Climate Change Impacts Mining

climate change impacts miningClimate Change Impacts Mining

Do you believe that the climate is changing?

Only 39% of mining businesses believe in climate change. A mere 19% have made plans to adapt to it. Whether you believe it or not, climate change is real and it is happening. Temperatures are higher than normal through all of the seasons. This is causing immediate problems, as well as other potential issues that may not been seen for years.

Are you prepared for climate change?

The climate changing is going to impact Canadian mining in big ways. Winter roads will be the first things to be affected by these changes. In fact, ice roads have already seen a difference. In 2006, the Diavik Diamond Mine, in the Northwest Territories, dramatically reduced the number of days their ice road was available. This decrease ranged from about 70 days down to 42 days. This reduction forced the company to have their shipments flown in, which increased their shipping cost to a little over $11 million dollars.

Elevated Temperatures in Ontario

Increasing temperatures in Ontario will likely result in less rainfall throughout their summers. This will directly affect the amount of water mines will get. In addition, this could result in exposed raw tailings, mine drainage and dust suppression. On the other hand, Northern Ontario may see an increase in rainfall, which can weaken dams and berms.

Studies show that mining companies’ executives may be the biggest challenge when planning for the effects of the climate change. The magnitude of the climate’s impact on mining operations is not always apparent, which is why they lack planning. Two surveys were conducted across Canada with samples of 100 people, which included mining industry workers, executives and engineer managers. These studies showed that those, who make the biggest decisions, do not see the need to plan for climate change impacts. However, it was found that the workers do see the need for cautionary plans.

The reason for this is due to several factors such as research gaps, uncertainty and costs. The mining industry’s biggest response to climate change, thus far, has been reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is a good start and will immediately help. To create a secure future, miners should start planning for the long term climate changes.

Ways to Fix Pending Issues

To convince the executives, more effective communication about the problems that arise with the climate changing. By creating climate change models, and analysis, as they affect regional areas, it becomes easier to visualize potential problems, and their especially the long term negative effects. These models will help all mining companies see the need for planning for the adaptation to the changing climate.

Canada’s government can also ease the planning process by providing data and resources that can help miners plan ahead. They can also provide funds to help minimize the danger for high-risk areas. New technologies are needed to help the mining industry deal with climate change. This shows a demand for investors, innovators, contractors and suppliers. Additionally, this upcoming demand will create many more career opportunities for Canadians.

Canadian Atlantic: The Next Big Oil Play?

next big oil playWill the Canadian Atlantic be the Next Big Oil Play?

Recently held in Calgary, the Global Petroleum Show showcased developments in the field to over 63,000 representatives from more than 100 countries. At the top of the list of items discussed were the waters off the Atlantic coast of Canada, which are still considered by many to be frontier territory.

Numerous strikes of oil have occurred in recent years, producing hundreds of millions of oil barrels for consumers. And there are many more potential prospects in the area proposed to launch new drilling programs for the third quarter of 2014. With the sudden surge of interest in the Atlantic waters from these new strikes, there is plenty of potential for companies to move in and develop the coast into the next huge oil boom.

Competing with Western Canada

While current figures comparing the oil production per day show that Western Canada completely dwarfs the production of Atlantic Canada (some 2.6 million barrels per day compared to approx. 235,000), the number of Atlantic prospects is climbing.

With a potential of 1.5 billion barrels projected to be pumped from the Atlantic Coast, many oil companies have been investing huge money in new technologies. In fact, so many potential drill sites have been documented, that many firms are beginning to develop new platforms that can handle the rough Atlantic waters with a focus on dodging icebergs and drilling to depths of nearly 4,000 meters.

Transforming the Atlantic Coast

There are complex plans that will shape the face of the Atlantic coast in the near future. Oil, and even mining companies, have proposed or are already building a new array of projects to harvest the abundant prospects on the coast. A slew of new mines, gas export terminals, hydro projects, pipelines, and offshore oil rigs will soon exist on the coast as companies seek to maximize the new wells.

While some may think companies are only in it for the oil, these developments will create thousands of jobs and in some cases provide new clean energy solutions for the local communities.

Upcoming Atlantic Projects

Of the many projects being developed, a few may single-handedly shape the surrounding coast.

The Energy East Pipeline is among these, marking a moment in history as TransCanada plans to develop its first crude oil transportation pipeline by altering an existing natural gas pipeline. In addition to alterations, the new pipeline would have to be built across multiple provinces to line up with existing pipe in preparation for oil transportation.

Additionally, the Gravity Based Structure (GBS) of the Hebron Project is currently in full production for implementation by 2017, with a goal of producing more than 700 million barrels of oil from the Hebron offshore field. Designed as a new innovation, the platform seeks to employ over 3000 people upon completion, with transportation of the platform to a deep-water site occurring this summer.

While there are many more sites in production, the two mentioned above are sure to be among the first to produce oil off the coast and pioneer the newest source of Canadian oil.

Canadian Mining Reducing its Environmental Impact

Canadian Mining Reducing its Environmental ImpactCanadian Mining Reducing its Environmental Impact

Over the past few decades, the Canadian mining industry has grown significantly. Canada has emerged as one of the leading mining industries in the world. The mining industry plays an excellent role by helping to support the economy of the country. However, when you look at mining from a global perspective, it has consequently been a major threat to environmental safety. Several steps can be taken in order to reduce waste and environmental impact during mining operations.

Various initiatives are currently under progress. They are working to decrease waste rock. One of these initiatives is the rock selection process, which is still being tested by geo-scientists. Explosive-free breaking is another initiative option. If successful, this will enable mining operators to selectively choose the rocks they want to break. Then, they could safely break those chosen rocks away without risking collateral damage to the surrounding environment.

Mines that are located near water can do considerable harm to the surface water by polluting it. Although the mining companies do abide by federal laws, it still does not solve the issue completely. One example of this case is from the Northland Pyrite Mine located in Canada. The nearby fresh surface water is turning acidic due to mining activities, which occur on a regular basis. As a preventative measure, they could consider removing the water and storing it. Of course, the water should be immediately released once the mine is closed. This may prove to be an expensive measure. Unfortunately, some companies might have trouble affording it. In such cases, acid mine drainage can also be a viable option.

Also, there is the excessive consumption of energy and greenhouse gases. This stands as a leading issue, which is faced by the mining industry. In this regard, the efforts of CANMET-MMSL certainly deserve some positive recognition. CANMET-MMSL is a manufacturer in Canada that introduced the world’s first ever hybrid loader. The vehicle, which is currently in its testing phase, will operate underground and present a low energy solution to the mining industry. This technology has the potential to replace high energy consuming vehicles, which are currently used throughout the world for mining.

There are many organizations in the industry that are making great efforts towards creating advanced technologies, which can help decrease energy consumption in mining operations. Given its importance to the mining industry, Canada is not too far behind in this race and is making constant efforts to improve overall environmental safety.

South Korea Free Trade Agreement with Canada

south korea free trade agreementSouth Korea Free Trade Agreement with Canada

Canada has long held a leadership position with regard to delivering valuable energy commodities across the globe. Recently, South Korea has become one of Canada’s key free trade partners. The South Korea Free Trade Agreement represents the first of its kind with an Asian nation. This is going to be good news throughout the Canadian economy. The Mining Association of Canada has come out in strong support of the Canadian federal government’s efforts regarding the historic new agreement that was just signed into law.

The goal of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) is to establish a conduit between Canadian businesses and workers to distribution points in South Korea. Presently, South Korea generates an annual GDP of $1.1 trillion. It also has a growing population of around 50 million. That would mean 50 million potential customers for Canadian goods, services and energy resources.

The support from the Canadian mining industry is due, in no small part, to this trade pact’s reduction in tariffs. As it stands, the tariffs are in excess of 8% for various types of metals. Iron, aluminum and nickel ore are all impacted by those tariffs. When all the kinks in the agreement have been worked out, Korean importers will wipe out duties on 98.2% of their tariff lines. That will have a direct impact on the vast majority of Canadian imports. When you consider that the typical amount of a Korean tariff hovers around 13.3%, then it’s clear that having those taxes taken out of the equation is going to mean a huge boost for businesses that are set up to export into South Korea.

In 2012, the levels of mineral exports sold from Canada to South Korea was in the vicinity of $1.8 billion CAD. Of that amount, coal was the largest commodity with sales totaling out at $1.1 billion CAD in 2012. The rest of the sales were from aluminum, copper, nickel, and zinc.

Right now, South Korea ranks at number seven for Canada’s merchandising trade partner.  This makes it the third largest importer in all of Asia. Add up all of the merchandise that flowed from Canada to South Korea in 2012 and you’ll hit a total of $10.1 billion CAD in sales. Free trade agreements have already been established between South Korea, the U.S. and the European Union. It’s time that Canada gets a piece of that lucrative pie.