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Archive for the ‘Peru’ Category

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I was always healthy until I visited the doctor for a checkup.  Then they found all sorts of things wrong with me:  internal components not working; high levels of this and that and consequential concerns; indications of too much drink and smoking; blood pressure where it should not be;  weight too high; and so on.  Although I did loose some fifteen lbs on my recent trip to Peru and Chile. Maybe not enough alcohol,  lots of walking, and all that terrible Peruvian food.  How can you like raw fish in vinegar; black potatoes in squid ink; or slimy muscles in red pepper?  I cannot and probably ate too little. (more…)

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Just home from a four-week journey that took me to  Peru, Chile, Keystone CO, Banff, and Ekati NWT.  It is good to be back in the house where you can throw off the formalities of travel, eat simple food, and get drunk in private. They say that Peruvian food is the best in the world.  Indeed it is if you are in a fancy, expensive place in Lima.  But go to a mine and eat what the miners eat, and it is terrible beyond belief.  Rice & beans and other unrecognizable substances of gooey texture.  I lost weight.  Maybe it was the altitude = 14,500 ft.  You walk slow and breathe deep in those conditions. (more…)

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Mining Travel in Peru

No posts the past few days. I have been travelling in Peru and Chile to remote mines where we work long hours and have intermittent email & internet connections. It has been fun and instructive: to examine the problems that arise on mines far from the center and focus; to see how local consultants devise solutions in climates that differ from those I am used to; and to examine alternative ways of constructing tailings impoundments.  I cannot write of what I have done, for it is all client confidential, so instead here are a few photos take at random along the way. Enjoy.

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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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Words cannot capture a day of intense impressions.  Yet let me try. Go east of Lima into the hills (as I did today) and see this:

  • Tailings clinging to the steep hills in defiance of gravity.
  • A mine closed by the government to perfection.  They know what they are doing!
  • Filter-pressed tailings transported fifty kilometers up 1000 m elevation to a new disposal site — economically?

(more…)

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The news report today that caught my attention is this. Politicians say such strange things!

Argentina’s mining minister, Jorge Mayoral, surprised quite a few of the 300 executives present an annual luncheon last week, by calling its neighbouring Chile and Peru mining models “a failure.”

According to Mining Press (in Spanish), the official was especially critical of the other two countries openness to foreign investors. Mayoral said Argentina did not want mining in a Chilean or Peruvian way:

“We want mining our way, which means we want to favour domestic suppliers, local management, make sure jobs are taken by technical and professionals coming out of our universities, that respect for the environment is a priority, and most importantly, that all this is done in a safe matter,” he was quoted as saying.

Ironically, the minister also called on his Chilean peer, Aurora Williams, to expedite a decision on Barrick Gold’s Pascua Lama project, which has been halted since last year, after a number of defeats in local courts about water use and the impact on glaciers in the area. While later Barrick stopped construction of the $8.5 billion project as part of its debt-reduction and cost-cutting program, it is still facing major fines and a class action lawsuit because of it.

A report released by the government in March shows Argentina’s mining sector is expected to attract about $4 billion this year, with US and Indian companies reportedly interested in developing the nation’s copper and lithium.

(more…)

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“Call me Luke.”  Thus introduced, we sat down to talk about his career, his company, and mining copper. Luke is a civil engineering graduate of the University of British Columbia.  He spent the first five years working for consultants in the United States and British Columbia on tailings facilities.  “That way I learnt part of what makes a mine work,” he assured me, as the names of the mines slip easily from him:  Kennecott, Dome, Campbell.  (more…)

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