Engineering & Mining Journal

APR 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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62 E&MJ • APRIL 2019 www.e-mj.com MINING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA AND YUKON tration using mining tailings. FPX's flagship Baptiste deposit in the Decar nickel district in central B.C. is rich in a mineral called bru- cite. When brucite is exposed to CO 2 , either from flu-gas or atmospherically, it acts as a carbon sink and catches carbon and stabi- lizes the tailings material. Martin Turenne, president & CEO of FPX, sees transforma- tional potential in BRIMM's CO 2 sequestra- tion project: "We believe that there is the po- tential here to demonstrate that mines with the right mineralogical characteristics could potentially have a neutral carbon footprint. In the context of global concerns over climate change, this would be a revolutionary step for the mining industry." Conclusion: lean times prepare a diverse Vancouver mining community for the impending upturn For some companies, the downturn has been a blessing in disguise, forcing the hand of a traditional industry to develop new solu- tions which, in turn, can be exported to a global audience. "The downturn sparked the drive for more innovation, and because the new upcycle has been slow and incremen- tal we have had the opportunity to develop innovative solutions and allow them to ma- ture organically," observed Wayne Barnett, principal consultant (structural geology) from SRK's Vancouver office. For the swathes of small-cap juniors re- siding in Vancouver, lessons must be learned from the barren years, and an adaptation to the current mining context, where promising drill results alone will not guarantee financial gain, is critical. Mike Vint, vice president of Endeavour Financial, emphasized the need for smaller companies to have a long term goal and keep their options open with re- spect to financing: "At a junior stage, and when equity markets are not there, they have to be open to alternatives. Do not jump into bed with the first person that comes along." The mid-tiers and majors operating on a global scale must take note of the potential pitfalls of unsustainable growth in an envi- ronment ripe for M&A activity. When acquir- ing a company, you also acquire its liabilities and, in a worst case scenario, tragedies such as the Brumadinho tailings dam collapse can leave scars far deeper than the balance sheet. "I have operated gold mines in Can- ada and recognize how important a social license is when doing so. When you work in a community you need to make sure you de- liver a sustainable and positive effect to the community long after the mine has closed," concluded Randy Smallwood, president and CEO of Wheaton Precious Metals. ma superclusters in Massachusetts and the San Francisco Bay Area, to the Fraunhofer institutes and research establishments in Germany, some of the most transformational advances in innovation originate from univer- sities working in collaboration with industry partners. The Bradshaw Research Initiative for Minerals and Mining (BRIMM) at the Univer- sity of British Columbia (UBC) is dedicated to solving large-scale lifecycle problems for the mining industry, bringing together the traditionally siloed academic and mining groups to collaborate on issues that need an inter-disciplinary focus. "BRIMM is directly focused on solving the industry's problems in the near term, not just 10 or 20 years from now," explained Greg Dipple, BRIMM's director. Peter Bradshaw provided the seed fund- ing to launch BRIMM, but collaboration with industry players across the value chain is helping advance BRIMM's R&D to a com- mercial stage. BRIMM has been working on a CO 2 sequestration project for almost 15 years with mining companies across Austra- lia, Canada and Southern Africa. De Beers, the world's largest diamond producer, and FPX Nickel, the Vancouver-based junior, have been at the forefront of funding research work at UBC on the issue of carbon seques-

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