Tag Archives: Natural Resources Canada

CEMI launches new Canadian mineral processing portal to accelerate innovation

As part of its partnership with Natural Resources Canada, the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) has launched the Canadian Mineral Processing Ecosystem Innovation Portal.

The CMPIP (www.cmpip.ca) is a moderated online platform that will support the community of innovators and end-users in the Canadian mineral processing innovation ecosystem, CEMI said. The portal is aimed at helping mobilise innovators to create a cleaner, more productive, and globally competitive Canadian mineral processing industry.

The purpose of the CMPIP is to support and accelerate innovation and to help build the capacity of the Canadian Mineral Processing Innovation Ecosystem, CEMI said. It will help achieve this by targeting and connecting mineral processing ecosystem members from the private and public sectors around an innovation dialogue. Members from academic institutions, research centres and private enterprise (start-ups, SMEs, large companies, plant operators).

“This platform aims to be the go-to place to find out the latest and most current dialogue around innovation in the mineral processing ecosystem,” CEMI said.

The moderated platform environment offers the following features and services that are aimed at enhancing innovation and dialogue in the mineral processing ecosystem:

  • Current innovation and mineral processing news;
  • Relevant upcoming ecosystem events and external links;
  • Forums with categories: feed, mill, operations, liberation;
  • Ability to submit articles on topics relevant to innovation in the sector;
  • Ability to submit new innovations and challenge requests;
  • Twenty-nineteen Canadian mineral processing ecosystem map; and
  • Ability to sponsor articles, postings or events.

Mining energy benchmarking platform released for Canada’s miners

MiTRAQ and Natural Resources Canada have unveiled the Mining Energy Benchmarking Platform aimed at transitioning Canada’s mining industry to a low carbon future.

The platform enables analysis of power generation and consumption at mine sites and provides data-driven insight into energy use productivity, according to MiTRAQ.

Developed through the collaboration of MiTRAQ and Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetMINING subsidiary and the Office of Energy Efficiency, the platform provides mining companies with a multi-dimensional understanding of their relative performance within the industry to improve operations and increase their competitive advantage, according to MiTRAQ.

MiTRAQ ensure all data is secure, utilising the latest 2FA (2 Factor Authentication) tokenised data and military grade encryption. At the same time as this, only the mining company representatives can access their own raw data, making all outputs completely anonymous.

Miners with assets in Canada can start using this for free and, in the framework of cooperation, NRCan will subsidise licences so that mining companies can access the platform until June 2021.

MineSense, Commerce Resources look at ore sorting options for Ashram REE project

Commerce Resources has started a test project initiative with MineSense as part of its ongoing collaboration with CanmetMINING.

The project with Commerce will include assessing the spectral response on 127 course analytical rejects from drill core, comprising five rock types associated with the Ashram rare earth and fluorspar deposit, in Quebec, Canada.

Of these 127 rejects, a total of 72 are from drill core within the Ashram deposit’s primary mineralised zone: the A-Zone. Based on the information collected, MineSense will be able to assess the laboratory-scale efficacy of its technology to the Ashram deposit material. If successful, a value contribution assessment may be completed as a follow up activity for the Ashram project.

MineSense specialises in digital technology solutions for ore-waste classification in real time at the mining stage (run of mine), thereby providing better grade control compared with that of the deposit block model or mine plan. It uses data analytics, combined with its trademarked ShovelSense and BeltSense technologies, to monitor mineralogical or grade changes in an orebody daily, as it is mined. This information allows for optimal ore blending, grade trend characterisation, and overall improved mine planning with resultant cost efficiencies.

The MineSense technology is based on X-ray Fluorescence sensors fitted to specific pieces of mining equipment to monitor the spectral response of the material being actively mined. The technology provides for a higher level of control compared with the typical ore sorting process which occurs at the truck scale in the process plant, Commerce says.

One of the standout deployments of ShovelSense is at Teck Resources’ Highland Valley Copper (HVC) operations in British Columbia.

The funding for the test work at Ashram is provided by Natural Resources Canada through CanmetMINING’s six-year rare earth element (REE) and chromite program (announced in April 2015), focused on developing new extraction technologies, addressing Canadian environmental challenges, and improving the knowledge of Canadian deposits, Commerce says. The company’s contribution to the collaboration is a supply of REE mineralised material from Ashram, in which several tonnes remain readily available from a bulk sample completed in 2012.

The Ashram deposit outcrops at surface, allowing for cost-effective collection of material for test work. As such, the company is actively engaging with various research and academic institutions to support the advancement of the rare earth element industry in Canada, and in Quebec specifically, it said.

The resource base at Ashram consists of 1.59 Mt of material averaging 1.77% total rare earth oxides (TREO) in the measured category, 27.67 Mt at 1.9% TREO in the indicated category and 219.8 Mt at 1.88% TREO in the inferred category. The preliminary economic assessment outlined a 4,000 t/d open-pit operation with a 0.19:1 (waste:ore) strip ratio over a 25-year mine life. Annual production averaged circa-16,850 t of REO over the life of mine.

Canada invests in Suncor-backed clay content analyser project for mining sector

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, has announced a C$1.6 million ($1.2 million) investment in the development of an analyser able to provide near real-time measurements of the active clay content in oil sands and mine tailings.

The project, led by the Saskatchewan Research Council with Suncor Energy Inc and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology as partners, could prove beneficial to Canada’s diamond, potash and oil sands sectors.

On top of the Federal Government’s funding, through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, the project collaborators are also providing in-kind and financial contributions, bringing the overall project value to C$2.29 million.

Clay is naturally present in varying quantities within minerals deposits and presents a significant tailings management challenge. The clay analyser will assist in near real-time measurements of clay concentrations, which will allow the companies to develop strategies for effective process control and tailings management options that can reduce the use of chemicals, resulting in operating cost savings and reducing tailing deposit footprints.

The technology is also applicable to different types of mines, such as diamond, potash and oil sands, and will have various environmental benefits, including improved water management and reduced land disturbance, leading to progressive reclamation of mine sites, the government said.

Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program invests in clean technology research and development projects in Canada’s energy, mining and forest sectors. The program is a C$155 million investment fund that helps emerging clean technologies further reduce their impacts on air, land and water while enhancing competitiveness and creating jobs.

(photo: Suncor Energy’s oil sands)

Corem’s cyanide recovery and recycling process wins federal, provincial backing

Quebec-based Corem is to receive C$2.1 million ($1.6 million) of funding from the Canadian government to support the development of an innovative process for the recovery and recycling of cyanide in the gold extraction process.

This new process is more environmentally sustainable and reduces the impact of gold mining on the aquatic ecosystem, according to Natural Resources Canada.

The announcement was made by Jean-Yves Duclos, President of Treasury Board of Canada and Member of Parliament for Quebec, on behalf of Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. The Quebec Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources is also contributing an additional C$100,000 to this project, according to the government.

Following this cash injection provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, Corem will work to accelerate the deployment of the process at commercial scale by constructing a pilot-scale processing plant, NRC said.

“Corem’s promising recycling technology is expected to reduce the volume of contaminated water stored in tailings ponds, thereby contributing to the sustainability and competitiveness of the mining industry,” it added.

Francis Fournier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Corem, said: “This financial support demonstrates the importance and interest in the development of clean technologies for the mining industry and the Government of Canada. It allows Corem to pursue its mission of developing innovative solutions for the benefit of a sustainable mining industry and of working closely with our members, our customers and our partners.”

The Clean Growth Program invests in clean technology research and development projects in Canada’s energy, mining and forest sectors. The program is a C$155 million investment fund that helps emerging clean technologies further reduce their impacts on air, land and water while enhancing competitiveness and creating jobs, it says.

It also provides federal laboratory support for innovators under the Science and Technology Assistance for Cleantech initiative, which is intended to help bring Canadian clean technologies to market by providing federal research expertise, facilities and equipment.

Legacy Alberta coal mine to receive new life as renewable project

The Government of Canada is backing a project in Alberta to turn a former operating coal mine in the region into a renewable energy operation.

Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, last week announced C$3.8 million ($2.8 million) in funding to the BIOSALIX program, a renewable energy coal mine reclamation project near Forestburg, Alberta.

A collaborative effort led by environmental consulting firm Sylvis, the project uses municipal organic waste as an additive to generate the conditions to grow a willow crop on the reclaimed land, Natural Resources Canada said. The willow is then harvested to create a woody biomass that can be used to produce renewable heat, energy and other products.

According to Slyvis, the project is the first of its type and size, providing a path for clean energy growth through the transition of prairie coal mines to biomass production while providing mining communities with economical stability through the development of a cleantech economy.

“Overall, this project will help municipalities manage their organic waste, grow a renewable feedstock to produce bioenergy, reclaim expired mine land and create new opportunities for communities affected by coal mine closures,” NRC said.

Federal funding for the project will be provided through Natural Resource Canada’s Clean Growth Program. Further funding in the amounts of C$1.5 and C$2 million will be provided respectively by Alberta Innovates and Emission Reductions Alberta. Natural Resource Canada’s Canadian Forest Service will also lend its biomass research and expertise to the project.

The Clean Growth Program is a C$155-million investment fund that helps emerging clean technologies further reduce their impacts on air, land and water while enhancing competitiveness and creating jobs.

Canada invests in clean and green copper hydrometallurgical technology

Natural Resource Canada has set aside funds for a mineral extraction research and development project that, applied at commercial scale, will help reduce emissions and water use while lowering costs for companies, it said.

The project, being carried out by Vancouver’s Jetti Services Canada Inc (Jetti Resources), will develop a more energy-efficient process to extract copper from regular- and lower-grade ores, as well as waste mining materials and tailings, according to the NRC.

Jetti Resources calls itself a technology-driven natural resources company that has developed a novel hydrometallurgical technology to extract metals of value from mineral ores that the mining industry has struggled to process.

“The Jetti technology is especially advantaged for extracting copper from low-grade primary sulphides, the world’s most abundant copper resource,” it said. “The catalytic technology seamlessly integrates with existing heap leaching methods and downstream processing operations.”

According to the company, the technology requires low capital expenditure, operating costs and enables high copper yields. It also has a strong environmental profile, “leading to lower criteria emissions and water usage along with the maximisation of resources at existing copper deposits.”

The NRC, through its C$155 million Clean Growth Program, agreed to invest C$492,500 ($377,261) in the project, while Innovate BC, a Crown corporation that helps accelerate technology commercialisation by supporting startups and developing entrepreneurs in British Columbia, also committed C$150,000 to the project.

Funding for the clean technology project was announced during the 2019 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC), held in Cranbrook, British Columbia, taking place on July 15-17, where ministers from federal, provincial and territorial governments are meeting under the theme, ‘Competitiveness and Innovation in Canada’s Energy and Mining Sectors.’

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, said: “The Government of Canada continues to invest in projects that are positioning Canada’s mining industry to lead the clean energy future. Through strong government partnerships and a commitment to innovation, we are building the sustainable and competitive mining industry of tomorrow.”

Two Crush It! Challenge finalists being guided by Glencore XPS team

Glencore’s XPS (Expert Process Solutions) is playing a role in Natural Resources Canada’s Crush It! Challenge by volunteering consulting services to two applicants recently named finalists in the competition.

XPS has much technical and operational expertise in the area of comminution and has been willing to impart its wisdom on the two teams.

The Crush It! Challenge was announced in October 2018 with the aim to realise an innovative breakthrough in the mining industry’s most energy-intensive and inefficient processes: crushing and grinding.

The primary objectives of the challenge are to fight climate change by creating innovative technologies that reduce energy consumption and pollution, increase competitiveness by developing world-leading clean technologies, and transform the mining cycle to establish a new “future in mining”.

Semi-finalists (up to 12) receive C$10,000 ($7,402) to help them pitch their ideas to the Challenge Jury, with up to six finalists being granted up to C$800,000 to build and test their clean technologies. The winner and innovator demonstrating the most superior energy breakthrough to crush and grind rocks is awarded a C$5 million prize to fully develop and roll out their solution.

On April 30, Natural Resources Canada announced the six finalists, which including two submissions that received consulting services from Glencore’s XPS.

Gillian Holcroft from the Canada Mining Innovation Council is representing a team in the finals for her Conjugate Anvil Hammer Mill (CAHM). “CAHM is a platform technology that has the potential to reduce energy consumption by 50% and replace several types of mills,” Glencore said. “Improved sustainability and lower costs could transform non-viable mineral development projects into new mines in Canada.”

Erin Bobicki of the University of Toronto is the project leader representing another finalist for her Microwave Pre-treatment and Ore Sorting technology. “This innovation combines microwave-assisted comminution and sorting to achieve energy savings of up to 70%,” Glencore said.

“A benefit of this innovation is that it is a scalable technology that can be easily integrated as a technology add-on for existing operations, therefore, it requires a small footprint as no additional infrastructure or utilities are required to support it. Given the sizeable energy savings, the innovation has the potential to transform non-viable mining projects into new mines.”

Now that the finalists have been announced, they are readying technical reports to showcase their clean-tech solutions submissions by the November 30, 2020, deadline. In March 2021, the final grand prize winner will be announced.

New research looks to AI for exploration indicators in Canada’s North

A Natural Resources Canada-backed research project is looking to devise remote predictive mapping (RPM) methods aiding exploration in the north of the country.

The Vancouver Island University (VIU) research project will, the university says, “provide a unique opportunity to examine the glacial landscape of Canada’s North”, resulting in new mapping methods to help identify sources of sand, gravel or minerals.

“Canada’s North is rich in natural resources and a major driver of economic growth in the region,” VIU said, adding that large mineral deposits could include diamonds, gold, silver, copper and other base metals.

VIU Professors Dr Jerome Lesemann (Earth Science Department) and Dr Brad Maguire (Geography Department), with the help of Yiqing Luo, a VIU Master of Geographic Information Systems Applications student, are being funded by NRC’s Earth Sciences Sector to assist with developing these RPM methods.

Mapping of surficial materials is an integral component of development in northern Canada, but traditional methods involve time-consuming and expensive aerial photographs and field verification, according to Maguire.

Lesemann and Maguire’s research project aims to develop a methodology for computerised detection of the sediment components of eskers, ridges of gravel and sand that occur in formerly glaciated regions of northern Canada.

Lesemann said: “Eskers are ubiquitous glacial landforms, formed in ice tunnels made by water flowing under the ice sheets. The long-winding ridges of stratified sand and gravel are some of the most abundant and accessible sources of aggregates for infrastructure growth needed for road building in northern regions. And they are prime sampling targets for commodities like diamonds.”

Currently, RPM is a promising avenue of semi-automated mapping using widely available digital datasets like multispectral satellite imagery, according to VIU. “However, there are gaps in the methodology,” Lesemann said. “Part of the problem is that the type of imagery used to date gives us information about spectral characteristics of the surface, which reflects mostly the type of material on the surface, like bedrock or sand and gravel. The imagery does not contain information about the 3D shapes of landforms.”

Using newly available digital terrain models, landforms like eskers can be identified and mapped in great detail, according to VIU. The team is developing a methodology to automatically detect and map these landforms, and proposes to develop an esker element detection methodology based on deep machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence) supported by a convoluted neural network (CNN). CNN uses computer algorithms to try and replicate complex cognitive processes of the human brain.

Maguire said: “We will be using CNN to identify eskers from newly available, high-resolution digital elevation models of the Canadian Arctic.”

The aim is to train a computer to recognise patterns, similar to the way a person, through experience, knows that when it looks at a dog, it know it’s a dog and not a cat even though they share some similarities but also key differences.

“The form and structure of eskers are complex and if we can teach a computer to learn what an esker looks like, we may then be able to identify other eskers automatically,” Maguire said.

“This approach is needed because there are millions of square kilometres of Canada where the landforms have not been mapped in sufficient detail to identify them properly.”

The project is funded by a C$35,000 ($26,376) research grant provided by the NRCAN Geo-Mapping for Energy and Minerals programme, a 12-year initiative to significantly advance and modernise geological knowledge in the North to support increased exploration of natural resources and inform decisions on land use and responsible resource development.

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.