demonstrating superior economics. The mine plan supports the original conviction that the project can be developed into a small footprint, low impact operation that will provide significant opportunities for local stakeholders and generate attractive returns for investors.

“Furthermore, over the next six months as we optimise the project and work to establish adequate project financing, we will see significant opportunity to continue with our objective to upgrade inferred resource ounces and then update the mine plan to incorporate potential meaningful mine life extension, further enhancing project economics.”

In addition to the inferred resource upgrades and potential mine life extensions the company is evaluating over the next six months, there is a possibility of including ore sorting technology in the flowsheet, Bluestone said.

“Preliminary test work in evaluating the potential of using ore sorting technologies was very successful and highlighted an opportunity as a cost-effective method to help reduce potential dilution and enhance the production profile by allowing new areas of the orebody to be economically mined,” the company said.

Bluestone acquired the Cerro Blanco project, which has an indicated resource base of 1.24 Moz of gold and 4.5 Moz of silver at grades of 10.2 g/t Au and 36.5 g/t Ag, respectively, from Goldcorp in 2017. Prior to Bluestone’s acquisition, former owners of Cerro Blanco had invested around $230 million into the project.

Wood Mackenzie poses mine electrification and automation question

Electrification and automation will be key priorities for mining companies in 2019, new research from Wood Mackenzie has claimed.

In reviewing the research firm’s ‘Global trends: what to look for in 2019’ report, Wood Mackenzie Research Director, Prakash Sharma, said: “Building a world-class low-cost mining business seems to be the mantra.

“Major players, such as BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale, are increasing the share of electricity and automation in mining operations. The objective is to not only reduce scope 1 emissions (from their own activities) and air pollution, but also to lower human involvement and operating expenditure.

“By employing data analytics, companies are chasing productivity and efficiency and lowering costs as a result. The aim is to stay at the lower end of the cost curve should demand for traditional mining commodities fall.”

In 2017, BHP set a long-term goal of achieving net-zero scope 1 and 2 emissions in the second half of this century, while, in 2018, Rio Tinto announced successful deployment of AutoHaulTM (pictured), “establishing the world’s largest robot and first automated heavy-haul long-distance rail network in the Pilbara region of Western Australia”, Sharma said.

“The key question will be whether other mining majors follow this trend in 2019.”

In terms of adopting automated technologies, BHP and Rio are far from being alone.

Vale’s Brucutu iron ore mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil, is set to go fully-autonomous this year – as a fleet of seven new Caterpillar 240 ton (218 t) 793F CMD fully autonomous trucks is expanded to 13 – Fortescue Metals is continuing its manual-to-automation fleet conversion at Christmas Creek, in Australia, and Norilsk Nickel recently told IM it was looking to introduce a “fully-automated mine”.

This is only the start.

NGEx Resources and Filo Mining, which are looking to develop open-pit copper operations in South America, confirmed in the past few months they were looking to incorporate autonomous haul truck technology from the off. These admissions came in their prefeasibility studies, which are likely to pre-date mining operations by three to five years.

And, underground, Resolute Mining and Sandvik plan to fully-automate the Syama block cave mine in Mali this year. The mine started commissioning at the back end of last year, hit the first production stopes in December and is expected to ramp up to steady-state output of over 300,000 oz/y by June.

This is but a handful of trials and projects going on in the automated mining space, with the process plant end also seeing a number of innovative trials or installations to move away from manual mode.

On the electrification question, specifically, Sharma told IM that grid-connected mines were acting faster when it came to adoption compared with those operating remotely. “Shovels and drilling machines at surface mines are already using electricity. Up to 100 t dump trucks are using electric-motors (battery-operated) at some mines in China,” he said.

“At underground mines, electric machines are increasingly used but batteries are yet to take off.”

The latter isn’t the case in Ontario, Canada, where Goldcorp (Borden) and Kirkland Lake Gold (Macassa) are using battery-powered equipment underground in their load and haul and utility fleets. In Sudbury, Canada, too there have been a number of deliveries of such machinery to some of its world-renowned base metal mines. (You can hear more about this at the inaugural Electric Mine conference in April).

As with the majority of technology projects, finance is the biggest hurdle for widespread adoption, according to Sharma.

“Another issue is around the financial health of the mining companies. Some are not willing to re-invest due to uncertainty around the commodities they mine. Some are focused on diversification of portfolios. There are others who want to act quickly, consolidate and take first mover advantage to decarbonise,” he said.

“We believe the electrification and automation in mining will continue to expand and tightening environmental policies will drive the shift. But a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach will not work,” he concluded.

Safety, electrification, recycling and gold recovery tech to be shown at #Disrupt Mining

Goldcorp has announced the six semi-finalists that will display their ideas and technologies at the #DisruptMining Innovation Expo in March.

Commercial Pau, Envisioning Labs, ETF Mining, Gekko Systems, Hydrostor Inc and RubberJet Valley have made the shortlist and will showcase their technologies at the event on March 3 at the Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto, Canada.

The list will get even shorter when the three finalists are announced next month. This trio will pitch their ideas to a “shark-tank” style panel including Ian Telfer (Goldcorp Chair), Jacob Yeung (University of British Columbia student/#DisruptMining UBC Captain), Katie Valentine (Partner, KPMG Australia, Global Head of Mining Consulting), Sue Paish (CEO of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster) and Wal van Lierop (President and CEO, Chrysalix Venture Capital) at a live event held at the same venue on the same day in March.

“#DisruptMining offers innovators and entrepreneurs a platform to bring disruptive and exponential technologies to the mining sector,” Goldcorp said. “The panel of industry leaders will award one of the finalists the opportunity to negotiate a C$1 million ($753,655) investment in its technology, company or idea.”

Todd White, Chief Operating Officer of Goldcorp, said: “Look within Goldcorp and across the mining industry generally, you can see it – #DisruptMining is making an impact, spurring innovation, forging new partnerships and accelerating technological change. We’re looking forward to showcasing the semi-finalists and their technologies at #DisruptMining to continue to move innovation in our industry forward.”

Goldcorp, which has helped run this annual innovation challenge since launch in 2017, has invested over C$10 million in a range of new technologies and companies identified through the #DisruptMining innovation accelerator. “This funding has supported companies through the start-up phase into growth and scale-up,” it said.

The gold miner provided some more details on the six semi-finalists:

Commercial Pau

With the use of a patented biometric technology, Commercial Pau’s Digital Remote Lock Out System is designed to enhance safety and security on-site while reducing the amount of time required to effectively complete the lockout process, Goldcorp says.

Envisioning Labs

Envisioning Labs has developed an innovative concept to reuse mine tailings to produce concentrated solar power reflectors. “These reflectors are then used to generate clean energy and sorbents to reduce pollution,” Goldcorp says.

ETF Mining

ETF Mining’s Modular Mining Vehicles are fully electrified, digital and autonomous; offering improved efficiency and reduced environmental impact, according to the gold miner. “Their modularity allows for the adoption and integration of new technologies as they become available,” it added.

ETF Mining will also be on show at IM’s inaugural Electric Mine conference on April 4-5, 2019, where CEO Koen van Peteghem will present a paper titled: Ridding haulage of diesel: why only modular will deliver

Gekko Systems

Gekko Systems supplies innovative modular equipment and processing technologies focused on the recovery of gold. “It is introducing the development of a product, the OnLine Gold Analyser, which will help determine the actual gold content in mineral processing slurries and solutions in real time,” Goldcorp says.

The OnLine Gold Analyser was originally developed by CSIRO, before the research organisation signed an agreement with Gekko to commercialise the technology.

Hydrostor Inc

Hydrostor Inc’s Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage technology transforms unused mining infrastructure into energy storage systems that help mines manage their energy use and reduce their environmental footprint, Goldcorp says. The system can serve both the electricity grid and mining operations alike, reducing operational costs and providing legacy mines with new revenue opportunities.

RubberJet Valley

RubberJet Valley uses a proprietary high-pressure water jet that breaks down large truck and mining off-the-road (OTR) tyres in an environmentally-friendly way. The resulting material is then used to produce new tyres or other rubber-based products for commercial use.

More major gold M&A as Newmont agrees to buy Goldcorp for $10 billion

Newmont Mining has agreed to acquire Goldcorp in a friendly all-stock deal valuing the Canada-headquartered company at $10 billion.

Under the terms of the agreement, Newmont will acquire each Goldcorp share for 0.3280 of a Newmont share, which represents a 17% premium based on the companies’ 20-day volume weighted average share prices.

The deal comes just weeks after Barrick Gold merged with Randgold Resources to create a new industry giant.

“The agreement will combine two gold industry leaders into Newmont Goldcorp, to create an unmatched portfolio of operations, projects, exploration opportunities, reserves and people in the gold mining sector,” Newmont said.

“Newmont Goldcorp’s world-class portfolio will feature operating assets in favourable jurisdictions, an unparalleled project pipeline, and exploration potential in the most prospective gold districts around the globe. In addition to providing shareholders the largest gold Reserves per share, Newmont Goldcorp will offer the highest annual dividend among senior gold producers.”

Gary Goldberg, Newmont’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We have a proven strategy and disciplined implementation plan to realise the full value of the combination, including an exceptional pool of talented mining professionals, stable and profitable gold production of 6-7 Moz over a decades-long time horizon, the sector’s largest gold reserve and resource base, and a leading project and exploration pipeline.

“Our cultures are well aligned, with strong commitments to zero harm, inclusion and diversity, and industry-leading environmental, social and governance performance. We expect to generate up to $100 million in annual pre-tax synergies, with additional cost and efficiency opportunities that will be pursued through our proven full potential continuous improvement programme.”

Newmont Goldcorp’s reserves and resources will represent the largest in the gold sector, located in favourable mining jurisdictions in the Americas, Australia and Ghana, representing approximately 75%, 15% and 10%, respectively.

Newmont Goldcorp will also prioritise project development by returns and risk, while targeting $1.0 to 1.5 billion in divestitures over the next two years to optimise gold production at a sustainable, steady-state level of 6-7 Moz annually.

Goldcorp’s President and Chief Executive Officer, David Garofalo, said: “Newmont Goldcorp will be one of Canada’s largest gold producers and will have its North America regional office in Vancouver, and expects to oversee more than three million ounces of the combined company’s total annual gold production.”

Following the merger, Newmont Goldcorp’s management team will be appointed on a “best talent” basis, Newmont said, with Gary Goldberg as Chief Executive Officer and Tom Palmer as President and Chief Operating Officer.

As part of a planned and orderly leadership succession process, Goldberg and Newmont’s board have been engaged in discussions anticipating a CEO succession in early 2019. In October 2018, the company also announced Palmer’s promotion to President and Chief Operating Officer.

To ensure a smooth and successful combination, Goldberg has agreed to lead Newmont Goldcorp through closure of the transaction and integration of the two companies. The company expects this process to be substantially completed in the December quarter of 2019, when Goldberg plans to retire and Palmer will become President and Chief Executive Officer.

The Board of Directors will be proportionally comprised of Newmont and Goldcorp Directors, with Noreen Doyle as Chair and Ian Telfer as Deputy Chair.

Goldcorp’s Vancouver, Canada, office will become Newmont Goldcorp’s North America regional office, while Newmont Goldcorp’s South America regional office will be in Miami, US, the Australia regional office will be in Perth, and the Africa regional office will be in Accra, Ghana. Newmont Goldcorp will be a Delaware corporation with its corporate headquarters in Colorado, US.

The Boards of Directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction, including in the case of Goldcorp, on the unanimous recommendation of a special committee of independent directors of Goldcorp.

The transaction is expected to close in the June quarter, but closing is subject to approval by the shareholders of both companies; regulatory approvals in a number of jurisdictions including the European Union, Canada, South Korea and Mexico; and other customary closing conditions.

The Electric Mine logo

The Electric Mine conference shifts gear

With just under four months to go, The Electric Mine conference is charging up to full capacity.

IM has been able to assemble a world-class speaker line-up covering the entire mine electrification process – from R&D and power infrastructure, to battery charging and electrified equipment.

The conference, to take place on April 4-5, 2019, in Toronto, Canada, will host the great and the good in this fast-evolving sector and hear case studies from real mine trials or applications.

This includes a presentation from Kirkland Lake Gold, which is currently running one of the largest in-production underground battery-electric fleets in the industry at its Macassa gold mine in Canada.

Just last month, IM heard that some 33 units were active underground at the deep and high-grade mine in Ontario and Andrew Schinkel, Senior Electrical Engineer of the Macassa Mine Complex, will most likely be able to add to that number, as well as comment on the fleet’s productivity, come conference time.

The soon-to-be-in-production Borden gold project, also in Ontario, will be under the spotlight at the event, with the involved OEMs and mining company collaborating on stage as they have during mine development.

Maarten van Koppen (pictured, left), Senior Project Engineer at Goldcorp Porcupine Mines, Jeff Anderson, Senior Mechanical Designer, MacLean Engineering, and a Sandvik Mining co-speaker (to be confirmed), will present: ‘The Borden Gold Project – lessons learned from the ‘mine of the future’ and the crucial role of partnerships in building an all-electric underground mine’.

The major mining representation does not end there.

Samantha Espley, Director of the Technology & Innovation Centre for Mining and Mineral Processing, Vale Base Metals Operations, will chart the mining company’s roadmap to underground electrification in Sudbury during her talk; expect the OEMs in the room to ask questions about the future fleet for the Creighton deep zone!

Caterpillar’s Product Manager for Underground Technology Solutions, Jay Armburger, is also set to take to the stage at the Radisson Admiral. The focus of his talk will be on heat generation, comparing battery and diesel LHDs underground. A few passing references to the proof of concept R1300G LHD trials it ran not all that long ago at an underground mine in Sudbury, Canada (pictured, right), are likely.

We’ll also hear about developments above ground.

A joint presentation from Karl Trudeau (Nouveau Monde Graphite), Michel Serres (ABB Canada) and David Lyon (MEDATECH) will shed some light on what it will take to create an all-electric open-pit mine able to produce 100,000 t of graphite concentrate at NMG’s Matawinie project in Quebec, Canada.

Those three speakers could be in the front row for Per-Erik Lindström’s talk on The Electric Site project in Sweden.

Lindström, Vice President Global Key Account Management for Volvo Construction Equipment, has seen first hand how battery-electric equipment can move the needle in terms of cost and emissions at the Skanska Vikan Cross quarry, just outside of Gothenburg, and there are more than a few miners interested in the prototype machines (pictured, left) the OEM has manufactured for this purpose.

These presentations will be complemented by a talk from Heather Ednie, Managing Director, Global Mining Guidelines Group, on the second edition of the group’s Battery Electric Vehicle guideline; an opening keynote from Ali G. Madiseh, Canada Research Chair in Advanced Mine Energy Systems, Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia, titled: ‘The Electric Mine: a new norm in mine energy systems’; Erik Isokangas, Program Director, Mining3, discussing the value proposition for autonomous electric haulage; and Doug Morrison, President and CEO, Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), looking at electrification to maximise productive capacity.

Meanwhile, Justin Bain, Chief Executive Officer, Energetique (Energy/Mobility), will fly in from Australia to pronounce the death of diesel Down Under – his firm has recently been involved in the conversion of diesel utility vehicles to battery-electric drive.

Along similar lines, Paul Miller, of Miller Technology, will talk about what goes into developing an innovative fully-electric light utility automobile, designed for continuous underground operation.

IM then has two behemoths in the mine power sector, Siemens and Schneider Electric, looking at the all-important infrastructure that goes into electrification.

Dr Bappa Banerjee, General Manager, Mining Equipment, GE Transportation, will look at the electric future for load and haul in his keynote, Mathieu Bouffard, Project Manager, Adria Manufacture, will cover battery charging and power management of battery-electric vehicles, and Don Duval, CEO of NORCAT, will showcase some of the new technologies that have come out of the organisation’s Underground Centre in Sudbury.

This speaker line-up is only set to improve as we move into the New Year, with IM in advanced discussions with more OEMs and miners looking to present.

The first global event on mine electrification continues to charge ahead…

If you’d like to hear more about The Electric Mine conference – including presenting and sponsorship opportunities – please feel free to get in contact with Editorial Director Paul Moore ([email protected]) or Editor Dan Gleeson ([email protected]).

To view the full speaker line-up, venue details and to take advantage of the soon-to-expire Early Bird attendance rate, please visit the event homepage here.

Miner collaboration playing a key role in battery-electric developments, Sandvik says

Sandvik says it understands the underground hard-rock mining industry’s need for productive and safe mining with battery-electric vehicles and, as a result, is working on even more solutions to cater to this demand.

Innovations and ideas for these future solutions are being discussed and validated in customer forums, participated by several major mining houses, and organised by the OEM.

These customer workshops and forums have proven to be an effective and successful means of collaboration, according to the company.

“Today, Sandvik understands customer needs for productive and safe mining with battery-electric vehicles, and uses these forums to discuss the changes, challenges, and opportunities that electrification is expected to bring to the mining industry,” it said.

As part of Sandvik’s customer validation process, pioneering mining houses get their voices heard and needs analysed in discussion forums, the company says. One example is Goldcorp, which is developing the world’s first all-electric underground mine in northern Ontario, Canada, at the Borden Lake gold project, and presented in the recent Canada customer forum.

Sandvik said: “The benefits that electrification and battery-electric equipment are expected to bring – for the Borden Lake mine as well as any other operation planning to introduce new technology – will include, for example, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced diesel fuel consumption, and reduced power consumption.

“Additionally, as diesel engines are replaced with battery-electric solutions, underground mines will produce less heat, noise and exhaust gases, including diesel particulate matter. Thus, the innovative technology will result in decreased mine ventilation needs, which are currently a significant cost factor in deep and complex underground mines.”

While Sandvik’s customer electrification forum occurred recently, previous efforts have been instrumental steps in the journey to providing an electrified product offering to replace diesel, the company said.

Sandvik has previously developed innovative products for the underground mining industry such as electric LHDs, remote control LHDs, and automation.

Learnings following two years of testing with the Sandvik LH307 battery LHD prototype (pictured) have been important building blocks to the knowledge bank, which is guiding the ongoing R&D efforts, and have driven a clear understanding that “successful electrification implementation involves much more than simply replacing the diesel engine with an electric motor and a battery”, Sandvik says.

“Thus, solutions in progress at Sandvik are based on a holistic approach of electrified equipment, ensuring that the final products make no compromises to performance.”

Mats Eriksson, President of Product Area Load and Haul, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “Finding new solutions to reduce heat and emissions in underground mines, without compromising the customer’s productivity, is perfectly in line with our strategy, safety first.

“Also the targeted benefits of battery electric vehicles speak for Sandvik’s aim to align with the United Nations Global Sustainability Development Goals. We believe that developing battery electric technology is one of the future directions to take.”

IM will be hosting The Electric Mine conference in Toronto, Canada, on April 4-5, 2019, where developments in this fast-evolving sector will be discussed. For more information on the event, click here.

Goldcorp turning tailings into money at Peñasquito Pyrite Leach project

Goldcorp has achieved first gold at the Pyrite Leach project (PLP) at its Peñasquito operation in Mexico.

Commissioning commenced in the September quarter and the PLP is now processing 100% of the existing plant tailings, with the PLP plant operating 24 h/d as it continues to ramp up.

David Garofalo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Goldcorp, said the project was a major investment decision for the company and one of the first that went through the “Goldcorp Investment Framework”.

“We are very pleased with the results in completing the project both ahead of budget and schedule. We are already moving forward with a post investment review where we can take our lessons learned to continue to improve our framework and overall capital allocation strategy,” he said.

The PLP is part of Goldcorp’s $420 million investment to improve the processing facilities at its Peñasquito operation. It is expected to recover some 35% of the gold and 42% of the silver currently reporting to the tailings and add production of over 1 Moz of gold and 45 Moz of silver over the current life of the mine.

The PLP plant processes the existing plant tails, feeding a sequential flotation and leach circuit with precious metals recovered through a Merrill Crowe process, producing doré as the final product. Tails from the new plant will report to the existing tailings storage facility. As the plant is ramped up to achieve design recovery, there will be ongoing optimisation of the circuit chemistry and regrind performance.

Goldcorp highlighted that the PLP was delivered with over 9.5 Million site-hours, zero lost time incidents and an industry-leading all injury frequency rate of 0.09. It was constructed by a 100% Mexican workforce, commissioned two quarters ahead of schedule and came in 9% under the $420 million budget.

Commercial production is now expected by the end of 2018, two quarters ahead of plan, the company said.

The carbon pre-flotation circuit (CPP), which is integral to the performance of the PLP and existing plant, was commissioned in the June quarter as planned and the circuit has now treated 6 Mt of high-carbon ore and is operating and exceeding initial performance expectations.

The completion of the CPP de-risks not only stockpiled material, it also enhances flexibility to sequence ores and has the capability to process the complex organic carbon ore types remaining in the reserves. CPP achieved commercial production on October 1.

The CPP circuit currently consists of three stages of flotation to remove organic carbon from the cyclone overflow prior to the existing lead flotation circuit.

Goldcorp hopes AI technology can improve gold exploration

Goldcorp and IBM Canada have co-authored what they term “an innovative first of a kind technology product” to improve predictability for gold mineralisation.

IBM Exploration with Watson applies artificial intelligence to predict the potential for gold mineralisation and uses powerful search and query capabilities across a range of exploration datasets, according to Goldcorp.

“The potential to radically accelerate exploration target identification combined with significantly improved hit rates on economic mineralisation has the potential to drive a step-change in the pace of value growth in the industry,” said Todd White, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Goldcorp.

Developed using data from Goldcorp’s Red Lake Gold Mines in northern Ontario, IBM Exploration with Watson leverages spatial analytics, machine learning and predictive models, helping explorers locate key information and develop geological extrapolations in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods, Goldcorp says.

Mark Fawcett, Partner with IBM Canada, said: “Applying the power of IBM Watson to these unique challenges differentiates us in the natural resources industry. We are using accelerated computing power for complex geospatial queries that can harmonise geological data from an entire site on a single platform. This is the first time this solution has been ever used, which makes this project all the more significant.”

At Goldcorp’s Red Lake operations, IBM Exploration with Watson provided independent support to drill targets planned by geologists via traditional methods and proposed new targets which were subsequently verified. Drilling of some of these new targets is ongoing, with the first target yielding the predicted mineralisation at the expected depth.

Maura Kolb, Goldcorp’s Exploration Manager at Red Lake Gold Mines, said: “Timelines are short in mining and exploration. I am excited to see the improvements we can make with the data platform and gold mineralisation predictions. These tools can help us view data in totally new ways. We have already begun to test the Watson targets from the predictive model through drilling, and results have been impressive so far.”

The IBM Watson initiative recently earned Goldcorp a prestigious Ingenious Award in the large private sector category from the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC). The ITAC award for Goldcorp’s Cognitive Journey recognises excellence in the use of information and communications technology by organisations to solve problems, improve performance, introduce new services, and grow business.

Goldcorp says it will put the new technology to work on additional targets in 2019.

Back in September, fellow Canada-based gold company Falco Resources said Albert Mining, a leader in the use of AI, had used its pattern recognition algorithms, CARDS, to locate some 50 gold anomalies in addition to a number of other copper, zinc and silver signatures.

Canada Government asks miners to ‘Crush It’ with new challenge

Canada’s government, through Natural Resources Canada, has challenged the mining industry to come up with a new clean technology solution that cuts energy consumption for crushing rock.

The C$10 million ($7.6 million) “Crush It! Challenge” is aimed at tackling the disproportionate amount of energy used in mining to extract valuable minerals, NRC said, while helping the country transition to a low-carbon economy.

The process of crushing mined rock has not fundamentally changed in more than a century; consumes more than 50% of the total energy used in a mining operation; is the industry’s largest operational cost; and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions from mining, according to the NRC.

“Finding and advancing innovative solutions that reduce energy use for crushing and grinding mined rock will reduce pollution, improve productivity and help our mining industry become more competitive,” the NRC said.

The 25-month Crush It! Challenge, will see up to 12 semi-finalists selected to pitch their concept at Goldcorp’s #DisruptMining event in March 2019 – an event that coincides with the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada convention. A ‘Challenge Jury’ made up of key experts from the Canadian mining sector will select the top six finalists, who will each receive up to C$800,000 to build and test their cleantech solution. The Challenge Jury will, ultimately, choose the best breakthrough clean technology and award the winner a C$5 million prize grant.

“This initiative will mobilise new ideas from inside and outside the mining industry to modernise an important energy consuming process and will grow the cleantech sector to enhance Canada’s mining innovation ecosystem as part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to transition to a low-carbon economy,” the NRC said.

For this challenge, the NRC will be collaborating with Goldcorp and the Centre of Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), two industry champions who will spread the word on this unique initiative and enable its success.

The Crush It! Challenge is the fourth of five clean technology challenges under the NRC’s Cleantech Impact programme, part of Impact Canada. It is part of the government’s commitment to deliver meaningful results for Canadians through measurable economic, environmental and social outcomes. Cleantech Impact will invest C$75 million over four years in the five challenges.