Tag Archives: Quebec

Nouveau Monde Graphite casts net out for carbon-neutral, zero-emission fleet

Nouveau Monde is putting out a call to arms across the technology space for its Matawinie graphite project, in Quebec, Canada.

The company, which has been pushing forward development of an all-electric open-pit mine in the province, has issued an “international call for pre-qualification” related to the fleet and charging infrastructure at the project.

Since October 2018 when the company issued a definitive feasibility study (DFS) on the West Zone of the Matawinie deposit, the mining industry and the technology space that serves it have undergone huge change.

Hydrogen is no longer a pipe dream, with hybrid vehicle development already set in motion across the globe; while the types of electric solutions being offered by OEMs has evolved with new types of trolley and cable-electric solutions, plus more powerful and reliable battery technologies.

This has led to some of the assumptions made around 25 months ago being re-evaluated.

The call for pre-qualification follows work by the company’s International Task Force Committee, which has allowed Nouveau Monde to explore “technologies, best practices and operational parameters to bring its vision to life in a cost-effective and technologically advanced way”.

The company added: “Discussions with manufacturers have already enabled to identify existing machinery in development and/or available, notably the ancillary fleet where purchasing agreements are being finalised.”

David Lyon, Director Electrification and Automation at the company, provided a bit more background to the announcement.

“We’re not actually that far out from production at Matawinie; come January, we’ll be around two years away from producing at the site,” he told IM. “Over that time, we’ve done a lot of due diligence and homework, including the pilot graphite anode project.

“We now have a pretty good roadmap towards electrifying the mine, but our view has changed a little bit. We’re not just saying it is going to be electrified anymore; we’re saying it will be carbon neutral and produce zero tail pipe emissions.”

Lyon added: “We’re afraid we haven’t turned over every rock in the technology sphere and we want companies – not just the ones we have already got in contact with – to come to us with ideas.”

That change in tone has been aided by Air Liquide’s plans to build a hydrogen electrolyser in Bécancour, very close to the company’s planned anode plant. This could produce 3,000 t/y of hydrogen from renewable energy sources.

“Having a green supply of hydrogen just down the road, and less than 200 km from the mine site, is opening up the opportunity for fuel cells, as well,” Lyon said.

While hydrogen power could provide an environmentally friendly power supply for stationary plant, there is also the potential for it serving the loading and haulage side of the mine, as indicated in today’s announcement: “Whether powered by lithium-ion batteries, plug-in systems or hydrogen fuel cells, Nouveau Monde is seeking the best zero-emission equipment for heavy-duty operations and harsh conditions associated with open-pit mining.”

Lyon added to this: “The call is for our entire mining fleet – any piece of the puzzle – to open it up to manufacturers that maybe we have missed along the way. There is a lot of good technology being developed across the globe and it would be a shame to go into full procurement mode without at least allowing those companies to participate in the process.”

Large OEMs and innovative SMEs, alike, will be able to submit detailed proposals and performance specifications from their production equipment solutions between November 30 and January 30, 2021, the company said.

In the 2018 DFS, Medatech Engineering Services Ltd and ABB Inc – both companies in Nouveau Monde’s taskforce committee – came up with the fleet outline at Matawinie.

“The mine will be using an all-electric, zero-emission mine fleet, consisting of electric battery-driven 36.3-t mining trucks, battery-driven front-end loaders, cable reel excavators and bulldozers, and battery-driven service vehicles,” the report read.

The mine, scheduled to produce 100,000 t/y of graphite concentrate, was also expected to use an electric in-pit mobile crusher and overland conveyor system to feed crushed material to the plant.

Recently, the company has made headway on filling some of these requirements.

It signed a deal with Adria Power Systems, Dana TM4 and Fournier et fils – through the Innovative Vehicle Institute (IVI), Propulsion Québec and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) – that would see a new electric propulsion system developed with a rapid recharging infrastructure adapted to heavy vehicles in the open-pit mining industry.

This would also see mining contractor Fournier et Fils provide the project with a battery-powered Western Star 6900XD truck with a 36 t loading capacity that is expected to make its first real-world test runs as early as spring 2022 at a Fournier et Fils quarry, and at the Nouveau Monde Graphite site.

Such developments are representative of the government support Nouveau Monde has received – both at a federal and provincial level – and the company is hoping this assistance encourages more companies to submit zero-emission options.

“Quebec, Canada, features renowned environmental standards, innovative talents, business-forward policies and virtually unlimited hydropower, making it an ideal playground for OEMs to build and deploy their electric solutions,” it said.

Still, NMG will not be able to fill all its haulage gaps through innovative prototype development.

Lyon said: “A commercially-supported solution over the 26-year mine life is really what we want. They exist, and we just need to properly quantify all those other solutions and put them in the queue for an open procurement call.”

And, according to Lyon, there is some flexibility to the payloads and requirements outlined in that 2018 DFS document.

“While we have found solutions in those classes today…we are still a bit flexible and open to looking at the upper and lower bands in terms of equipment,” he said.

This can be seen in the full call for pre-qualification, which includes two 90 t excavators, one 50 t excavator, one 50 t wheel loader, 8-14 haul trucks with 50-65 t payloads, two drills, two 42 t dozers, two 22 t dozers, two 14M or 140 graders, two water trucks, and a range of operation and maintenance support machines. It adds up to a mining fleet including some 60 vehicles.

Flexibility on behalf of the vendors could also prove key in the company fulfilling its requirements.

“There isn’t today one supplier that is going to supply our whole fleet, and it is very important that these solutions work together,” Lyon said. “Maybe one of these suppliers has a comparable solution that matches well with other technology we are not aware of. That could make an impact on our planning.”

Lyon admits more than two years seems a long time to fill a fleet order, but he is cognisant that timeline is not as generous when considering much of it involves the use of new technology.

All this means there will be a transition to the carbon-neutral, zero-emission fleet after initial production starts up in 2023 at Matawinie. The company is putting this transition period at five years, hoping to have a fully-electric fleet by 2028.

Still, considering the 25.5-year life at Matawinie, most mining will be conducted in the mean and ‘green’ fashion Nouveau Monde’s stakeholders and wider industry are expecting.

“Nouveau Monde is proud to be acting as an enabler into the zero-emission heavy-duty operations and is welcoming any industrial operators in mining, quarry and/or construction sectors to reach out to its technical team with questions and interest,” the company concluded.

To find out more about the pre-qualification process, follow this link: www.nouveaumonde.group/qualification-electric-fleet

Weir’s Warman MCR pump more than doubles wear life at Agnico’s LaRonde mine

The superiority of genuine Warman® pumps and parts has been proven in a trial comparing the performance of a Warman MCR® 250 pump with a Warman AH® pump fitted with non-genuine spare parts at Agnico Eagle Mines’ LaRonde gold mine in Quebec, Canada, Weir Minerals says.

The mine had been using two Warman AH 12/10 slurry pumps to manage its SAG mill discharge since operations commenced in 1988. While these pumps were the latest technology at the time, the very coarse slurry was causing the pumps to wear out after just 1,600 hours, according to Weir.

“When a replicator proposed a trial of non-OEM pump liners and parts instead of our genuine Warman parts, they promised to double the wear life of the existing pump components,” Mike Swintak, Regional Senior Product Manager for Weir Minerals, said. “Our engineers investigated the root cause of the wear life problems experienced and decided a Warman MCR pump would achieve much better results compared to the AH pump with non-OEM parts.”

Instead of doubling it, the other manufacturer’s liners and impellers decreased the pump’s wear life by 300 hours, wearing out after just 1,300 hours. In addition to requiring six rebuilds per year, the non-genuine parts interrupted production due to discovery of premature cracks in the liner, Weir said.

Meanwhile, the Warman MCR 250 pump achieved 3,000 hours of continuous operation, requiring only three rebuilds and lowered spare parts costs alone by 36%, or $70,000 per year.

Swintak said: “The fantastic results achieved at LaRonde weren’t just due to the superior wear resistance offered by the pump’s Ultrachrome A05 wear material and superior hydraulic design of the MCR pump. Our engineers worked closely with Agnico Eagle operators to remove problems throughout the circuit contributing to the low wear life being achieved, such as revising their pump box level control procedures and monitoring system to ensure a constant level of 50-75%.”

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.

Nippon Dragon’s thermal fragmentation tech gets to work at Rocmec 1

Nippon Dragon Resources says it is using its thermal fragmentation technology on the Talus vein at its Rocmec 1 gold mine, in Quebec, Canada.

In a progress report this week, Nippon Dragon said thermal fragmentation operations had begun on the Talus vein – “probably a secondary sub parallel branch structure to the McDowell vein”, the company says – where grades range from 0.03-61.58 g/t Au and widths vary from 0.05-3.04 m, according to sampling.

Alongside this, the company said development of a raise and a sub-level on level 39 within the Talus mineralised structure had started from level 50. At the same time, development of two drifts in the mineralised vein on level 50 of the McDowell structure, which has the longest gold-bearing structure on the property, had begun.

It added: “Employee training on the thermal fragmentation units continues in an accelerated mode.”

Nippon has an exclusive licence for the thermal fragmentation mining process for narrow vein mining. The process involves drilling a series of 6 in (15 cm) pilot holes into the vein with a conventional drill. Thermal fragmentation (thermal head, compressed air and water) is then inserted and spalls the rock, quickly increasing the diameter of the hole to 30-110 cm. After this, ore can be extracted in 0-13 mm fragments. The leftover rock between fragmented holes is then broken to recover the remaining ore.

This precision allows for the extraction of high-grade precious and base metal veins without dilution, according to Nippon.

To date, Nippon Dragon has invested approximately C$33 million ($25 million) in rehabilitating the Rocmec 1 property, surface and underground infrastructure, diamond drilling, equipment and drifting. The property includes a 100 m deep two compartment shaft, an 844 m decline allowing access to five levels (50, 70, 90, 110 and 130 m). On these levels, a total of 1,700 m (drifts and cross-cut drifts) were driven.

A 2010 NI 43-101 report by SGS using a cutoff grade of 3 g/t Au reported a measured and indicated mineral resources of 570,300 t grading 6.52 g/t for 119,500 oz of gold and 1.51 Mt of inferred resources at 7.4 g/t Au for 359,600 oz of gold.

Redpath hits Americas raiseboring pilot hole record in Quebec

Redpath Mining says its raiseboring division has recently completed a record 875.1 m pilot hole at an underground mining operation in Quebec, Canada.

The record-breaking hole, carried out with the Redbore 90EX raise drill, was completed well ahead of schedule and broke through with an accuracy of 0.03% (260 mm) over the length of the hole, Redpath said.

“With this first phase of the raise complete, Redpath Raiseboring strengthens its own record for longest pilot hole ever completed in the Americas,” the company said, explaining the previous record of 845 m, also held by Redpath Raiseboring, stood for over a decade.

Once complete, this 875.1 m raise will be the largest, by volume, raisebore ever excavated in the Americas, and third largest ever globally, according to the company.

“As with all records, this fresh America’s accomplishment is meant to be broken,” Redpath said. “Redpath Raiseboring is nearing completion of a 1,009 m pilot hole slated for breakthrough toward the end of September, also in Canada.”

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.

Tetra Tech to examine on-site mill options for Granada Gold

Granada Gold Mine has retained the services of Tetra Tech to begin a gap analysis to amend the company’s current Certificate of Authorisation for an on-site mill at its namesake project, in Quebec, Canada.

The engagement of Tetra Tech, a leading provider of consulting and engineering services, follows the discovery of at-surface mineralised structures with significant visible gold at Granada during a stage-one surface stripping program, Granada Gold President and CEO, Frank Basa, said.

“As such, the company has decided that the local mills for custom milling would not be able to process this mineralised material without a significant modification of the process flowsheet to recover this amount of visible gold,” he said.

This has led to the company pursuing the option of building an on-site mill at Granada.

The current resource at the company’s Granada gold project in Rouyn-Noranda includes 22.3 Mt of measured and indicated resources grading 1.06 g/t Au for 762,000 oz of gold and 6.9 Mt of inferred resources at 2.04 g/t for 455,000 oz of gold.

The property includes the former Granada gold mine, which produced more than 50,000 oz of gold at 10 g/t in the 1930s before a fire destroyed the surface building, according to the company.

Some 120,000 m of drilling has been completed to date on the property, focused mainly on the extended LONG Bars zone which trends 2 km east-west over a potential 5.5 km mineralised structure. The highly prolific Cadillac Trend, the source of 50 Moz-plus of gold production in the past century, cuts right through the north part of the Granada property on a line running from Val-d’Or to Rouyn-Noranda, the company says.

Granada is in possession of all permits required to commence the initial mining phase known as the “Rolling Start”, which allows it to mine up to 550 t/d, capable of producing up to 675,000 t of ore over a three-year timeframe.

Ausenco to work on integrating Glencore Kidd concentrator into Monarch’s Wasamac plan

Monarch Gold says it has retained Ausenco Engineering Canada to conduct an upgrading study on the Glencore-owned Kidd concentrator in connection with its potential use to treat ore mined from Monarch’s Wasamac gold project in Quebec, Canada.

The study constitutes “Phase 1” of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) recently signed with Glencore Canada, Monarch said.

Under Phase 1, Monarch is to launch a study on upgrading all or part of the Kidd concentrator and related infrastructure with a view to transporting the ore from the Wasamac property to the concentrator by railway for processing and transformation into doré bars. The upgrading study is expected to be completed by October 2020.

The study mandate calls for Ausenco to execute the study in two distinct phases. Phase one will focus on developing high-level costs and financials for two practical project options, whole ore leach and flotation leach, and phase two will develop the preferred option to a prefeasibility study level.

Located in Timmins, Ontario, the Kidd concentrator was built in 1966 with numerous upgrades over the years. It currently processes metal ore to produce copper and zinc concentrates, with the facility having a design rated capacity of 12,500 t/d. The site has incoming and outgoing rail service via Ontario Northland Railway.

Jean-Marc Lacoste, President and Chief Executive Officer of Monarch, said: “We are excited to be working with an engineering firm like Ausenco, which has produced numerous solid studies and developed successful large mining projects around the globe, including recent and relevant benchmark projects such as Moose River gold (Nova Scotia).

“Ausenco has a strong track record of delivering project studies that go the extra step in optimising the project economics.”

Garry Warren, President North America Project Delivery of Ausenco, said: “Ausenco has a project development ethos centred on cost-effective process and rail design coupled with efficient delivery, driving strong project economics and return on shareholder investment.

“We intend to apply that ethos to provide a differentiated approach for the Wasamac project, one that extracts the maximum value for Monarch and sets the stage to move from the upgrading study into project execution and commercial production.”

The December 2018 feasibility study on Wasamac forecast average annual production of 142,000 oz of gold for 11 years at a cash cost of $550/oz.

Eldorado Gold green lights underground decline at Lamaque mine

Eldorado Gold is commencing construction of a 3 km decline at its Lamaque underground gold mine in Quebec, Canada.

The fully permitted decline will go from the Sigma mill to the 405 m level of the Triangle mine, where resources and reserves reside.

Eldorado said the $24 million investment was expected to provide multiple near-term and long-term benefits as the company continues to grow production at Lamaque. Earlier this year, it was granted Certificate of Authorization from the Quebec Ministry of Environment to expand underground production from Triangle from 1,800 t/d to 2,650 t/d.

“Detailed engineering and site preparations for the decline will commence this month and surface construction on the portal will begin in Q3 (September quarter) 2020,” the company said.

The decline is expected to be completed by the first half of 2021, but Eldorado is also evaluating the possible addition of an underground crushing and conveying system as well as a potential mill expansion, it said.

Late last year, then-COO, Paul Skayman, told IM the company was considering the use of battery-electric vehicles, or vertical haulage with conveyors, as part of its mine expansion plans.

And, since then, the company has started trialling the SAMS™, or the shallow angle mining system, from Minrail, a system that could allow the company to further enhance Lamaque’s economics, improve safety and develop technical expertise that could potentially be leveraged at some of Eldorado’s other mines.

While an update outlining the path forward at Lamaque is expected in the December quarter of this year, the company said the benefits of the construction of this decline include:

  • Eliminating surface re-handling and haulage (around 26 km round trip) of the ore from the Triangle mine to the Sigma mill, reducing carbon emissions, costs, and removing haulage traffic from the public road network;
  • Reducing the energy requirements for mine ventilation;
  • Supplying a means of secondary egress and ventilation to the Triangle mine, increasing safety underground;
  • Providing underground access for lower cost exploration in the prospective area between the Triangle mine and the historic Sigma and Lamaque mines – including further drilling of the Plug 4 and Parallel deposit and the Ormaque zone; and
  • Facilitating increased future production from the Triangle mine (contingent on continued reserve expansion) and allowing for mining of the Parallel deposit.

George Burns, Eldorado President and CEO, said: “We are pleased to begin construction of the decline at Lamaque this summer. This is a project that we have been advancing for nearly a year and is another step towards further production growth and continued value creation at Lamaque.”

RPMGlobal helps Arianne Phosphate with Lac à Paul mine to port haulage

RPMGlobal says its leading mining simulation product has brought Arianne Phosphate a step closer to bringing its Lac à Paul phosphate project in Quebec, Canada, into production after enabling the company to optimise key haulage routes for its development.

Arianne Phosphate selected RPMGlobal’s HAULSIM during its critical engineering study phase so it could evaluate several haulage scenarios and effectively link the Lac à Paul project in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region to port facilities 240 km away.

HAULSIM is a 4-D Discrete Event Simulation (DES) tool which enables the user to build a digital twin of any mining operation to evaluate different scenarios, fleet options, haulage routes, stockpile and dump placement and much more, according to RPMGlobal.

“The solution delivers an accurate representation of haulage operations within a mine site and provides capability to quantify the impact of changes,” the company said. “The model reflects the complex and dynamic nature of a mine site in its entirety; including the variability, interactions and dependencies that occur in these systems.”

Using HAULSIM, Arianne Phosphate was able to gather critical insights on the optimal operating conditions for the haulage routes within the Lac à Paul project, according to the company.

By modelling, analysing and enhancing different scenarios for the ideal haulage network, Arianne Phosphate now has confidence in its recommendation to invest capital in its mine to port haulage route with a clear view of predicted outcomes, RPMGlobal said.

Jean-Sébastien David, Chief Operating Officer of Arianne Phosphate, said: “RPMGlobal’s commitment to improving efficiency and value of our mining operations through cutting-edge solutions made the decision to select HAULSIM a natural one.”

He added: “Partnering with a global leader in the development of leading mining and haulage systems enabled us to demonstrate the attractive returns that the Lac à Paul project is set to generate.”

Arianne is looking to process 55,000 t/d of ore at Lac à Paul to produce 3 Mt/y of phosphate concentrate (apatite) over a 26-year mine life. Once development is complete, the project is set to consist of an open-pit mine, a concentration plant and deepwater port facilities.

Sandeep Sandhu, RPMGlobal Americas General Manger, said: “It has been great to work with a passionate company like Arianne Phosphate and it has been very rewarding to see our solutions making a valuable contribution towards advancing the Lac à Paul phosphate project.

“RPMGlobal has more than 40 years’ experience in mining and haulage systems and adds value at all stages of the mining value chain. We’re proud to be able to contribute to the Lac à Paul project and achieve results through the use of HAULSIM that will create positive social and economic impacts for all stakeholders.”