Sudbury’s Mine Specialists (Part 4 of 4)

OEM Off-Highway magazine Editor Chad Elmore has given Republic of Mining.com permission to post an October 2007 article on Sudbury’s Mining Supply and Service sector.

OEM Off-Highway magazine provides an editorial mix of new technology, component information, engineering processes and industry news to help product development teams design and produce better off-highway vehicles and component systems. OEM Off-Highway

The Northern Bermuda Triangle

Today CVRD Inco is still involved in product development, albeit in a different capacity. Most of the equipment in Sudbury leaves the factory fully assembled. If it’s going to be lowered in a cage, a few tricks must be performed. Depending on the size of the cage, this can mean tearing the machine down, lowering the pieces on the cage and rebuilding it underground. It’s an extra process that can cost the mine as much as $30,000.

CVRD Inco wanted to prove new machines above ground. It created a ramp with a 20% grade in an old open pit mine near Sudbury.
It’s been called the Bermuda Triangle of the North because things happen to vehicles on the ramp test that never occurred in the past. The vehicles are pounded repeatedly by worst-possible situations that replicate real-world conditions. The Canadian Standards Assoc. (CSA) and other groups spell out specifications like safe stopping distances. CVRD Inco’s test uses the standards, then cuts them by a third to make up for extended maintenance intervals.

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Sudbury’s Mine Specialists (Part 3 of 4)

OEM Off-Highway magazine Editor Chad Elmore has given Republic of Mining.com permission to post an October 2007 article on Sudbury’s Mining Supply and Service sector.

OEM Off-Highway magazine provides an editorial mix of new technology, component information, engineering processes and industry news to help product development teams design and produce better off-highway vehicles and component systems. OEM Off-Highway

Adit Makes It Easier

NORCAT’s laboratory work is balanced by its mine training and testing facility in the former Fecunis Mine, located on Xstrata Nickel land in Onaping, an hour northwest of Sudbury.

Safety indoctrination is required for any person employed by a mine or working as a contractor underground in Ontario. CVRD Inco and Xstrata Nickel look to NORCAT for training.

The month-long course for the hard rock miner common core program begins in front of the computer and moves to safety training at NORCAT’s underground mine. This is followed by hands-on work where students go through the cycle of drilling, blasting, scaling, bolting and mucking. More than 2,000 students each year go through the program, which is taught by miners with decades of real-world experience.
While extracting paydirt isn’t the goal of NORCAT’s mine work, the mining is real. Students don headlamps to open drifts and ventilation passages following a plan. The mine gets deeper with each wave of students. The longest drift is 750 ft.

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Sudbury’s Mine Specialists (Part 2 of 4)

OEM Off-Highway magazine Editor Chad Elmore has given Republic of Mining.com permission to post an October 2007 article on Sudbury’s Mining Supply and Service sector.

OEM Off-Highway magazine provides an editorial mix of new technology, component information, engineering processes and industry news to help product development teams design and produce better off-highway vehicles and component systems. OEM Off-Highway

Deep Impact

How Sudbury developed into a mining technology center can be linked to a number of factors. Common elements in every explanation are a direct hit from a meteorite (about 1.8 billion years ago) that created one of the highest concentrations of nickel-copper sulfides in the world, and the two oldest and largest mining com¬panies in the area.

They were for¬merly known as Inco (Creighton Mine started producing ore in 1901; today production areas are more than 8,000 ft. deep) and Falconbridge (80 years of history in Sudbury). Last year Inco was acquired by Brazilian mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) and became CVRD Inco, while Falconbridge attracted Switzerland’s Xstrata plc. The Sudbury division is now Xstrata Nickel.

Clusters of companies that work together to solve industry problems do not develop overnight. Mining activity throughout the basin increased after the 1940s. Mines required custom-built equip¬ment to meet unique applications and standards. Synergy between individual mines owned by the same company was rare. Between different companies it was worse. Still, improving production efficiencies — especially when nickel prices bottomed out — was always important. Local suppliers were busy sup¬porting activity in and around Sudbury and expanded along with their customers. Mine firms were in a position to support research in mineral extraction techniques and technology, and when something worked they became a customer. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Mine Specialists (Part 1 of 4)

OEM Off-Highway magazine Editor Chad Elmore has given Republic of Mining.com permission to post an October 2007 article on Sudbury’s Mining Supply and Service sector.

OEM Off-Highway magazine provides an editorial mix of new technology, component information, engineering processes and industry news to help product development teams design and produce better off-highway vehicles and component systems. OEM Off-Highway

If mining expertise is what you need, the Sudbury Basin has it.

The deep hard rock mines lining Ontario’s Sudbury Basin feature some of the toughest working conditions in North America. There are more than 3,000 miles of mine tunnels under the region’s lakes and trees — some of those miles start at the bottom of a shaft more than 8,000 ft. below sea level. Down there, moisture-laden air mixes with ambient rock temperatures hovering around 100 F. Factor in long ramps with grades of more than 20%, narrow tunnels walled with unforgiving igneous rock and the occasional puddle holding enough sulfuric acid to consume a screw — Pebble Beach, this is not.

Equipment builders get no breaks, even in that environment. Whether using a production or support vehicle, mine operators expect maximum availability from their equipment. An equipment failure in a narrow tunnel 5,500 ft. down and two miles from the elevator, or cage, to the surface can be very expensive and downright inconvenient. Mines also want the machines to be safe and easy to maintain.

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Map Staking May Not Be The Answer – Gregory Reynolds

Gregory Reynolds - Timmins ColumnistThe Ontario government appears to be boxing itself in when it comes to the issue of map staking.

While large Canadian mining companies and some bureaucrats in the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) favour map staking over the traditional method of acquiring Crown land with the possibility of a mineral resource, prospectors and most small mining companies are opposed.

Actually going into the wilderness and physically walking the boundary of a mining claim, known as ground staking, generates a great deal of wealth for several sectors of the economy.

On the other hand, under map staking, a company or an individual can sit at a computer and pick out the land desired. Upon paying the ministry its fees, the company or the prospector has acquired temporary title to the land.

It must be noted under map staking, a company in Russia or a geologist in South Africa would be able to stake several hundred, or even several thousand, claims if the bill could be paid over the internet.

While the province is considering map staking for south of the French River and the debate over its value has raged over that point, there is another aspect to the situation. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Can Become a Global Centre for Mining Education – Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol - Executive Speech Writer and Mining ColumnistIn 2008, for the first time in human history, more than half of the global population will be living in cities. The planet is undergoing the largest wave of urban growth ever, spearheaded by the massive migration of Chinese farmers to their cities.

Access to mineral commodities is critical if this trend of urbanization and industrialization in China, India and much of the rest of the lesser developed nations are to continue. This is no ordinary boom-bust cycle. We have entered a “once-in-a-generation,” long-term commodity boom that will ensure that Sudbury remains prosperous for decades to come.

However, an explosive demand for skilled mining geologists and engineers to find and develop the future mineral deposits as well as keep the present ones running will be one of the most significant global challenges the mining industry faces. Especially since a large number of the current generation are close to retirement.

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Silvermans Linked to Sudbury’s Rich Jewish History – Gary Peck

The Atlantic has served as a favorite, well-travelled route for the pioneer who cast his eyes westward. For numerous reasons, some more obvious than others, Canada and the United States have attracted their share with Canada alone settling over three million newcomers in the years 1896-1914. In 1906, Lord Strathacona, formerly Donald Smith of the CPR, predicted a population of at least 80 million by the end of the twentieth century – the century Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier boasted belonged to Canada. It was a time of optimism.

Prior to the wave of newcomers associated with the Laurier years, 1896-1911, the Silverman’s of Poland traversed the Atlantic, landing in New York. Three brothers – Aaron, Myer and Miram – soon would reach Algoma district and make Sudbury their home.
 
Aaron Silverman had been in his early teens when he arrived in New York. Employment in a clothing factory terminated when the factory closed. Soon he would be in Algoma district. Continue Reading →

Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame Historical Profile – Athol Stanley (Stan) Hilditch

Athol Stanley (Stan) Hilditche (1904-1992) was a prospector and discoverer of major iron ore deposits in the Pilbara region of Western Australia

Few Australians outside of the mining industry would readily associate Stan Hilditch with the vast iron ore mines of WA’s Pilbara; in the popular view of discovery and progress, other names tend to spring to mind. Yet, Stan Hilditch was central to the discovery and foundation of the Mt Newman mining operations. Upon his pioneering contribution has been built an outstanding legacy in the form of one of the largest iron ore mines in the world: at the time of his death in 1992, the mine had produced considerably more than half a billion tons of iron ore over a period of 23 years and the operators expected that more than this again would come from known reserves.

Aside from the extent of his investigation and discovery in the Pilbara, Stan Hilditch is also remembered for what one Chair of BHP noted as ‘his tenacity, vision and unassuming nature [that] represented the very best qualities of the people of Australia’s mining industry.’

Stan Hilditch was born in Newcastle, NSW, in 1904, and came with his family at a very early age to the Eastern Goldfields of WA. Continue Reading →

Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame Historical Profile – Henry James Evans

Henry James Evans (1912-1990) was a leading exploration geologist and the discoverer of the world-class Weipa bauxite deposits in Queensland, Australia.

Henry James Evans was born on 7 November 1912 in Greymouth, centre of a mining region on the south island of New Zealand. He was educated at the Reefton High School and Reefton School of Mines where he studied geology. Initially he gained experience evaluating gold dredging areas on the west coast and later worked for Austral Malay Tin, Alluvial Tin and Consolidated Goldfields. In 1938 he joined New Zealand Petroleum as a senior geologist and spent six years supervising oil drilling, logging and mapping. He spent most of 1945 with the NZ Geological Survey assessing the resources of the Greymouth Coal Basin.

Evans moved to Australia in 1946 to join the Zinc Corporation (now Rio Tinto) and was appointed Chief Geologist with Frome Broken Hill, looking for oil and gas in various parts of Australia, but also did some work on potash in UK and uranium at Rum Jungle.

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Gold Prices May Not Have Silver Lining – Gregory Reynolds

Gregory Reynolds - Timmins ColumnistThe long awaited – and predicted – push by the price of gold through the US$1000 an ounce barrier has occurred.

There is jubilation in the hearts of the gold bugs of the world, those faithful who attend conferences year-after-year to hear the word from on high: gold is the only asset to hold.

That the wait between gold’s previous record high in 1980 at US$850 an ounce to the March 13 break through was 27 years is being ignored.

The gold mining industry, especially in Canada, has reason to be happy but there is a need to look past the event and to ask why it happened.

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Dynamite’s Successor Tested at the Copper Cliff Elsie Mine – Gary Peck

It combines all the elements of dynamite as an explosive as well as many other laudable features. It is safe to handle and needs the action of heat, flame and concussion to ignite it. One can even pound it with a hammer or rub it with sandpaper without fear. As well, it will not freeze under 25 degrees below zero nor is it affected by water or weather.

 Finally, no noxious gases will be emitted underground to slow down work and perhaps overcome the miner.  Such were the claims of a company in 1901 developing a new explosive to replace dynamite. Of interest is the little-known fact that the first Canadian plant was built in Sudbury.

The new explosive was of Russian origin, having been invented by Count Sergius Smollinoff.

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Mining and One Aboriginal Family – A Memoir by Glenn Nolan

Glenn Nolan - Chief of the Missanabie Cree First NationMy Dad was a Cree Indian. He was raised to be self sufficient in the bush. He was raised to know the importance of providing for his family through hard work and dedication. He was, in the true sense of the phrase, a hunter and a gatherer. Dad was not an educated man in the sense of a formal education. He went as far as grade three and realized that he could do more for his family by working at a logging camp at the age of twelve. He did a variety of jobs but always remained close to his cultural roots and continued to hunt, trap and fish to supplement his meager wages.

He tried his hand at a variety of jobs ranging from being on a road gang on the railroad, prospecting, guiding American anglers and hunters, as well as working as a labourer at various construction projects throughout Canada. He always returned home to be close to his family.

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Sudbury’s Cambrian College Closes Desperately Needed Geology Programs – John Filo

I am a Mineral Exploration Geophysicist and very disappointed with Cambrian College’s decision to suspend the Geological Engineering Technology program.

The mining industry is booming. There will be a shortfall of 92,000 workers in Canada alone, during the next decade as industry expands and wages significantly increase. Australia, Chile, Brazil and all other mineral producing countries are also facing the same labour shortages as us.

Cambrian has had an ample number of years to pursue an aggressive Geology marketing program when it felt it had to suspend the Geological Engineering Technician Program a few years ago.

One need not be a rocket scientist to realize that these symptoms should have provided notice to senior management that the publicizing of a unique program in Ontario had been inadequate. Continue Reading →

Excerpt From Michael Barnes New Book – More Than Free Gold: Mineral Exploration in Canada Since World War II

More Than Free Gold - Michael BarnesFaults and Fissures Vein Deposits

The discovery of silver and gold vein deposits marked the start of Canada’s mining legacy. The discovery of gold at Kirkland Lake and Timmins and silver in Cobalt and near Thunder Bay set the stage for the development of these parts of Canada’s hinterland and founded the development of a mining culture that continues today. …

Gold mining has come a long way in Ontario since the first property, the Richardson Mine in Eldorado near Madoc, fizzled shortly after its 1867 opening. The scattering of small mines working in northwestern Ontario eked out a few ounces of gold in the early part of the twentieth century. The success of the Cobalt camp gave witness to the Mexican proverb, “It takes a silver mine to make a gold mine,” by providing a labour pool and ready financing for the rich gold bonanzas of the Porcupine and Kirkland Lake.

The Porcupine-Timmins area produced 67 million ounces of gold from 48 mines between 1910 and 2004. The smaller but richer grade Kirkland Lake camp had an output from twenty-four mines that gave up 42 million ounces between 1917 and 1990.

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When the Worth of Sudbury Rocks was Being Known – Gary Peck

In the spring of 1894 the Provincial Mining Association of Ontario met in Sudbury. The meeting was afterwards described as, to that time, the largest and most successful ever held. Suffice to say, the meeting provided an opportunity for all to focus attention of the mining potential of the area. Today we’ll examine the Nickel Range in some detail.

 At that time the full extent of the Nickel Range was not known. Yet, the nickel-bearing belt was felt to be about 70 miles in length, extending from Lake Wahnapitae in a southwesterly direction along the Vermillion and Spanish Rivers. The width was described as irregular with it being wider at both ends and narrower in the middle where the main line of the CPR crossed it. Deposits were scattered throughout the range.

In Denison township, southwest of Sudbury, there was a regular series of approximately a dozen large ore beds on one ridge. This extended eastward into Graham township as a vein system. Prospectors referred to the rich nickel deposit as a “red hill” based on the color of the surface capping of gossan. It was the ambition of the prospector to make such a find.

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