Webinar: How can miners integrate technology to improve stakeholder engagement programs?

ESG investing has grown roots; communities are more regularly finding their voices; governments want greater assurances around responsible practices; and employees want to work for companies that live up to these higher standards.

This remains a frontier for miners. The fourth industrial revolution has, however, provided new tools to aid this transition toward best practice.

With partners IsoMetrix and Accenture, Mining Journal’s webinar will discuss:

  • How has digitisation and communication advances changed the engagement process? 
  • How should executives be looking to mesh hard technologies with human behaviours?
  • What processes and software are available to help manage the risks and opportunities?
  • How do appropriate technologies change according to company size and location?

Free webinar takes place July 15. Register here.

MINING PEOPLE: Colorado, Hycroft, Imperial, Marathon, Pretium, Strongbow

Management moves announced this week include:

Pamela White has been appointed corporate secretary of Bell Copper.

Tony Barresi will become president and a director of Colorado Resources at the beginning of August. Barresi was previously president and a director of Triumph Gold, where he continues to serve as a technical advisor and is also a director of ArcWest Exploration.

Hycroft Mining has announced a leadership transition: Randy Buffington stepped down from his roles as chairman, president and CEO of the company. Stephen Jones, the company’s executive VP, CFO and secretary has been appointed interim president and CEO and David Kirsch, a director of the company, was named the new chairman. Jeffrey Stieber, VP of finance, has been appointed interim CFO.

Andre Deepwell has retired from his CFO and corporate secretary role with Imperial Metals. The company has appointed Darb Dhillon, its current VP of finance, to fill this role.

Tim Williams is now the COO of Marathon Gold; Williams is a professional engineer with over 25 years of experience in the areas of mine construction and operations.

Keith Benn is now the VP of exploration for both Mistango River Resources and Orefinders Resources.

Mac Jackson has joined New Placer Dome’s advisory board as a technical advisor.

Peter Mullens has been appointed VP of business development with NxGold.

Patrick Godin will be joining Pretium Resources at the beginning of August as VP and COO; Godin succeeds David Prins, the company’s VP of operations.

Board changes include:

Thomas Sarvas and Timothy Froude have joined the board of Benton Resources.

Peter O’Malley has been named an independent non-executive director of Bonterra ResourcesAllan Folk has resigned from the board.

Greg Andrews has been appointed to the board of Cascadero Copper.

Euro Manganese has started a board restructuring process, with strategic advisory roles planned for Roman ShklankaHarvey McLeod and Daniel Rosicky and two new independent directors envisioned for the board. John WebsterGreg MartyrDavid Dreisinger and Marco Romero will continue as directors. Jan Votava will resign as a director, but remain a member of the executive team as managing director of the company’s Czech subsidiary.

Thuso Dikgaka and Maureen Mokgaotsane are now on the board of Giyani Metals’ wholly owned subsidiary in Botswana, Menzi Battery Metals.

Patrick Anderson has been appointed chairman of Strongbow Exploration’s board. Anderson is currently CEO and a director of Dalradian Resources, and succeeds Grenville Thomas in the chairman role – Thomas remains a director of the company.

Taseko Mines has announced changes to its board of directors: Peter Mitchell has been appointed to the board while Richard Mundie and Alex Morrison did not stand for re-election.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

Geological Society of America announces 2020 award winners

Each year the Geological Society of America (GSA) recognizes outstanding scientific achievement and distinguished service to the geoscience profession.

In a typical year, honorees are recognized at the Presidential Address and Awards Ceremony as part of the Society’s Annual Meeting. During the pandemic, the meeting has transitioned to an online event for scientific exchange, and plans are currently under development for the most appropriate way to spotlight these outstanding individuals.

Highest honors go to Penrose Medalist James G. Moore, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Menlo Park, California; Arthur L. Day Medalist Ariel D. Anbar, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona; and Donath Medalist (Young Scientist Award) Christopher Spencer, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Selected by immediate Past President Donald I. Siegel (Syracuse University) for The President’s Medal of The Geological Society of America is Solomon Hsiang, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he runs the renowned global policy laboratory.

“Dr. Hsiang blends earth science with economics and social science in ways that few people do,” said Siegel. “Solomon is involved with artificial intelligence, and he earned his reputation by writing a series of papers equating past climate disruption with global warfare (arguing that most wars in the past relate to climate). His important work is stimulating new ways of thinking about geoscience in the context of social issues.”

Gold medalists

Penrose Medalist James G. Moore , scientist emeritus, USGS, was nominated by Keith Howard, also of the USGS. Howard cited Moore’s visionary, highly innovative discoveries as having opened major new geologic research fields and advances in determining lithosphere strength, how volcanoes work, and how batholiths evolve. “The far-reaching impacts of his achievements place him among the giants of geology,” said Howard.

Ariel D. Anbar is named the Arthur L. Day Medalist in recognition of his outstanding research contributions, mentoring for generations of students, and vigorous promotion of science in the public sphere. He is President’s Professor at Arizona State University. Nominator Thomas Algeo (University of Cincinnati) describes Anbar as a leader in the development of high-mass isotopic systems (Fe, Mo, U) that have yielded new insights into biogeochemical cycles. “Ariel Anbar is a world-class geoscientist and educator,” said Algeo.

Christopher J. Spencer earned the Young Scientist Award (Donath Medal) and a cash prize of $10,000 for outstanding achievement as an early career professional. Spencer is an assistant professor at Queens University. He was nominated by Brendan Murphy (St. Francis Xavier University) for outstanding contributions to the understanding of fundamental tectonic processes: from global to local in scale and from Archean to Cenozoic in age.

“Spencer’s research has incorporated a wide range of cognate disciplines including petrochronology, geophysics, geodynamics, stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry, and stratigraphy,” said Murphy.

See more award winners here.

MINING PEOPLE: Cascadero Copper, Crystal Lake Mining, Margaux, Mason Graphite, Orla

Management moves announced this week include:

Greg Gibson has resigned as the president, CEO, director and chairman of Bonterra ResourcesCesar Gonzalez has been appointed as chairman of the board. In addition, Normand Champigny has been named an independent non-executive director.

Oscar Mendoza is now a special advisor, Mexico, for Brigadier Gold.

Matt Halliday has been promoted to the position of president and COO with Canada Silver Cobalt Works; He will hold this new role in addition to his duties as the company’s VP of exploration. Halliday replaces Frank Basa as president; Basa will continue as the company’s CEO.

Christopher Ecclestone is now the president and CEO of Cascadero CopperLorne Harder has been named interim CFO and corporate secretary; Ecclestone and Harder are also joining the company’s board. Brian Causey has stepped down as a director.

Crystal Lake Mining has announced additions to its management and technical team: Dylan Hunko is now the company’s COO, Malcolm Davidson has been named CFO, Deborah Cotter is joining as corporate secretary and John Ryan is now on the technical advisory committee. The company will start trading under its new name, Enduro Metals, on July 3.

Stephen Goodman has resigned from his post as CFO and a director of Getchell Gold.

Heatherdale Resources has expanded its technical team: Ryan Weymark has joined as VP of project development, Jim Oliver is now a technical advisor and Graham Neale has been named project manager for the Niblack project in Alaska.

Marco Roque is now the CEO and a director of Margaux ResourcesTyler Rice will remain the company’s president. Doug Foster has resigned as a director of the company.

Jean L’Heureux is now the COO of Mason Graphite.

Scott Honan has been promoted to the COO role with NioCorp Developments; Honan joined the company in 2014 as VP of business development.

Sean Spraggett is now the general manager, Panama, with Orla Mining.

Leonardo Elizalde has been named manager of project development with Salazar Resources.

Perry Durning and Frank Hillemeyer are now technical advisors for Silver Dollar Resources.

Standard Uranium has added Galen McNamara and Sean Hillacre to its technical team: Hillacre has been named project manager for the upcoming Davidson River drill program and McNamara, the CEO and a director of Summa Silver, has been appointed a technical advisor.

Ryan Ptolemy is now the CFO of Sulliden Mining Capital and Wen Ye has been appointed to the company’s board. Deborah Battiston has stepped down from her role as CFO and a director of the company.

Tony Barresi has resigned from his role as the president of Triumph Gold and has stepped down from the board. Joe Campbell has also resigned as a director. Barresi will continue as a technical advisor to the company. Brian Bower is now the lead director.

Board changes include:

Simon Clarke has been appointed to the board of American LithiumG.A. Binninger is now a special advisor to the board.

Christopher Cheng is now on the board of Canuc Resources.

Ewan Downie has joined the board of Clean Air Metals. Downie is the president and CEO of Premier Gold Mines.

Murray Seitz, a director of Far Resources, has passed away.

Trace Arlaud is now on the board of Global Atomic.

Peter MacPhail has joined the board of Manitou Gold.

J.J. Elkin has been appointed to the board of Plato Gold.

Craig Parry is now the chairman of QX Metals’ board. Rod McKeen and John Williamson have resigned from the board.

Stephen Motteram has stepped down from the board of Xanadu Mines.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

ESG policies boost mining investor confidence – report

On April 20, Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TECK.B) released a 76-page first-quarter financial report that reported an $800 million decline in earnings compared with Q1 2019, due in large part to the impact of a global pandemic.

And on May 20, Teck released a 114-page sustainability review for 2019 that details its progress on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

That progress includes:

• A 279,000-tonne reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions since 2011;

• A 249-terajoule reduction in energy use;

•5,781 hectares of land reclamation;

• $225 million spent on aboriginal business procurement;

• $19 million in community investments; and

• 32% of new hires being women in 2019.

That report followed an announcement in March that Teck was committing to a 33% CO2 reduction by 2030.

Institutional investors are increasingly looking at ESG and sustainability reports because they have become earmarks of well-managed companies, according to Daniel O’Brien, PwC’s Western Canada lead for sustainable business solutions.

While the mining sector took a hit from the pandemic in 2020’s first half, as the world moves into recovery, O’Brien said there could be a significant influx of capital back into the markets, and companies with good ESG policies stand to benefit.

“That capital will largely be controlled by larger institutional investors that have a very strong viewpoint on ESG,” he said. “They see ESG as a proxy for a well-managed company.”

According to PwC’s annual report on mining in British Columbia, the province’s mining sector held up well in 2019, even though commodity prices began to fall in the latter part of the year.

“That capital will largely be controlled by larger institutional investors that have a very strong viewpoint on ESG. “They see ESG as a proxy for a well-managed company”

Daniel O’Brien, Western Canada lead for sustainable business solutions, PwC

And B.C. miners appear to have weathered the covid-19 pandemic better than some of their peers elsewhere. In some cases, it may be because some already have strong ESG policies, which would include health and safety measures that helped them address worker safety issues posed by covid-19.

Some companies in B.C. either reduced production or temporarily shut down some operations to address worker safety during the pandemic.

“In the last six weeks, we’ve seen many of those operations either come back online or return to full production levels,” said Mark Patterson, PwC’s B.C. mining leader.

While metallurgical coal prices are currently soft, gold prices are up, and even copper prices have risen recently – a possible early indicator of global economic recovery.

“In the gold space, we’ve obviously seen gold prices respond very positively to current circumstances of uncertainty,” Patterson said. “I think the expectation on the gold side would be … maybe growth in exploration and, in the longer term, hopefully development opportunities coming out of a higher gold price environment over the next little while.”

Michael Goehring, president of the Mining Association of BC, said the PwC report confirms how important mining is to the province.

It points to a $216 million increase in direct payments to government and increase of 1,563 direct jobs since 2017. The mining sector in B.C. had capital expenditures of $1.5 billion in 2019, compared with $1.1 billion in 2018.

The increases in revenue to government occurred even though revenue to mining companies in B.C. overall was down by $1 billion compared with 2018.

“The numbers point to the need for policymakers and the industry to work together to improve our province’s fiscal and regulatory conditions so our mines and smelters can compete and succeed in global markets,” Goehring said.

“I would argue, with the right policies in place, mining offers British Columbians a significant opportunity to help our economy grow and recover from covid-19.”

O’Brien said companies that take ESG policies seriously may stand a better chance of attracting investment capital.

“There’s some early indication that companies with a strong ESG profile – low risk related to ESG – are outperforming peers in terms of their financial performance and stock prices,” he said. 

“Mining companies that are doing a good job of reporting on ESG, and indicating how they’re progressing towards their targets and objectives, are going to be the ones that are well-positioned to attract that capital.” 

(This article first appeared in Business in Vancouver)

Metso Outotec begins operations

Metso Outotec, a new company focussed on leadership in sustainable minerals and metals processing and recycling technologies, officially began operations Wednesday.

The merger was in the works for a years, and Metso and Outotec OYJ last month received an unconditional merger control clearance from the European Commission for the combination.

Headquartered in Finland and listed on Nasdaq Helsinki, Metso Outotec employs over 15,000 professionals in more than 50 countries and its combined sales for 2019 were €4.2 billion.

The company provides crushing and screening equipment for the production of aggregates as well as equipment and solutions for minerals processing, metals refining, chemical processing, and metal and waste recycling.

Metso Outotec brings together a history of technological leadership, and the business the combination offers potential for significant cross-selling and cost synergies and a platform for innovation, and digital leadership, the company said in a media release.

The growing interest towards the environment and the impacts of climate change, urbanization, decreasing ore grades and electrification are forcing traditional industries like aggregates, minerals processing and metals refining to redefine their license to operate, Metso Outotec said.

”It is our core expertise to help our customers transform the industry. We offer sustainable technologies and services that reduce the consumption of energy and water by increasing process efficiency, recycling and reprocessing of tailings and waste,” president and CEO Pekka Vauramo said in the release.

“We have the best talent in the industry, and I am very excited to start the journey together today,” Vauramo added.

Goal of tailings management should be zero harm – report

An international group of 142 scientists, community groups and NGOs from 24 countries has published a set of 16 guidelines for the safer storage of mine waste.

The guidelines aim to protect communities, workers and the environment from the risks posed by thousands of mine waste storage facilities, which are failing more frequently and with more severe outcomes.

“Safety First: Guidelines for Responsible Mine Tailings Management” argues that the ultimate goal of tailings management must be zero harm to people and the environment and zero tolerance for human fatalities.

The group publishing the report includes frontline organizations in mining affected communities from Brazil, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, India and elsewhere as well as global groups such as Amnesty International Canada, Earthworks, IndustriALL Global Union Federation, MiningWatch Canada, the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) and the Sierra Club.

Guidelines include that international safety protocols must be independent of company control, and must be established through multi-stakeholder processes

Last year, a tragic dam collapse in Brazil killed 270 people and destroyed the town of Brumadinho, and came on the heels of tailings dam failures at the Mount Polley mine in Canada and the Samarco mine in Brazil, among others.

The guidelines come as the Global Tailings Review, co-convened by the international mining industry association, ICMM, investors and the UN Environment Programme, prepares to unveil the first Global Tailings Standard “for the safer management of tailings storage facilities.”

Current industry standards, including the draft of the Global Tailings Standard released in 2019, do not adequately protect communities and ecosystems from failures, the report finds.

The trend in tailings dam tragedies are a consequence of allowing mining companies to sacrifice safety to cut costs, control auditors and silence dissent among workers, the report revealed.

Source: Earthworks

The report asserts that tailings storage facilities must be built and managed only with community consent, respecting human rights and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopting the best available technologies and practices.

Guidelines include that international safety protocols must be independent of company control, and must be established through multi-stakeholder processes that actively engage workers, communities and civil society.

Strong standards for tailings dams must ensure financial guarantees and accountability at the highest level of corporate governance, the report maintains.

Public participation in decisions and reliable whistleblower and grievance mechanisms are necessary to ensure that communities and workers can raise the alarm without consequences, the report finds.

“We need independent guidelines on tailings safety,” says Carolina de Moura of Associação Comunitária da Jangada, Brumadinho, Brazil. “We urgently need guidelines and regulations to manage toxic mine waste dams. We hope that the case of Brumadinho becomes a milestone and an inflection point for mining across the world.”

“Governments and international institutions need to move urgently to implement these 16 guidelines to end mine waste failures worldwide. Industry self-regulation will not provide adequate protection. There must be a strong global response to this global problem, putting safety first,” says Ugo Lapointe, MiningWatch Canada, Canada.

#Mining Feeds BC Food Bank Challenge launched

AMEBC and Integra Resources have launched the #MiningFeedsBC Food Bank Challenge to help fundraise for Food Banks BC, specifically supporting food security efforts in rural, remote and Indigenous communities in British Columbia. So far the challenge has raised over C$30,000.   

Instead of simply straight donations (which are still accepted), the twist on this challenge is calling individuals and companies to also share their best “mining meal memory” on social media and challenging others.

Wheaton Precious Metals is stepping in with a corporate donation of C$25,000 and will match all additional donations up to C$25,000 to bring the total to C$100,000.

Learn more here.

How do you evaluate gold heap leach projects?

With the pandemic news and gold prices reaching new highs, gold heap leach projects are getting a fresh look, but where are the projects? 

Since 2017, the gold resources reported at mine projects have grown from 700 million troy ounces in 41 countries to 877 million troy ounces in 52 countries in 2020.

The top five countries in 2017 were United States, Mexico, Chile, Russia and Peru, but in 2020, Uzbekistan displaced Peru to rank as the second largest gold resource behind United States.

The Uzbek resources are contained in three deposits, as the Muruntau deposit contains the world’s largest gold resource. Two other Uzbek mines are Zarafshan and Amanaytau.

The importance of gold mining to countries should not be underestimated due to the enormous economic contribution, because the shiny metal contained in 83 deposits in the US contributed the largest share at 32% of the total of total non-fuel mineral values of $86.3 billion.

So what is this resource worth? If you can get it out of the ground, the in-place value at the current gold price is over $1.5 trillion. 

Source:  MiningIntelligence.com

So how do you evaluate these projects? Having the best cost estimating tools are a must.

The CostMine team has just released the Gold Heap Leach Cost Estimating Guide. The 2020 release is a fully updated version of the guide first published in 2015. 

The Guide will serve as a valuable reference to evaluate the cost, feasibility, design and operations for recovery of gold by heap leach operations. The Guide contains cost models of mining and processing for gold heap leach mine operations in addition to addressing several technical topics on gold heap leach not available elsewhere.

Legal frameworks need improving for environmental, social assessments on mines

The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) has released its newest report.

Guidance for Governments: Improving Legal Frameworks for Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Management provides IGF member states with a summary of good international practice in legal frameworks for ESIA and related management plans for large-scale mines.

Examples, strategies, and tools are included to aid in evaluating and improving legal frameworks and environmental and social aspects of resource governance.

A modern legislative regime draws clear lines of responsibility and accountability and establishes a foundation of good governance that leads to sustainable development benefits over the full life cycle of a mine, from the early days of exploration through to post-mining transition, IGF says.

A key recommendation is that Governments should adopt a comprehensive
legal framework for environmental and social impact assessment and management of the mining sector to ensure that it protects the
environment and optimizes opportunities to advance sustainable development.

“This report fills a gap in the literature on law and policy frameworks for environmental and social impact assessments [ESIA] and related management plans,” says Clémence Naré, IGF’s outreach manager and law advisor.

ESIA and related management plans are critical to minimize the potential negative environmental and social impacts and optimize the benefits from large-scale mines

“We surveyed global best practices and identified illustrative examples, strategies, and tools to help governments improve their governance and management of the mining sector’s environmental and social impacts,” Naré says.

ESIA and related management plans are critical to minimize the potential negative environmental and social impacts and optimize the benefits from large-scale mines.

“Too often, mining activity ramps up before the environmental and social impacts are properly considered,” Naré says. “For instance, in some cases, mines without adequate closure plans or related financial guarantees have been abandoned, leaving governments and communities with the heavy burden of managing the site.”

The publication is the fourth in IGF’s Guidance for Governments series. It is the result of consultations with governments and expert partners, which followed from an initial vote by IGF’s member countries that indicated a need for assistance with legal and policy issues surrounding ESIA. 

Read the full report here.