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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.

 

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The great news is that all is going well regarding the upcoming conference Geosynthetics Mining Solutions.  The conference is to be held in Vancouver September 8 to 11, 2014.

We have sold out the sponsorships–so almost everybody that is anybody in the world of geosynthetics manufacturers, suppliers, and installers will be there.  I am very grateful to them all.  But most impressive is that many have teamed with consultants to write paper about the application of their products in mining case histories.

We have published the first list of papers.  May change as more come in or, sadly, one or two drop out.  But I think it is fair to say that we have an extraordinary set of papers, most of which include case histories new to me.  In fact I am amazed and impressed at the variety of new applications to which geosynthetics are being put in the mining industry.  Here are three that catch my attention:

  • Rigid Inclusions for Embankment Support over Waste Phosphatic Clay by Ed Garbin, James D. Hussin, Jeffrey R. Hill
  • GCLs in heap leach pads: state of the art and practice by T. Meyer and C. Athanassopoulos
  • Use of an innovative geocomposite (paradrain) to build a reinforced 2H:1V slope using clay and silty soils for stormwater management pond by Ravin Nag, Jasmina Nikodinoska

In addition to a superb collection of papers with practical bent, we have the support of leading practitioners who will present keynote speeches on the work they are doing in geosynthetics in mining.  You may have seen some of the adverts in recent magazines that list most of them.  Due to an oversight on my part (I get old)  we did not list Mark Smith.  But here I wish to make amends.  I have never met Mark, but I have read just about everything he has written and published on geosynthetics, and I know he knows his stuff better than the rest of us.  I look forward to meeting him and hearing him talk.

On the Monday preceding the conference we have three short courses. Here the details

Course 1 – Geosynthetic Design Considerations for Heap Leach Pads – “Extreme Fill Loads on Geomembrane Liner Systems”

Presenters:

Timothy D. Stark, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Robert H. Swan, Jr., Drexel University, USA

Allan Breitenbach, Ausenco, USA

R. Kerry Rowe, Queens University, Canada

View the course outline

———-

Course 2 – Introduction to Geosynthetics in Mining

Presenters:

Dirk van Zyl, Professor and Chair of Mining and the Environment, University of British Columbia, Canada

Sam Allen, Vice President, TRI Geosynthetics Services, USA

Terry Mandziak, P.E., Principal Consultant, Geotechnical Engineering, SRK Consulting (U.S.), Inc., USA

View the course outline

———-

Course 3 – Horizontal Drainage, QA and QC: Cost Effective Strategies to Ensure Safe, Leak-Proof and Efficient Geosynthetic Lining Systems

Presenters:

Eric Blond, eng.M.Sc.A., Vice-president, SAGEOS/CTT Group, Canada

Arnaud Budka, ing., Project Director, Groupe Alphard, Canada

Pascal Saunier, P.Eng., Ing., Technical Director, Afitex-Texel Inc., Canada

View the course outline

This is the first conference specifically on the topic of geosynthetics in mining.  And it promises to be great.  Come join us and register now.

 

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Almost everybody in mining that I talk to has an adverse opinion about the recent Canada Supreme Court ruling that the Crown has a duty to obtain First Nations or Aboriginal consent before mining on claimed land.   Opinions include: (more…)

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Here is a copy of an email alert that I received today.  All about a new book on gender in mining.  I quote below from the email and from the Amazon.com site where you can buy the book. (more…)

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Here is an email from today’s box that is worth repeating.  Makes you aware of the comments made to me yesterday by a client: “The US has not opened a new mine of note in decades and is now almost without mines.  It’s all very well to import, but at what cost to domestic workers and long-term security?” (more…)

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Here are two links to two very different reports on Tahoe’s Escobal mine in Guatemala.  I need to rush to join clients for drinks and supper, so no comment other than to repeat what one of the articles reports on what I said in an interview with the reporter.  Oh Dear! (more…)

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Last Saturday night we went to Bard on the Beach to watch The Tempest.  First a supper on the grass beneath the trees: wine; bread, sushi; and a whole roast chicken eaten with gusto and more wine.  And an avoidance of the rain that threatened and then came in gusts during the performance. (more…)

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Mike Jacobs of Goldcorp presented the keynote address today at Paste 2014 in Vancouver.  His topic:  Where mining meets the public–and why water is so important? He told us that Goldcorp annually publishes the statistics of the use of water at all its mines.  Commendable. Then he told us of the First Nations prayer ceremonies at the opening and closing of water seasons at their mines.  Incredible. (more…)

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The first official day of conference sessions at the Paste 2014 conference here in Vancouver.  Sean Wells, Director of Research for Suncor presented the opening keynote address. I cannot possibly here recount all he said.  All I can do is note a few points that he made that stuck with me.  In due course, his PowerPoint presentation will be available through InfoMine.  Get it and take deep thought over it, for his points are provocative, timely, and scary. He noted that the problems of oil sands tailings management are all about scale.  They oil sands produce so much tailings that the shear volumes and areas needed introduce problems not encountered in conventional tailings management.  I have heard it said that the two oil sands mines, Suncor and Syncrude, produce more tailings per day than the combined total of all the other mines worldwide.  His point is made. (more…)

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Day one of the  conference Paste 2014.   Actually the actual conference begins tomorrow.  Today there were short courses and meeting of friends and fellow travellers on the mining journey.  The most beautiful was a lovely lady from Brazil who is studying at the university of British Columbia for a semester and will be a mining engineer in a year or two.  We chatted over lunch and if she is, as I believe she will be, the future of mining, the profession is in good and beautiful hands. (more…)

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