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Planning for the upcoming conference Geosynthetics Mining Solutions 2014 is well advanced. As the above news items attest, there is great interest in geosynthetics and this conference will focus on the use of geosynthetics in mining. We have many fine sponsors and a great slate of papers—with more still on their way. Please to be able to tell that Mike O’Kane and his folk at O’Kane Consultants have promised two great papers on the use of geosynthetics in the covers of closed mine waste disposal facilities.

Prompted by review of papers and conference planning I here describe a few new things about geosynthetics in general and in mining. At least these are things new to me. In an industry that is moving incredibly fast.

Just found a discussion group on Linkedin called simply Geosynthetics. The site includes a mix of news about geosynthetics, requests for information, job seekers, and comments on the properties of geosynthetics. You will need plenty of time to follow all the threads of discussion.

Then there is another site called Geosynthetic Experts. Seems to be a mirror of the first site I mention above although with a different emphasis, mainly on jobs. Hard to judge as it is replete with typos and strange grammar. But an occasional gem or nugget of information and insight. Patience in wading through the many postings is required.

I have just been alerted to the range of products supplied by Presto Geosystems. In particular GeoTerra is new to me. It is described thus on their website:

Access soft ground to oil and gas sites, utility transmission lines or wind farms. Durable, reusable, and economical GEOTERRA® mats are ideal for construction site access, tracking pads and helipads. EQUIVALENT TO 12 INCHES OF AGGREGATE! With a high crush and flexural strength, GEOTERRA mats deliver support to construction traffic and heavy equipment loads. Presto GeoTerra® mats offer contractors a better way to access sites with less cost. Just one pallet covers 200 sf, or an 8 ft. wide x 25 ft. long access road.

The point is what better way than coming to the conference is there if you want to quickly and efficiently come up to speed on new and innovative geosynthetics and their applications in mining.



Just published by CostMine is the 2014 Survey Results – Canadian Mine Salaries, Wages and Benefits.  I will survey some of the data in this and future postings.  First a look at average Canadian Mine wages (In Canadian dollars):

Surface mines

  • Electrician  = 37.84
  • Mechanic = 37.08
  • Surface drill operator = 38.06
  • Heavy equipment operator = 34.74
  • Laborer = 27.95

Underground Mines

  • Electrician = 38.83
  • Mechanic = 37.3
  • Miner = 33.89
  • Underground drill operator = 34.26
  • Underground laborer = 27.18

The range of wages is large.  Consider the range for Mill Operators:

  • Mill equipment operator = 24.57 to 58.46 with an average of 35.60
  • Mill laborer = 19.65 to 42.25 with an average of 29.45

And wages vary across the country. Here are averages for eastern versus western surface mine folk”

  • Electrician = 32.80 vs 40.74
  • Mechanic = 32.42 vs 39.81
  • Dragline operator = 33.27 vs 39.14
  • Laborer = 24.74 vs 29.55

Wages have gone up in the past 12 months.  For example, of the 22 eastern mines reporting wages went up 2.9% and of the 27 western mines reporting, wages went up 3.1%.

Good new really.

The report is chock-full of data.  The above is a snapshot.  I will write about this report and salaries etc. in future blog postings.  Meanwhile go to CostMine to purchase a copy for all the data.


The most confident fellow in the meeting was the specialist in permitting from Toronto. He was old, like me, and in total command of his subject. He reminded us: “California is both the most difficult and yet the easiest state in the Union in which to permit a mine. It is easy because the process is simple: fill in the boxes, check off the items of the checklist, and it is done. It is the most difficult because you need to have done the work to ensure the right answer to fill in the boxes. If you do not have a comprehensive, well-thought-out, and defensive plan, you cannot fill in the boxes, complete the checklist, and get the regulators to say OK.” Continue Reading »

Spent the past three days at California mines.  Two days at a real mine and today at Knotsberry Farm and their simulacrums of a mine.  They are to be commended for making mining fun in an amusement park.  Here are some photos.  Two of the real mine and three of the simulacrums.






And finally one of ARD–you decide if it is the real thing or a fake in an amusement park.



I am addicted to origami–the purest form of engineering.  Take a square piece of paper and turn it into a plane that flies.  That is the final challenge. Continue Reading »


I have probable made this point before, but I make it again, as last week I came across a good example of what happens when the following advice is ignored.  All reports issues by a consultant should be peer reviewed before issue.  It is as simple as that. Continue Reading »

I am told that yesterday’s posting was hard to read.  So rather than write tonight, let me simply post some pictures I took from a public road of tailings facilities closed by the Peruvian regulators.  Not sure how long the gabion baskets will last.








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