The Decar nickel deposit is located in British Columbia. With more than 2 billion tons of reserves grading 0.2% Ni the deposit represents a significant resources. The nickel occurs in an uncommon mineral awaruite which is an alloy of nickel and iron. Due to its strong ferro-magnetic properties and high density (SG 8.0) it should be readily recoverable using magnetic separation followed by gravity concentration. However, the presence of significant amounts of magnetite which as similar physical properties makes it difficult to separate the awaruite from the magnetite.
Arsenic (As) is a toxic metalloid that is widespread in the environment. Anthropogenic mining activities result in As being released from rock via mining activities in mine tailings, waste rock and process waters. AREVA has a proposed mine site expected to produce up to 6 million tonnes of waste rock containing As. This waste rock needs to be stored appropriately and the release of its As into groundwater must be limited to minimize environmental impacts.
Cu and Ni minerals that have great economic value mostly exist in the form of sulfides, making them difficult to extract using hydrometallurgical processes. Currently, heap leaching is the most economical way to extract these metals from low grade ores. Copper recoveries of many chalcocite heap leaches report around 70% copper recovery. However, the chalcocite leaching reaction has several stages. The first stage leach is characterized by 50% copper extraction and the conversion of chalcocite into a second stage of covellite (CuS) which is very difficult to leach at ambient temperature.
The August 2014 tailings dam breach at the Mount Polley Mine, BC severely disturbed downstream forest ecosystems through erosion and tailings deposition. The impacted area presents an opportunity to research using ecosystem legacies (components that survive a disturbance) to rehabilitate disturbed sites.
This project will attempt to improve knowledge of the condition of the roof of mining rooms in potash mining. Typically a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) systems pointing overhead and connected to a mining machine is used to assess the conditions of the roof. This is important in order to avoid rock falls which endanger lives, equipment and the operations of potash mining.
Mines wastes include tailings and waste rock. Tailings are crushed rock produced by mineral extraction and waste rock is coarse material excavated to create mine openings. These wastes are commonly disposed on the surface in tailings or waste rock piles, which could pose serious environmental and geotechnical issues. Backfilling the openings of underground mines with wastes has become a common practice. The disposal of wastes in open pits is less common, yet is a promising technique.
One of the most challenging issues in the gold mining industry comes from the carbonaceous ore components adsorbing gold ion complexes, resulting in up to 90% gold loss during cyanide leaching process. The addition of chemical reagents as blinding agents is one of the most promising methods to blind the organic carbon content of ore materials to increase the gold recovery from carbonaceous preg-robbing ores.
The research project will include a study using dual energy X-ray transmission (DE-XRT) technology to investigate how to improve the current DE-XRT analysis. To conduct the research, large amounts of samples will be taken from different types of deposits and operations. The research will evaluate various data mining methods to generate algorithms using the data from DE-XRT technology and hence improving the sorter efficiency. The findings from research can help benefit SDE by providing solutions to improve algorithm generation using DE-XRT technology and benefit the mining industry.
Glencore is considering the use of DETA (diethylenetriamine), a mineral processing reagent, to improve process performance in Strathcona Mill, located near Sudbury, Ontario. DETA forms soluble complexes with nickel and copper ions, and can cause the concentration of these metal ions to exceed the value permitted in the final effluent.
There is a significant body of research on Corporate Social Responsibility in the mining sector. However, little empirical data exists about what works well across stages of the mine life cycle, particularly during early exploration.