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Today was a typical day in the life of a mining consultant.  One report was issued; one project put on hold; one request for proposals received; and a long discussion on how to deal with an obdurate client.

The project put on hold was in the prefeasibility stage–of deciding how to reopen a mine closed some fifteen years ago.  The pit designer had calculated that $75 million of prestripping was needed to get to the ore.  The pit stability analyist had decided the pits could not go much deeper without rock bolting.  The metallurgist said there was no equipment available to get the ore ready for heap leaching.  The heap leach pad designer had said the new heap leach pad was feasible but a long way from the mill—would it be economic to transport that distance?  And the groundwater guys had said there was not enough groundwater to support operations.  No wonder it was put on hold.

The report issued advised on how to deal with a sinkhole that had developed in the tailings over an area where the geomembrane liner had been torn and repaired during installation.  And how to deal with diversion channels designed for a mere twenty-five year precipitation event.

The obdurate client wants to relocate waste rock to a site where the groundwater becomes artesian in the wet season.   And they do not want perpetual water treatment although the rock is acid generating.  Imagine that!

Then the RFP to proposed to compile a mine closure plan came in.  Can we win?  Is it worth compiling and submitting?  Should we team?

Finally I did a dry run of the EduMine webcast for next week on Mine Water Management.  Please to say that Clint Strachan of MWH has agreed to join me and present on mine water management at the Marlin Mine in Guatemala.  it will be great to hear his presentation.  There is still time to join us on Tuesday.

Then home to a drink and an opera.  Tell you about that in the next posting.

 

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Many, many years ago I was in Sitka for a conference on Marine Tailings Disposal.  The proceedings were published in a book edited by D.V. Ellis.  You can get a copy from amazon.com for $4.00.  My copy is in the attic of the house in Huntington Beach.  Bet none of the kids will ever read the paper therein that I wrote with John Welsh. Recently one of the many who communicate with me via private email sent me a remarkable document.  It is the DSTP Initiative: 2014 Knowledge Workshop Report dated May 2014.   Keep in mind DSTP stands for Deep Sea Tailings Placement. (more…)

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In February next year I shall go to the Society of Mining Engineers (SME) conference in Denver.  One evening I shall dine with Andy Robertson and his party.  We will celebrate his induction into the Mining Hall of Fame. This is a signal honor for him and due recognition of his many contributions to the mining industry.  He well deserves it.  Not that he needs more recognition–most people I speak to know and respect him.  He is well-known for his superior intellect, his accomplishments, and his human gentleness.  For he is first and foremost a gentleman in all meanings of the word. (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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The final keynote speech at the conference on Tailings and Mine Waste was from Craig Benson. He talked about mine waste facility covers.   He has promised me a pdf of his talk. But in the meantime there are many documents by him and his coworkers readily available on the web that deal with much the same material as was in his presentation. (more…)

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Today’s keynote address was by Tamara Johndrow of Freeport-McMoRan Mining Company. Her topic was FCX Tailings Stewardship Program. Let me note what I recall of her talk. Tamara heads a group of about ten engineers.  Their task is to look after, or steward, all of Freeport-McMoRan’s tailings facilities.  If I recall correctly that includes 18 operating facilities and over fifty closed facilities.  That is a large portfolio. They have a single objective:  NO FAILURES. (more…)

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The first day of presentations at the Tailings and Mine Waste 2014 Conference.  Gordon McPhail delivered a talk in honor of Geoff Blight, who passed away earlier this year.  Geoff made so many contributions to tailings that we were talking for at least an hour about him and his genius.  I honor him here in the only way I know:  record my opinion that he was one of the great of tailings. (more…)

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