Manufacturing News from the Engineered Designer Perspective

Clean technologies for mining: Green Mining’s time has come

In the United States, metal mining “creates nearly 30% of all the toxic releases measured annually by the EPA.”[1]

This is changing, slowly, although political winds blow both ways. Public corporations are generally responsible “citizens” but worldwide — in some countries — the devastating effects of uncontrolled and unsupervised mining is seen everywhere, especially near mining sites. The wastewater of these mines pollute rivers and streams affecting the aquatic life and the nearby human population [1].

 

Electric unmanned vehicles can help mines stay green and improve safety for workers.

 

Fortunately, the increasing pressure on the mining industries by the ecological organizations has given birth to a whole new trend of “Green Mining”. According to the communications advisor for Natural Resources Canada (NRC) Jousha Kirkey,

“Green mining is defined as technologies, best practices and mine processes that are implemented as a means to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the extraction and processing of metals and minerals” [2].

 

Enhanced landfill mining includes renewable power, heat and fuels, material recycling and gas cooling and cleaning.

 

Major Mining Companies Invest in Green

Major mining companies all over the world are investing in technologies that will make mining cleaner and safer. The mining companies are improving their environmental performance by using new technologies that can significantly reduce the water and energy usage. This practice can reduce environmental pollution and can help in remediating the sites after the mining operation is complete [3]. The plan for increasing the efficiency while decreasing the environmental hazards associated with mining is broken down into the following categories [4]:

  • Shutting down of illegal mines
  • Choosing a general mining process that is environmentally friendly
  • Implementation of latest advances in green mining technology
  • Cleaning up of shut down mines
  • Reconsidering the cut-off grades
  • Research and development of technologies associated with green mining.

 

 

Goldcorp is one of the major mining companies that has started changing the ways it operates. Accepting the new cleaner technologies and investing in their research and development, Goldcorp is moving rapidly towards the Green Mining.

Aiming to provide a safer work environment — reducing the energy usage and the environmental footprint — the company is teaming up with suppliers to provide them with battery powered drill equipment and underground vehicles. This electrification will not only reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 50% it will also lower the mining costs significantly [5].

Rio Tinto is another example of major mining companies following the Green Mining trend. The company is testing green technologies at two of its sites. The first site is in New South Wales, Australia is testing methane capturing technology. In another site located in Victoria, Australia the company runs a successful carbon dioxide storage facility which has so far been able to store 60,000 metric tons of CO2. Barrick Gold is also a mining giant that is running 140 energy efficient projects and more than 19% of its electrical energy used in mining operations comes from renewable energy sources. Another great step by this company is the establishment of water management and recycling programs. As a result, 70% of Barrick Gold’s sites reuse recycled water which helps in saving valuable drinking water [6].

 

The Sustainability challenge. 

 

Mines Going Green Help Grow Other Industries

Another advantage that came with the whole Green Mining phenomenon was the sudden uplift that it provided to the water purification and recycling industry. According to a report by Frost and Sullivan (industry analysts) the mining water treatment industry grew from $2.29 billion in 2011 to $3.6 billion in 2016 [6]. Although the main reason behind this growth is that the companies are becoming more eco-friendly, and the regulations are becoming stricter, there is another advantage of wastewater management — the metal recovery. With the metal recovery methods becoming more advanced and sophisticated — methods such as sulfide precipitation — companies are making a profit by recycling the water used during mining. The water after being treated with sulfide precipitation contains nickel level less than the allowed limit. The precious metals such as gold and copper can also be easily recovered using this process [1].

 

Environmental issues and goals/targets around the world help drive the “green” change in mining technologies.

 

Clean Mining Alliance

This Green Mining trend gave birth to a nonprofit association called Clean Mining Alliance. According to the executive director of alliance, Dallas Kachan, the basic aim of the alliance is to help promote new technology developments that will make mining more environmentally responsible [7]. The members of this alliance include companies that are working on innovative breakthroughs in the mining industry. They are also inviting more companies especially those who are working on new technologies in processing and core technology. The innovative new technologies that this alliance is calling Clean technologies or “Cleantech” include hydrometallurgical processes, membrane based water filtration, carbon capture, biologic remediation, closed loop systems, near zero emission processes and other such innovations [7].

Bibliography

[1] O. Balch, “The Guardian,” 6 January 2015. [Online]. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jan/06/how-new-technologies-are-helping-mining-companies-to-come-clean. [Accessed 3 May 2017].
[2] “Mining technology.com,” Kable, 30 January 2014. [Online]. Available: http://www.mining-technology.com/features/featureenvironment-friendly-mining-trends-for-2014-4168903/. [Accessed 3 May 2017].
[3] A. Wilson, “Mininng Facts,” 10 April 2012. [Online]. Available: http://www.miningfacts.org/Blog/Mining-News/Cleaning-up-mining–a-new-industry-group-hopes-to-raise-the-profile-of-cleaner-mining-innovations/. [Accessed 3 May 2017].
[4] “Strategic Mineral Management,” MIT, [Online]. Available: http://web.mit.edu/12.000/www/m2016/finalwebsite/solutions/greenmining.html. [Accessed 3 May 2017].
[5] K. Donohue, “Industry and Buisness,” March 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.industryandbusiness.ca/development-and-innovation/innovation-in-clean-technologies-is-turning-the-mining-industry-green. [Accessed 3 May 2017].
[6] L. Walker, “Environmental Leader,” 11 September 2013. [Online]. Available: https://www.environmentalleader.com/2013/09/greener-technologies-making-mining-cleaner-more-efficient/. [Accessed 3 May 2017].
[7] J. Kirby, “Canadian Mining and Energy,” [Online]. Available: http://www.miningandenergy.ca/sustainability/article/new_clean_mining_association_is_formed/. [Accessed 3 May 2017].

 

 

Latest Stories

“I will destroy humans” says life-like robot: Elon Musk’s claim that artificial intelligence poses a threat to mankind may be justified?

“I will destroy humans” says life-like robot: Elon Musk’s claim that artificial intelligence poses a threat to mankind may be justified?

It may have been a glitch, but during a media interview, a “smart learning” robot named Sophia declared: “Okay, I will destroy humans.”     Although this was in response to an interview question from a journalist, it came across as a little jarringly frightening — rather than as the joke that might have been…

Smart winery? Environmental Health Monitoring Technology to boost plant production; pilot with Ontario winery with Bell in partnership with Huawei

Smart winery? Environmental Health Monitoring Technology to boost plant production; pilot with Ontario winery with Bell in partnership with Huawei

Bell announced a new partnership with Ontario-based BeWhere, an Internet of Things (IoT) solutions company, and China-based tech company Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker. Huawei worked with Bell to develop “an environmental monitoring solution to help improve the health and quality of plants at the vineyard.” Steve Lu, President of Huawei Canada said:…

$6.5 million Small Business Innovation Challenge to develop technologies in “Vehicle Occupancy Detection” and “Digital Identity”

$6.5 million Small Business Innovation Challenge to develop technologies in “Vehicle Occupancy Detection” and “Digital Identity”

Funded by the Ontario Government, the Small Business Innovation Challenge is helping companies develop new technologies in Vehicle Occupancy Detection — used to detect how many people are in an automobile for high occupancy toll roads (HOT) — and Digital Identity to help secure government services. To date, $6.5 million has been allocated, with $3.76…

Ontario launches Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network in Stratford to highlight privonce as the “go to” for Autonomous tech

Ontario launches Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network in Stratford to highlight privonce as the “go to” for Autonomous tech

Ontario is reinforcing its status as a go-to destination for developing automated vehicles by launching AVIN, the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, in Stratford. This unique demonstration zone is among the first of its kind in Canada and will allow researchers to hone the technology and test an AV in a wide range of everyday, real-life…

GO Transit may deploy hydrogen-power rather than electric; consults with Canadian fuel cell technology company that worked on world’s first hydrogen-powered train

GO Transit may deploy hydrogen-power rather than electric; consults with Canadian fuel cell technology company that worked on world’s first hydrogen-powered train

  Canadian hydrogen generation and fuel cell products developer Hydrogenics Corporation will formally undertake feasibility study for GO Transit to potentially deploy hydrogen-powered trains for Ontario. These trains have aleady proven successful in Europe, using technology developed in Canada at Hydrogenics. The Ontario Government announced the consultation yesterday, as part of its $13.5 billion RER…

100,000 watt laser firing 10,000 pulses per second would “deorbit” tons of dangerous space debris

100,000 watt laser firing 10,000 pulses per second would “deorbit” tons of dangerous space debris

The Extreme Univese Space Observatory telescope, originally built to detect cosmic rays, could be used to target space debris in orbit. According to scientists, a powerful laser can then be used to de-orbit space junk that endangers the International Space Station and other satelites. The laser system would be armed with a 100,000 wat ultraviolet…

Women will represent 50% of leadership positions at Oath (AOL-Yahoo merger) says CEO Tim Armstrong

Women will represent 50% of leadership positions at Oath (AOL-Yahoo merger) says CEO Tim Armstrong

In a move toward equality and inclusivity, Oath CEO Tim Armstrong has announced a mission to fill at least half of the company’s leadership positions with women by 2020. He had the opportunity to discuss this mission in a recent episode of CNN’s Boss Files with Poppy Harlow.     The CEO of Oath —…

Latest Update on KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack): the flaw in WPA2 protocal for WIFI systems

Latest Update on KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack): the flaw in WPA2 protocal for WIFI systems

Belgian researchers, Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens — who recently issued warnings concerning a bug in the WPA2 protocol, a widely used system for securing Wi-Fi communications — have made tools available to “detect whether an implementaiton of the 4-way handshake… is vulnerable to key reinstallation attacks.” Standard protocols, such as “changing the password” will…

Bill Gates betting we can invent our way to a clean energy world

Bill Gates betting we can invent our way to a clean energy world

One of the world’s wealthiest businessmen and philanthropists hopes to serve as a catalyst in finding speedier solutions to the world’s climate change problems. Bill Gates of Microsoft has teamed with Mark Zuckerberg and a dozen or so other billionaires and high-profile institutions to launch the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. Gates has pledged $2 billion of…

A cloaking device possible? Stealth technology studies virtual invisibility through “irradiating with its own specific pattern”

A cloaking device possible? Stealth technology studies virtual invisibility through “irradiating with its own specific pattern”

Every kid has dreamed of being invisible at some point. Whether that stemmed from the desire to escape awkward encounters or dreams of being a spy and finding dirt on those around us, we have all been there. While true invisibility may not be possible, a recent study claims that we may be closer than…

1 2 3 73Next →

Other Popular News and Stories

  • Canadian oil production up; producers turning to railways for shipment
  • Miners struggling with higher costs, lower prices
  • SPPCA's new landing gear facility opening in Mississauga
  • RV industry has growing role in Canada's economy: study
  • Canada keeping up pressure on US for Keystone XL approval
  • Pratt & Whitney Canada announces helicopter engine contracts
  • DART Aerospace re-branding itself to reach wider markets
  • Manufacturing the sole industry showing job losses in February
  • Clean energy expected to surge as pv costs drop
  • GM investing $250 million at Ingersoll plant
  • Canadian business, except energy, had profitable Q4: Statistics Canada
  • BC refinery close to financing deal
  • Bombardier nearly ready to flight test CSeries
  • Japex to buy into west coast LNG development
  • Economy managed slight growth in Q4, but shrank in December
  • Volkswagen to produce super-efficient hybrid
  • Skilled labour shortage in world oil industry: report
  • Russian leasing company orders 42 CSeries jets from Bombardier
  • Bombardier holds update on CSeries aircraft
  • FTG Aerospace to supply avionics to Rockwell Collins