Mining Mirror May 2017 - Page 15

Global news Mongolia Technology goes rural Management at the Oyu Tolgoi copper–gold mine in the South Gobi region of Mongolia has introduced a fleet and mine control solution to improve production at the mine. The mine — owned by Turquoise Hill, Rio Tinto, and the Government of Mongolia — appointed Micromine to install its Pitram solution on site. Oyu Tolgoi re-commenced its underground development in 2016. The implementation of Pitram includes standard voice deployment to equipment, configured to collect data relating to underground development activities, with the focus being on high quality collection of metrics, such as equipment utilisation and personnel performance. Additional modules purchased include the controlled areas management module and the OLAP cube module. “The controlled areas module will provide monitoring capability to dangerous or hazardous areas. Supervisors will be alerted when the maximum duration or number of personnel is exceeded within these areas. This will contribute to ensuring a safe working environment for Oyu Tolgoi staff,” says Michael Layng, chief operations officer at Micromine. According to Layng, Oyu Tolgoi underground is expected to move into production in 2020. France Australian company targets critical raw material Australian-listed Apollo Minerals has acquired an 80% interest in the Couflens tungsten–copper–gold project in southern France. Couflens comprises a recently granted exploration license that covers a 42km2 area in the Pyrenees region and includes the historic Salau Mine, which was one of the world’s highest grade tungsten mines when it operated from 1971 to 1986. Salau produced about 930 000 tonnes at 1.5% tungsten (WO3) for about 11 500 tonnes of WO3 in concentrate prior to closure. In addition to tungsten, the Salau deposit contains significant copper and gold values, particularly in the deeper parts of the mine. According to Apollo, Salau Mine’s existing CANADA Production underway at Gahcho Kué Diamond miners De Beers has officially started commercial production at Gahcho Kué, the world’s largest new diamond mine in the past 13 years. The mine, a joint venture between De Beers (51%) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49%), is expected to produce about 54 million carats of rough diamonds over its lifetime. The mine, a fly-in / fly-out site, is located a little more than 280km north-east of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories (NWT) of Canada. Comprising three open pits, the mine will employ 530 people full time, with the majority working a two-week in / two-week out rotation. IRELAND underground development and infrastructure will also be examined to determine the most efficient method to progress mine exploration and development activities, as well as potential mine reactivation. Additional tungsten–copper–gold prospects have been identified within the broader project area, and surface exploration programmes will be undertaken with a view to further assessing these prospects and generating new targets. Tungsten is a strategic commodity with essential application in industry, aerospace, and military. Concerns over security of supply of tungsten have resulted in the EU categorising tungsten as a ‘critical raw material’. Russia Ice road opens opportunities London-listed Amur Minerals Corporation (AMC) has completed the construction of a 350km-long i ce road from the Ulak station (on the Baikal-Amur rail line) to its Kun-Manie base metal project. The company has also begun the re-stocking for the 2017 field programme via vehicle convoys from the Ulak rail siding. Three of the planned trips have been completed to date, delivering 140t of fuel and lubricants. A total of 360t of fuel is scheduled for delivery — an increase of 120t over last year. Newly purchased capital items, including the Caterpillar D6RII dozer, Caterpillar 320D2L excavator, and water well drill rig, are at the Ulak rail siding and are being prepared for transport to the site. According to reports, the company is in a position to drill a minimum of 15 000m of core holes, targeting Kubuk and Ikenskoe / Sobolevsky during the 2017 field season. AMC further plans to complete a series of boreholes around the plant site to determine the amount of water available to process the ore. In addition, boreholes will be completed near the Maly Kurumkon / Flangovy planned open pits and underground operation to determine potential water inflow rates and to establish dewatering requirements, if necessary. Portal leads to underground works Underground development has commenced at AIM-listed Galantas Gold’s Omagh gold property in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. The initial works are for the formation of a portal in the western side wall at the base of the Kearney open pit. When the portal works are complete, the underground development will continue to access ore beneath a crown pillar retained in the base of the open pit. It is expected that ore zones are likely to be reached within six months. US Historic mine closes doors Global mining giant Vale has discontinued work at its more than a century-old Stobie copper and nickel mine in Ontario, US. Stobie nickel mine began as an opencast mine in 1890, then started underground mining in 1914. Producing 375 million tonnes of copper and nickel ore over its lifetime, Stobie and neighbouring Frood Mine have been the most productive mines in the prolific Sudbury Basin. “The low grades at Stobie are no longer economical to mine in today’s challenging price environment,” says Stuart Harshaw, Vale’s vice-president of Ontario operations. According to Harshaw, a combination of factors led to the closure decision, including metals prices, unprofitable low-quality ore, and recent seismic activity that prevented workers from mining below the 3 000ft level. “About 230 jobs could be affected,” says Harshaw. MAY 2017 MINING MIRROR [13]