Archive for the ‘Geology’ Category


I have just added a blog new to me to the blogroll on the right-hand side of this page.  The blog is called  The Economic Geologist.  It would appear to have been going since earlier this month.  Here is how he describes himself: (more…)

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Categories are constructs of our imagination.  We define categories to aid our thinking, analysis, and decision-making.  It is easier to respond immediately if a stimulus fits a preconceived category, than to analyze afresh.  A rustle in the brush fits the definition of the category “Tiger in the woods; the tiger could kill us; therefore flee.”   Why analyze the situation to decide that the wind is merely blowing through the trees and making a nasty sound? (more…)

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Beaches have a way of attracting attention.  Hoards of curvy North Americans flock each year to ocean-side resorts just to sit in pools and stare at beaches.  Early explorers travelling by sea sought coves with protected sandy beaches to land their parties and fly their flag.  Even whales and sharks, distracted by the bounty of an intertidal buffet have tested shallow waters, only to leave themselves high and dry.

Tailings engineers are no less immune to the draw of beaches, though you won’t find many tailings engineers modelling the latest swimwear on sub-tropical shores (if I am wrong here, I do apologize, and please send us your latest vacation photos).  Beaches have a different meaning to folks on a mine. (more…)

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This is a story of a time before computers; before groundwater conceptual models, numerical models, baseline models, and predictive models; before groundwater model calibration, verification, or sensitivity analysis.  This is a story of a time when there was no such thing as a professional geohydrologist, hydrogeologists, or groundwater modeller.  (more…)

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    This week, EduMine posted a new course that I wrote.  As is the title of this posting, the new course is called Geotechnical Engineering for Mine GeoWaste Facilities.  

I was prompted to write the course when I was called on to explain to a client who is not a geotechnical engineer what is involved in geotechnical engineering.  This client was in charge of the design and construction of a large tailings impoundment that involves nearly every aspect of geotechnical engineering.  He asked me fundamental questions that demanded a wider knowledge base than a simple answer could provide.  Thus I wrote a few short pieces for him and then more short pieces to expand on topics.  Eventually it was obvious we needed a complete course.  So I wrote it.

The course covers pretty much the complete spectrum of geotechnical engineering as applicable to mine tailings impoundments, waste rock dumps, and heap leach pads.  I write from my own experience, including over forty years as a consultant to the mining industry.  During that time I have been lucky enough to work on the geotechnical engineering aspects of all these large structures that I collectively refer to as Mine GeoWaste Facilities. 

I contemplated a course on tailings impoundments alone.  But the topic seemed insurmountable.  Apart from that, there is so much written and readily available about the fundamentals of tailings impoundments that I could not face going into competition with so many excellent texts.   Moreover, it was clear from interaction with my client that a more fundamental look at the basics was needed.  Thus in the course I go back to the fundamentals of soil mechanics that underlie every tailings storage facility, every waste rock dump, and every heap leach pad.

If the topic interests you, I recommend going to the links I provide above, join EduMine, and read the course.  Please tell me how you fare and help me add to future updates of the course by telling me your stories.  Thanks

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 This posting is intended as a small contribution to the debate about the Pebble Mine in Alaska.  This posting is prompted by the oil in the sea from those who prefer oil to uranium.  That is the miner in me talking.  Sorry to the oil and gas men.  And to the birds and fishermen.  (more…)

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Here is a story that I was told long ago–the details are shrouded in the mists of history, but the story is worth repeating for the lessons learnt are always relevant.   (more…)

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    Lithium is used in drugs to help middle-aged ladies (and others) deal with depression.  One person I know has benefited greatly from a regime of lithium pills, although sometimes the mood-swings get to be disconcerting. 

Lithium could also be used in batteries for electric cars.  Where will all the lithium come from?  One report notes: 


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AMEBC Roundup 2009

Roundup is on the weekly calender horizon.  So I decided to see what bloggers world-wide are saying about mining exploration.  Here are the top picks.

Mining Exploration News is one of those news site using blog software, as indeed are most “blogs” that come out of a Google blog search.   Mining Exploration News’ top article tells of a seminar on drilling in the Marcus Shales of Pennsylvania for gas.  Seems the pasts bad effects of mining in the area has people up in arms.  I liked this bit of mining history embedded in the story:

The seminar was hosted by the Moshannon Creek Watershed Coalition, the Wood Duck Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Clearfield County Conservation District and the Centre County Conservation District. Each of the four speakers stressed their organizations were not against the gas well drilling, as long as the proper environmental safe-guards were put in place. Many watersheds are still battling to bounce back from the effects of acid mine drainage from the coal mining boom prior to the Surface Mine Reclamation Act of 1977.

Then there is the Victoria, British Columbia Portal, one of those pretend-to-be-a-blog sites that just picks up stories from others.  They choose as their leader the Canadian Press story that mining exploration activity fell 12 percent in BC in 2008


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This posting was written some time ago.  It has proven popular.  Google likes to list it.  Below is the original posting.  The following few paragraphs are new, inserted in November 2011.

If you have landed at this post, you are probably seeking a job in mining in Colorado or in California.  That is a tough call these days.  To check out current job listings go to CareerMine at InfoMine.  (By way of full disclosure, we share offices and they help me with IT–I could not manage a computer if I tired.) 

In California, US Borax is still mining.  And so is that group on the road to Las Vegas where they are pulling rare earth minerals out of the ground.  For the rest it is quarries to get the sand and gravel to make concrete to build more structures and repair those that are falling down. 

Maybe you can get a mining-related job cleaning up one of the many old mines in California that are now abandoned by their original owners and now belong to oil companies who, through Superfund, are forced to spend millions each year cleaning up past messes.  That produced lots of work for folk like you and me.  And it adds but a tiny bit of a cent to the price of gas at the pump to pay for it.  Might as well get on the band-wagon while it is rolling. 

The situation in Colorado is brighter.  Denver is still a place where mining companies operate to develop mines in far-flung places.  Not many new mines in Colorado though.  All the result of tree-huggers, tax-grabers, and a string of horribly-run mines that have left behind a legacy of pollution.  There are many consultants in Denver who are desperate for qualified folk who know mining.  But be prepared to be sent to Romania, Ghana, Russia, and other diverse nasty places to do real work. 

 If you do not like travel to unsafe places, the Denver consulting world is not for you.  But if you are young and seek adventure and the chance to die young, get on board, for they need you badly and will pay well. 

If you have few skills and seek to labor and manage equipment, you are probably out of luck in Denver and Colorado mining.  Sure they have lots of old mines that need to be cleaned up.  But there are few mines where muscle is needed.  To exercise physical power earning money on a mine, you need to go north to Fort McMurray or south to Chile, or around the globe to Australia.   Go to those place unbeset by Tea Party oldies who do not like change and Take Over Wall Street folk who do not like anything except drugs, death, and squalor. 

I have been brutally honest on the basis of pessimistic personal observation so far.  But keep in mind that I am only a blogger and thus can be wrong.  Read the original posting below. Look at the mining job posting sites like CareerMine, and ask around.

If you find I am wrong, please let me know so that we can tell the good news to others like you who are seeking employment while the politicians dither and obstruct. 

Original Posting

There are still good jobs going begging in the mining industry.   The best place to find them is at CareerMine.   Seems that in spite of no dividend, Freeport-McMoran is looking for a Mill Superintendent and a Superintendent Mine at the Climax Mine site between Silverthorne and Leadville, Colorado.  Coal mining is still booming in the jobs world.  Cliffs in Cleveland, Ohio is looking to employ a slew of procurement folk.


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