WORKPLACE SAFETY: CHEMICAL PROTECTIVE SUITS
When it comes to getting a job done we can come across numerous complications. One of those is not being sufficiently prepared to carry out a task we’ve been assigned. Suitable risk prevention is vital. That’s why in this article we’re going to talk about safety in the workplace and more specifically, suits that protect against harmful chemicals.
Chemical protective clothing has a very specific function in that it protects people who handle or come in to contact with chemical products, whether gas, liquid or solid. Some harmful products can be certain minerals, paints, oils or a long list of other contaminants that workers are surrounded by on a daily basis.
According to INSHT (National Institute of Workplace Safety and Health), the main function of protective clothing is to keep harmful products from coming into direct contact with skin. It is important to remember that exposure to chemical products can pose a risk if they are harmful for your health, if they are absorbed through the skin or inhaled into the respiratory tract.
Choosing a chemical protective suit
It takes an expert in workplace health and safety to determine which type of protection is most suitable for each use. Carefully choosing work uniforms and analyzing potential risks is vital for the safety of workers.
The European Union has identified a total of six different levels of protective clothing, specifically identifying each type to indicate the protection it offers against any particular danger, whether gas, liquid or sprays. It is important to consider permeation and penetration, as well as physical characteristics of the chemical product –abrasion, breakage, resistance to traction, etc.– when choosing an suitable garment.
Does complying with the EU regulation for clothing mean you are fully protected from all risks? Not by a long shot, but it significantly lowers the risk ratio.
Classification of chemical protective suits
Chemical protective suits are classified according to design, requirements and features:
- Type 1. Gastight protective suits. UNE-EN 943-1:2003
- Type 1a. With breathable air supply independent of the ambient atmosphere.
- Type 1b. With breathable air supply.
- Type 1c. With breathable air supply and providing positive pressure.
- Type 1a-ET (for emergency team use). With breathable air supply independent of the ambient atmosphere. UNE-EN 943-2:2002
- Type 1b-ET (for emergency team use). With breathable air supply. UNE-EN 943-2:2002
- Type 2. Non-gas tight protective suit. With breathable air supply and providing positive pressure. UNE-EN 943-1:2003.
- Type 3. Liquid-tight clothing. Full-body protective clothing with jet-tight connections between the different parts of the clothing and, if applicable, with liquid-tight connections to component parts, such as hoods, gloves, boots, visors or respiratory protective equipment. UNE-EN 14605:2005 + A1:2009.
- Type 4. Spray-tight clothing. Full-body protective clothing with spray-tight connections between the different parts of clothing, and, if applicable, with spray-tight connections to component parts, such as hoods, gloves, boots, visors or respiratory protective equipment. UNE-EN 14605:2005 + A1:2009.
- Type PB  y PB . Partial body protection clothing offering protection against permeation of chemical liquids to specific parts of the body. UNE-EN 14605:2005 + A1:2009.
- Type 5. Chemical protective clothing resistant to penetration by airborne solid particles. The suitability of clothing type 5 must be determined for each specific chemical substance, as with certain highly dangerous aerosols, it may be necessary to use clothing type 1 to obtain the necessary level of protection. UNE-EN 13982-1:2004
- Type 6. Limited-performance chemical protective clothing. This is the lowest level of protection against chemicals, it is designed to protect against possible exposure to light sprays or low-volume splashes. UNE-EN 13034:2005 + A1:2009.
- Type PB . Partial body protective clothing, partial protection against liquid products. UNE-EN 13034:2005 + A1:2009
LARGEST MINES IN THE WORLD
Have you ever visited a mine? If the answer is yes, you were probably quite impressed by its magnitude. Vast expanses of land that unite human beings with the extraction of raw materials. However, it’s not easy to talk about a mine’s size, as it is determined by many variables. This is why creating a classification of the world’s largest mines is a difficult task, but in this article, we’re going to go on an extensive journey through some of the most spectacular ones.
Grasberg Mine (West Papua, Indonesia)
If we travel to Asia, in West Papua (Indonesia) we find an impressive mine with a concession area of more than two thousand square kilometers, which is about the total surface area of Lima, Peru. However, the pit areas reach about a hundred square kilometers.
This mine was discovered in 1988 and it is still one of the largest mines on the planet today –according to Forbes– that produced 83.9 tons of gold in 2018. Moreover, it is the second largest copper mine in the world, producing 750,000 tons per year. It is made up of a large open-pit mine –with a crater that is more than a kilometer and a half wide at the surface–, an underground mine and four concentrators.
Mponeng Mine (Johannesburg, South Africa)
In Africa you will find around one-third of the world’s mineral reserves. This continent is considered to be «the world’s big mine». For example, more than 40 percent of gold, 55 percent of diamonds, 66 percent of cobalt and more than 80 percent of platinum are hidden underground in Africa.
Speaking of gold, the Mponeng Mine –located southeast of Johannesburg– is the deepest mine in the world, where gold has been extracted since 1886. Its current depth reaches four thousand two hundred meters. Every day, more than four thousand miners descend where temperatures are around sixty degrees centigrade and a ninety-five percent humidity level. The descent can take ninety minutes and the maximum speed of the lift is 64.3 kilometers per hour.
Bingham Canyon Mine (Utah, United States)
The copper mine at Bingham Canyon, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, can’t be left out when talking about mines of great dimensions. Property of Rio Tinto Group and operated by its subsidiary Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation, it is one of the oldest active mines in the United States.
It’s been in production since 1906 and has led to the creation of a well that is almost one kilometer deep, more than four kilometers wide and covers 770 hectares of land. In 1966 it was declared a national historical monument in the US. It’s an open-pit mine and has the honor of being the largest man-made excavation on earth.
Diavik Mine (Canada)
The diamond mine of Diavik –producing more than eight million carats per year– is one of the most spectacular mines on the planet. It’s known for its location, on an island in the middle of Lac de Gras, a little more than two hundred kilometers from the Arctic Circle – a completely remote location in the middle of an ice desert. It’s open-pit mine in the region of Slave in the northern Canada and reaches two hundred meters deep.
This enclave is accessible by road only two months out of the year. The journey there goes through frozen lakes and extends three hundred and sixty-seven kilometers to the north of Yellowknife. Apart from these two months, the mine can only be reached by air.
Mirny Mine (Siberia, Russia)
We’ll end our journey in East Siberia, Russia, to take a look at this old diamond mine. It’s inactive, but impressive nonetheless. It’s the second largest man-made excavation, right after the Bingham Mine.
It’s 525 meters deep and has a diameter of over 1,200 meters – a crater so gigantic that helicopters are prohibited from going over it, due to the strong air currents that gust towards the interior of the mine, causing accidents.
NEW EDITION OF THE MINE VENTILATION COURSE AT AYMA | FEBRUARY 2020
AYMA Mining is starting the new edition of its Mine Ventilation Course, which will be from February 10 – 14, 2020 at Edificio Ariete in Polígono Pisa (c/ Innovación, 6-8, 41927 Mairena del Aljarafe).
Since December 13, 2019, registration has been opened for the next course offered at AYMA: Mine ventilation. The objective of this course, which takes place from February 10 – 14, 2020 in Mairena del Aljarafe, Sevilla, is to provide a deeper knowledge of the theory, techniques and processes of underground mine ventilation, applied to hard rock mining.
The Ventilation Course is specifically oriented towards mining engineers, mining technicians, mining engineering students, and in general, professionals with jobs related to ventilation (design, operation).
Classes will be delivered by Dr. Rick Brake –Mine Ventilation Australia (MVA)–, Australian mining engineer with 30 years of experience in both underground and open-pit mines in Australia and North America. Brake’s distinguished career path is ideal for teaching a course such as this. He graduated with honors from the University of Queensland, earned an MBA from the University of Deakin and a Doctorate in Physiology from the University of Curtin. He is a Fellow Member of AusIMM, member of the Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa and a member of the Minerals Industry Consultants Association of Australia.
In addition, he was the Ventilation Superintendent of four underground mines of Mount Isa in the mid 80’s. In 1999 he created his own consulting company, Mine Ventilation Australia, specializing in areas related to interior ventilation, mine cooling, heat stress and evacuation and entrapment. His company has served as a consultancy for numerous underground mines in Australia, China, Southeast Asia and Africa. He has a long, reputable and demonstrated experience with numerous courses and seminars about mine ventilation, evacuation-entrapment and heat stress, and he has published more than 30 technical articles on these subjects. In 2017 he received the Howard Hartman award, one of the most important awards worldwide on the subject of mine ventilation, and was the first non-North American to receive it.
If you would like to take part in this course, don’t wait for too long because there are only eight places left.
Information about the course
Location. Edificio Ariete, C/ Innovación, 6-8, Polígono PISA 41927 Mairena del Aljarafe, Sevilla.
Duration. The course consists of 40 class hours, and is held Monday to Friday. The timetable is from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with coffee and lunch breaks.
ï Start: 8:00 a.m.
ï Coffee break: 10:30 – 11:00 a.m.
ï Lunch: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
ï End: 5:00 p.m.
Materials. A hard copy of all course content is provided.
Computer resources. Each participant will be given a laptop with Windows XP or later versions, with EXCEL, WORD and ACROBAT READER. The computer will have a free USB port.
Additional information. The cost of the course includes breakfast and lunch.
Accommodation will be at the expense of the participant. There is a hotel (GIT VIA Mairena), which is a15-20-minute walk from the course location. Connections to Seville: Metro stop –CAVALERI- is 15 minutes away on foot. Parking is available in the vicinity of the building where the course will take place.
December 13, 2019: Registration opened
January 15, 2020: Early registration deadline
February 3, 2020: Registration deadline
Courses at Ayma
Training courses for mining professionals are among the many services and activities offered at Ayma Mining Solutions. These courses are oriented towards experienced professionals who are looking to take their careers to the next level. We train industry leaders.
Want to take a step in that direction?
If you would like more information about the course and its content, please contact Bárbara Gómez Delgado, AYMA Mining Solutions, at (+34) 659 14 23 01, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Ayma Mining Solutions, we help you go beyond your limits.
THE BRIEFCASE OF MINERAL APPLICATIONS
How much do you know about minerals? Maybe not a lot, or perhaps you do. Would you like to have learned more about them in elementary school? We know the answer: of course we would have! That’s why we are excited to present to you The Briefcase of Mineral Applications, a didactic mining briefcase for educational use in schools. Sounds great, right? Well, stay with us because we’re going to explain what it’s all about in this article.
For about a decade, every two weeks, the Museo Geominero has loaned schools a type of didactic kit so students could identify and touch common minerals. Ithas proven to be a very positive experience that has evolved into this very briefcase of mineral applications.
This project is based on theoretical and practical content, with both a physical and virtual briefcase. Everything is related to the applications of minerals and the consequences of their daily use as well as the mining process. All content is transmitted through a disruptive technology –the briefcase– and it has been shown in different parts of Europe through educational workshops and presented at universities and research centers.
The briefcases contain a set of minerals, tools for their identification, a set of products manufactured with the minerals, toys and puzzles for learning about their properties, places of production, application, etc., maps and other complimentary materials and a user manual.
Some of the topics covered include gold, cobalt, tin, platinum, minerals used in mobile phones, secondary raw materials and, of course, minerals that are used on a daily basis. Materials in 3D are used with the main objective of extending the reach of mining in these fields:
- Audience, 18 years old and under.
- End users: science museums, academic centers.
- Minerals, with new briefcases about minerals mined by new partners.
- Geographic, covering Slovakia and Portugal.
- Content, covering topics like exploration and the closing of mines.
And if that is not enough, it also includes plenty of digital content, such as the following:
- 3Briefcase Immersive Web Authoring Tool: interface web that will allow the creation of immersive interactive experiences without programming, by choosing options from the menu, being able to input 360 videos, audios, and external 3D models.
- 3DBriefcase Immersive Player: a 3D game, which includes multimedia content like immersive experiences, 360º videos, images, audio.
- Augmented Reality content in a digital book format.
- The briefcases will come with mobile phone kits + glasses. Glasses made from recycled cardboard will also be used to hold the phone that will be used during the workshops.
You don’t love it? Get a sample of what we do.
10-YEAR FORECAST FOR ANDALUSIAN MINING
The Andalusian mining sector has an annual turnover of 2,200 million euros and provides around 40,000 jobs. It also represents 40 percent of mining at a national level, positive data that has lead mining companies to ask for government help in speeding up processes. As a result, the Government of Andalusia has promised to create the position, project manager.
The project managers will meet with the Governing Council every two months, distributed in eleven teams, and will analyze and streamline some forty or fifty strategic projects for the Andalusian Government.
If the administrative processes accelerate, the main multinational mining companies that plan on investing in the Community will be able to duplicate current revenue of open mines in Andalusia. This is how it was communicated by the mining sector in the 2019 edition of the Mining and Minerals Hall (MMH) celebrated in Seville.
Andalusia currently has five active mining sites, namely: Cobre Las Cruces mine in Seville, and Aguas Teñidas, Sotiel, Magdalena, and Proyecto Riotinto mines in Huelva. On top of these, there are projects in advanced stages, such as Minas de Alquife in Granada, and Minera Los Frailes (Aznalcóllar) in Sevilla, as well as new projects in the mines San Telmo, Las Zarzas and Tharsis in Huelva, among others.
It is important to remember that since 2012, the Government of Andalusia has granted more than 1,140 mining rights occupying an area of 730,000 hectares, managed by leading companies, such as Mubadala-Trafigura, First Quantum, Grupo México and Kimberly Diamonds, among others, according to sources from The Economist.
Mining sector revenue
It is evident that the mining sector has made a strong comeback in the region of Andalusia, where more than 3,000 million euros have been invested in the last decade. In 2017 Andalusia was the leading autonomous region in production value, with more than 1,308 million euros, which is almost 40 percent of the total national, according to the latest Mining Statistics of Spain.
Andalusia is a leader in metals, with more than 1,070 million euros (91 percent of national) and in aggregates, with 190 million euros (23 percent of national). At a national level, it is also the leader in production of copper, sea salt, gypsum and marble. Regarding exports, the mining industry has grown 187 percent in the last decade, which has almost tripled foreign revenue to up to 5,697 million euros in 2018.
In 2019 it is estimated that in Andalusia around 25 million tons will be processed (17 million in 2018), and turnover is estimated to be around 1,900 million euros, a figure that could go up to 2,200 million if current projects become operational.
It is important to note that this sector provides direct jobs to 11,000 people in the region of Andalusia, and in 2019 it will generate up to 45,000 indirect and induced jobs with pending projects. This is important data, but it only shows the tip of the iceberg, since experts assure that existing mineral resources in the region have tripled what was expected just a few years ago. Activity is assured, at least for the next two decades.
Media interest is mainly owed to what is called the Iberian Pyrite Belt, a geographical area 250 kilometers long and 50 wide that stretches from Cordoba to Huelva and passes through Seville. This seems to be the area that could hold minerals of importance, both in quality and quantity.
REPROCESSING MINE TAILINGS TO OBTAIN RAW MATERIALS
Ennomotive, the leading platform in open innovation for challenges in the world of engineering, has launched a competition to find new ways to eliminate impurities in mine tailings and to obtain raw materials from them that can be used to produce different types of glass.
The competition is online and open to any professional, student or schools from all types of industries to propose a solution to this great challenge. Ennomotive is offering a total of fifteen thousand euros in awards to be shared among the best proposed solutions in the competition.
This online competition is open worldwide to any professional, student and schools of different industries or with a technical background or to anyone who wants to propose a solution for this challenge.
Ennomotive is offering 15,000 € in prizes that will be shared among the best ideas for this competition. Those who are interested in participating can register on www.ennomotive.com and present their solutions before the 7th of October.
During mining operations, metallic ores and other inert materials are extracted from the ground and are usually stored in tailings dams. These waste materials (tailings) have a different granulometry and are mainly composed of silica and small amounts of other materials.
Silica can be used to produce different types of glass, such as flat glass, bottles and others that require different compositions and prices. However, materials found in tailings dams require reprocessing to eliminate impurities at a reasonable cost.
MMH, THE MINING EVENT OF THE 21ST CENTURY
The third edition of Mining and Minerals Hall (MMH) will be celebrated at the Seville Conference and Exhibition Hall (Fibes) from the 15th to the 17th of October, 2019. Once again the mining industry on a global level will come together, making it the biggest event of this type in Europe. An excellent opportunity for networking, sharing experience and discussing the latest advances in mining, all this driven by innovation, sustainability and the progress of society.
«An event like MMH reaching its third edition reaffirms the importance of mining as a driver of economic growth, and positions it as a strategic sector that generates employment and wealth », explains Javier Targhetta, commissioner of Mining and Minerals Hall (MMH).
«This third edition revolves around technological trends in mining. Human beings have been developing mining activity for centuries, through which they have improved their techniques and increased their efficiency and their sustainability. Far behind is the image associated with an industry of little respect. Extraction companies and their partners make large investments in improving all processes, with the objective of achieving a mining that is fully integrated with the environment and into society, without leaving research aside to achieve advances in new niches like underwater and space mining», says Targhetta.
For any country that has these types of resources, the fact that mining is a motor of strategic development is clear. In Spain, more specifically, the value of mining production is close to 3,000 million euros and generates around 100,000 direct jobs in some 2,900 mines. On the other hand, in Europe, without counting fossils minerals, the total production reaches 225 million tons. Therefore, mining plays a prominent role on our continent.
One of the main objectives of MMH is to reflect on the importance this sector has on the economy, but another is for society to know the actual reality of mining, a sector that is committed to sustainability and to innovation. In this aspect, relationships among business, government offices and universities are crucial, and the Mining and Minerals Hall is the ideal place to build these relationships.
MMH, a multidisciplinary program
More than seventy speakers will come together in the 3rd edition of the MMH. The scheduled program for this new edition presents a markedly interdisciplinary nature, which brings together an extensive variety of topics and points of views about various aspects of the sector.
Mining Sustainability, a sector that is absolutely respectful towards the environment in which it is working, will carry a lot of weight in the conference, with round tables like Competitiveness, sustainability and safety of energetic supply for the mining and industry, which will have José Luis del Valle Doblado, in his double position as president of the Scientific Committee of MMH and president of LAR ESPAÑA and WiZink; Opportunities of circular economy for the mining industry, lead by Vicente Gutiérrez Peinador, general director of CONFEDEM, and Social license to operate: management of the mining industry and its relationship with society, with Luis Montoto Rojo, director of communication of the Treasury, Industry and Energy Department of the Government of Andalusia, as moderator.
There will also be a space for analyzing the sector’s current situation, with round tables like Current situation, threats and opportunities for metallic mining, with Javier Targhetta as moderator; Mining policies and investments, with Antonio García Muñoz, managing partner of the area of the Mining Sector of the firm Lener, as presenter, and Biodiversity management in the extractive industry, moderated by Pilar Gegúndez Cámara, from Lafarge Holcim Spain.
A space can’t be left out for studying and analyzing which future prospects could be thrown upon the mining sector, with round tables like Challenges and opportunities for the sector of industrial rocks and minerals, with Aniceto Zaragoza Ramírez, general director of OFICEMEN, as moderator, and Innovation and development in the mining industry. Mining with a future, with moderator José Manuel Sánchez Blanes, president of EPIROC.
PROMOTING THE REOPENING OF MINES
We need mines. A statement that is just as powerful as it is accurate. For a country to advance, its mines and their operations –properly legislated– are vital. Why? Basically, the use of minerals in industries is necessary for the manufacturing of consumer goods, something that directly influences the wealth and well-being of a society. Along these lines, we are going to tackle a specific issue: the reopening of mines and the possible promotion of doing so.
In a country like Spain, the consequences of not having any mines would be terrible. Especially for the economy. In this day and age, society lacks information and communication about mining. It is important to explain how mineral reserves have innumerable benefits for a nation, whether from an economic or social point of view.
For example, buildings and streets are constructed with industrial materials. Streets and electrical wiring would not be possible without mineral resources. Sectors like agriculture and farming need these resources that come from sulfates, phosphates, kaolin and carbonates for fertilizers, which provide nutrients for plant growth. Practically all areas benefit from mining.
One of the main problems found in the mining industry is regarding the environment. We must keep in mind that in the majority of mines and quarries where there are minerals to be extracted, work can be done without seriously interfering with human activity, heritage or with nature.
Revision of mining environmental liabilities
In Andalusia, an inventory of environmental liabilities is being conducted –dumps, abandoned ponds and mine drainage– of the three thousand seven hundred mines that are in its geographical area. This job –with tender offer of one and a half million euros– has an established deadline of four years. The objective is to know exactly what the recuperation tasks of each mine are to regain investor confidence. Within this project, an analysis of three hundred water samples and eight hundred ground samples is expected. Efforts that are much applauded by companies in the mining sector.
In the last two decades of the past century there have been many companies interested in reopening abandoned mines –such as those of Riotinto and Aznalcóllar–, but more than mining projects, they should make plans to restore the environment. At least a dozen companies have come to Andalusia –interested in mining– and have refrained from launching projects due to this uncertainty.
What we can say is that Andalusia is carrying out a mining desk study and thanks to that, the regional government predicted a fifteen percent increase for the provisional list of mines –3,131 mines– leaving in the end up to three thousand six hundred mines. Currently, there are three big mines that are active: Aguas Teñidas and Riotinto (Huelva) and Cobre Las Cruces (Seville), and at certain times of the reopening process are Aznalcóllar (Seville) and Alquife (Granada).
WHERE ARE THE MAJOR MINES IN ANDALUSIA?
The Andalusian mining sector has been continually growing in recent years. The reactivation of some areas, the increase in demand for minerals like iron, and multinational investments in some projects have helped create a comprehensive Andalusian mining map.
Andalusian mining map
What is true is that the western part of Andalusia carries the weight of mining activity, especially the province of Huelva. So let‘s start there.
In the municipal territory of Almonaster la Real, in the northern area, MATSA – Aguas Teñidas mine, a Spanish mining company, carries out modern and sustainable mining for the Aguas Teñidas mine. The mine‘s production consists mainly of copper, zinc and lead, which are later commercialized from the ports of Huelva and Algeciras. AYMA completed a successful consulting project with this firm to create a geophysics campaign using deep seismic methods.
The next strong geographical area is also the most well-known for the mining community: the mines of Riotinto. Located in the mining area of Riotinto, southeast of the Sierra Morena, this mine is declared an Asset of Cultural and Historical Interest by the Government of Andalusia. This mine‘s principle activities are the extraction, purification and transportation of iron, copper and sulfur, operating with two systems of mining: open-pit and underground.
Another one of the major mine, which stands out for its production and its 21st-century mining practices – meaning sustainable, safe and responsible towards the environment – is Cobre Las Cruces. An open-pit mining complex that extracts copper using hydrometallurgical treatment. The mine is located between the municipalities of Gerena, Guillena and Salteras, in Sevilla, covering an area of 946 hectares. It produces 72,000 tons of copper per year, which is 25 percent of national production. Las Cruces has taken action to repopulate the area and has driven the economy of nearby communities as part of their company mission.
Another mine located in the province of Seville, in the re-opened mining complex of Aznalcollar, operates the Frailesmine. This mining company is one of the most important at an international level with a proven financial and technical solidity, in addition to its self-commitment to the environment. In fact, one of the first measures the mine took was to turn its open-pit mine into one that is completely underground.
Let‘s go back to Huelva to talk about Atlantic Copper, one of the top companies in Huelva. Atlantic Cooper employs some 1,000 people and it produces and refines copper. This company, founded in 1970, is closely tied to the history and socioeconomic development of Huelva, as they were pioneers of mining in Andalusia.
In addition to those on the main map, there are other mines that, although smaller, make an interesting contribution to Andalusian mining. Such is the case of Macael, in Almeria, which produces marble and ornamental rocks, and Yesos Almeria, whose extraction is carried out in the caves of Sorbas and is managed by French capital.
Without a doubt, mining plays a major part in Andalusian economy and production. The community holds top positions at a national level and practices avant-garde mining based on sustainability. Because when something is necessary, the best thing to do is to do your best.
MIREU, THE NETWORK OF MINING REGIONS ACROSS EUROPE
The European Union is the number one consumer in the world of raw materials and metallurgies today, and the demand is expected to continue to increase in the future. Because of this, MIREU, the EU project that seeks to improve the supply of raw materials within its territory, has become necessary.
The MIREU project began in January of 2018 with the aim of “establishing a network of mining and metallurgy regions across Europe that will help the regions to improve the conditions for sustainable access and supply of raw materials to the EU”, as the project team explain, along with the Regional Government of Andalusia, whose Department of Employment, Industry and Commerce is participating in this initiative. It will help facilitate the sharing of knowledge among all interested parties within the regions, such as government agencies, political and administrative bodies, development agencies, mining companies, non-governmental organizations, research centers, innovation and development, the educational and technical training system and the financial system, as well as society in general.
The idea is to advance together through shared knowledge, which includes geographical and economic characteristics specific to each region, their cultural and language diversities and historical developments. The network will also learn from the experience of other regions of the world.
The project’s kick-off meeting took place at the Geological Survey of Finlandheadquarters in Espoo, and was attended by the General Directorate of Industries, Energy and Mines. During the meeting, they “addressed the start of different work packages related to the interested agencies and parties of mining in Andalusia, the social acceptance of mining activity, education, training and diffusion of mining values and the Social License to Operate necessary for adequate implementation of an activity”, as explained in the letter, which describes the MIREU project as “an opportunity for those who play a role in mining activity in Andalusia, coordinated by the Mining Administration, to create a network where they can stay in contact and communicate and can serve as an exchange platform for sharing good practices or overcoming difficult barriers for business activities”.
DILUTION, AN UNPREDICTABLE FACTOR
In the mining sector, dilution is defined as “all external material with grades lower than the cut-off grade that is inevitably mined with the extracted mineral.” In other words, it is the amount of waste material or below cut-off grade material that is mixed with the mineral during the stages of mining.
Dilution poses a major challenge in the fundamental steps of a mining project: planning. Even though many factors are predictable and are quantified and analyzed for planning before beginning the mining process, we are still inevitably faced with uncertainties only resolved after doing the job. Among them is the case we currently have at hand.
Despite the uncertainties, a rough estimate of waste material in the extracted mineral is necessary. According to the articleby Adén Muñoz, mining supervisor of AYMA Mining Solutions, and Benjamín Cebrián, of Blast-Consult, “it is our responsibility to design, control and to measure the dilution that results in what we do and how we operate”. In other words, the dilution present in minerals is a determining factor for mining operations and extracting processes.
On the other hand, there are various types of dilution that require different design and control processes. According to the abovementioned article, geological dilution“is produced by inaccuracies in the delineation stages of the resource model –waste contact– mineral, mineral transitions, etc. Geological dilution could comprise up to a third of total dilution”. Internal dilution“cannot be separated due to its size and can occur in situations where the mining method dictates a minimum width of extraction –in this sense, internal dilution can be planned; either in relation to the size of the block of the model –internal dilution to the block”. Lastly, external dilution “is unplanned and refers to waste material outside the mineral that is mined with the mining block. External dilution can be caused by production errors or from the falling of materials due to planar instabilities or contamination from backfill”.
Dilution, however, beyond the three general categories, is subdivided in more variants that depend on factors like the type of mineral, whether the mine is underground or open-pit, etc., all of which need different measuring, planning and calculating according to the elements that intervene. Apart from the inherent dynamism of dilution, the people in the team, their experience and extraction processes make it possible for each case to have its own equation. One-of-a-kind. Like that small percentage of difference in DNA that makes each person unique.
THE REBIRTH OF MINING IN LATIN AMERICA
After the fall in the price of copper in 2014, mining in Latin American countries went through a rough couple of years with very few hopes for the future. From that year until the beginning of 2017, the falling of prices was constant, especially for copper. Moreover, the few changes that did occur during this time were all going from bad to worse.
However, an international political and economical change in February of 2017 brought a glimpse of hope for the future. These prospects have been alive for over a year and are now a reality. The increase in the demand for raw materials during that year caused prices to increase. The major producers, iron ore in Brazil and copper in Chile, have been responsible for the economic upturn in the region. Peru has also played an important role in the growth of economic activity.
Chile. In 2015, the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco) estimated a series of mining projects valued at 105,000 million dollars until 2023, $80,000 of which corresponded to mining development and copper-related production. Chile’s objective is to go from the 6 million tons of copper produced in 2015 to 8.5 million tons by 2025.
This South American country has various mining projects and strong investments to achieve this objective, although it has faced some obstacles, such as a rise in the cost of resources, especially in the energy sector.
Brazil. Brazil is the largest producer of iron ore and has the largest iron ore mines in the world, which places it as one of the giants in this market, and the aim is to continue growing to convert iron ore into one of its greatest economic resources. The country has over 40,000 million dollars in projects. The Carajás S11D mine in Vale, one of the most important projects since its beginning four years ago with an investment of 19,670 million, was aimed at producing 90 million tons annually when it reached its maximum output in 2018. This objective was achieved a year before expected.
Peru. Peru is earning its place among the biggest mining producers thanks to its diversity of metals extracted, the main element among which is copper. Since 2016, it has kept production at 2.8 million tons, after a major growth from 2013 until that year. Among its most significant projects are Las Bambas, Conga, and Cerro Verde.
These countries are the three leaders in the Latin American mining industry today.
Other projects are emerging at a slower pace. Without a doubt, Latin America has become one of the major focal points of investment and mineral extractionin the world over the last five years. This upturn has brought a highly positive change in the outlook of economic activity in the region, opening doors to new investors and mining companies.
REGISTRATION OPEN FOR MINE VENTILATION COURSE
Training courses for mining professionals are among the many services and activities carried out at Ayma Mining Solutions. These courses are aimed at experienced professionals who are looking to take their careers to the next level. We train industry leaders.
Are you ready to take the next step in your career? Registration for the upcoming course on Mine Ventilation, held at AYMA, begins on April 27th. The objective of this course –taking place from June 18th to 22nd, 2018, in Mairena del Aljarafe, Seville– is to provide in-depth knowledge about the theory, techniques, and processes of interior mine ventilation applied to hard rock mining. This course can also be completed with specialized simulation software, VentSim, in the second semester of the same year.
This course is aimed especially at mining engineers, technical engineers and graduate engineers, and in general, professionals who work in mine ventilation.
The course will be instructed by Rick Brake, an Australian mining engineer with more than 30 years of experience in both underground and open pit operations in Australia and North America. Brake´s CV and career path is highly admirable, and as for AYMA, we believe we couldn´t have found a better instructor for this course. He graduated with honors from the University of Queensland, received an MBA from the University of Deakin, and earned a PhD in physiology from the University of Curtin. He is a Fellow Member of AusIMM, the mine ventilation society of South Africa, and he is a member of the Minerals Industry Consultants Association of Australia.
In addition, he was the Ventilation Superintendent of 4 underground mines in Mount Isa in the mid-1980s. In 1999, he started his own consulting firm, Mine Ventilation Australia, which specialized in areas of mine ventilation and air conditioning, heat stress management, and egress and entrapment. His company provided consulting services for numerous underground mines in Australia, China, Southeast Asia, and Africa. He is a highly reputable instructor with considerable experience and has delivered numerous courses and seminars on mine ventilation, egress and entrapment, and heat stress management, and he has published more than 30 technical articles on these subjects. In 2017, he received the “Howard Hartman” award, one of the most prestigious mining ventilation awards in the world, and was the first non-North American to receive it.
If you are interested in taking part in this course, sign up today as there are only 10 available spots left.
Location: Building Ariete, C/Innovación, 6-8, Industrial Park PISA, 41927 Mairena del Aljarafe, Seville.
Schedule: The course consists of 40 hours of class time. Classes are held from Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 17:00 including coffee and lunch breaks.
- Begins: 8:00 a.m.
- Coffee break: 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
- Lunch: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- Ends: 5:00 p.m.
Materials: You will be given a hard copy of the course content.
Technology: Attendees must bring a laptop with Windows XP or newer with EXCEL, WORD, and ACROBAT READER. The computer should have a free USB port as well.
Fees: The price of the course is either 3,200 € or 2,800€, depending on early registration. The price includes:
- Hard copy of course content.
- Additional materials and printouts generated throughout the course.
- Coffee breaks in the morning sessions.
The registration deadline is June 11th, and early registration must be completed before May 27th.
If you would like more information about the course and its content, please contact Bárbara Gómez Delgado, AYMA Mining Solutions, at (+34) 659 14 23 01, or send an email to email@example.com.
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION, PUBLIC IMAGE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: CURRENT TRENDS IN THE MINING INDUSTRY
These trends are like the wind. It is nothing new, but it decides in which direction the weather vane is pointing. This weather vane is modern mining, or 21st-century mining. The sustainability of our way of life depends greatly on its growth and direction.
What do these industry trends involve?
First of all, digital transformation, a goal set at the beginning of 2017, will help mining businesses achieve measurable results and allow for the optimization of mining operations. Changing and improving the internal processes and the flow of data are necessary for the sustainable future of the industry.
Secondly, it is imperative to invest more time, money, and effort in renewable energy research. Mining companies, such as AYMA, who already practice 21st-century mining and promote environmental responsibility, operations optimization, work safety, and job creation, must now redirect all of these efforts toward energy efficiency so as not to deplete the planet´s reserves or alter its ecosystems. Engineering and mining are fundamental for modern society and play an important and fundamental role in the fight against global warming.
Another important goal for mining engineering, especially when it comes to achieving any other goal, is improving its public image, not only among consumers, but also among other industries and government agencies. Despite its undeniable contribution to the world economy, the mining industry still carries stigmas associated with topics such as environmental damage, destruction of neighborhoods, alteration of communities, etc. Actions are currently being taken to change its public perception.
Although these are the principle trends in mining, they are not the only ones at play. Other aspects such as innovation are necessary in order to carry out these transformations, to create jobs in local communities, improve water management, and realign directories, which are all crucial for transitioning into the new future of mining. In addition, digitalization and innovation will serve to attract new talent.
The good news is that the mining industry, which is fundamental for industry and our modern way of life, is making an effort to create a better future for everyone, and the winds of sustainability and digitalization are pointing us towards a new era of mining.
ENERGY TRANSITION (2): THE TSUNAMI IS APPROACHING
In the last entry about the fascinating topic of the future of renewable energy, we discussed energy transition. But what do experts on the subject say? At the roundtable that took place at the XIV International Conference on Energy and Mineral Resources in Seville in 2018 –whose topic was energy transition and whose chairman wasFrancisco Silva Castañofrom Iberdrola España– a series of goals was established, along with a way to achieve them starting from our current situation and current use of renewable and non-renewable energies.
The goal´s deadline is the year 2050.
By then, energy transition will have had to reach total decarbonization, using only renewable resources. In Spain´s case, our high percentage of use of this type of energy source gives us a strong base for achieving this objective. However, in the past few years we have seen a degree of inertia in its evolution due to a lack of investment, and it has also been affected by the drought. Nevertheless, according to Silva Castaño, “through a strong energy-saving pact, our country still has time to achieve a genuine long-term energy reform that establishes the key points of this great transition towards decarbonization, in a way that is most favorable and least costly for consumers and producers”. He also adds that “the technical, industrial, financial, economic, environmental, and societal implications to this ambitious and highly complex challenge are huge, and carrying out this reform correctly will depend on the well-being and progress of Europe as a whole throughout many decades”.
The necessary transition towards sustainability
To achieve these objectives, “charges not related to energy supply and that exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the system must be taken off the electricity bill in order to reduce final costs for consumers”, in addition to other aspects. The Spanish electricity system has the advantage of being “one of the least consolidated and oligopolistic in Europe”, where the costs of decarbonization are shared with other energy industries, such as oil and natural gas. When facing problems that arise, we still find obstacles that include legal, regulatory, and retributive uncertainties in the electricity system, which makes it difficult to calculate its exact economic impact.
Moreover, the transition to a clean and competitive energy system poses a series of challenges, such as achieving a viable and careful plan for the investment in renewable energy, develop a payment mechanism with a capacity to pay back firm and flexible power availability, nuclear power generation that is free of emissions and that guarantees security of supply, adapt the distribution networks to this new context and, of course, clean up electricity bills and distribute renewable energy financing to all energy systems.
It seems the majority of the responsibility of energy transition falls upon the energy sector, but it´s not the only one to whom it applies. The energy sector as a whole –including oil and natural gas–, the whole Spanish industry, economy and society as a consumer must take on this challenge. The consequences of not doing so are made clear by the representative from Iberdrola: “If we correctly take advantage of this energy tsunami that is heading our way, Spain will make a giant leap towards progress in all fields. If we aren´t capable of adapting, the shock will be both brutal and destructive for several generations to come”.
ENERGY TRANSITION (1), A LONG WAY TO GO
For those of us who work in the engineering, mining, energy, oil industries, etc., the term energy transition is as for Millennials the term “LOL” (a modern expression used by those who fall in the ages of middle school graduates to those who are not yet parents of teenagers). In other words, it is something we come across every day. For those who are not familiar with the term, in a nutshell, it means achieving a sustainable economy based on the use of renewable energy.
While the facts may be frustrating, what is true is that forms of renewable energy are out there. For some, efficiency has been more than proven, and for others, research continues to open new horizons to create a better future for our planet. However, obstacles due to economic interestsstand in the way. Just imagine what would happen to the world economy if all petrol cars were to disappear suddenly. It would be as if all but one level of the ecological pyramid were to disappear. Humans have notoriously created an artificial ecosystem with the same elements found in nature, the only difference is that ours doesn´t have a sustainable nature.
This is precisely the struggle for energy transition. In fact, it was one of the main topics at the XIV International Conference on Energy and Mineral Resources that took place in Seville during the second week of April, 2018. Its slogan was Sustaining the future, which clearly alludes to the fundamental need for a future driven by energy resources that respect the environment. It is a much more concrete form of economy than the abstract idea of money:
If we run out of resources, the economy will collapse.
The main sources of energy we are all familiar with are oil, biomass (like biogas and natural gas), hydroelectric and solar (thermal and photovoltaic), which are already used. However, there are other lesser-known sources that could provide interesting solutions to the problem of resources if the necessary attention is given to them. This is the case of geothermal power, one of the most promising areas of research and one which we have discussed in a previous article.
But the solution doesn´t only lie in the resources themselves. If we want a sustainable economy from the use of these resources, their optimization and profitability means designing infrastructures that are well thought out for their use. For example, improving the insulation of buildings combined with other intelligent air conditioning systems that work at times when the cost of electricity is lower. Another option to save energy would be to integrate daylighting in the construction of buildings.
The ultimate goal of energy transition is to achieve the formula for no longer using fossil resources without that having repercussions on the sustainability of the economy. It couldn´t be done any other way, not even by overlooking economic interests.
If we didn´t want this ecosystem, we should´ve accepted the one we were given.
In the next entries of the Ayma Blog, we will go further in depth regarding energy transition and we´ll talk about the ideas that were shared at the conference in Seville.
GEOTHERMAL, THE FUTURE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY?
Whether we can sustain our way of life, especially with regard to technology, will depend on if we are able to develop and implement the use of renewable energy into our daily lives, from industrial processes to electricity at home. The use of renewable energy is the future, which is why it is the main topic to be addressed in April at the XIV International Conference on Energy and Mineral Resources, in which AYMA is a top-level participant.
In fact, this year´s theme is Sustaining the future.
Basically, geothermal energy is what causes geysers and many volcanic eruptions. It is a type of energy with an incredible potential that respects the environment and one that is, most importantly, renewable.
In addition to renewable energies, the conference will present a subtopic to emphasize geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is obtained using the natural heat produced by the earth´s core that reaches the outer layers of rock through the conduction and convection of rock and fluids. This energy is considered clean and highly efficient. In Spain, geothermal energy is something that still must be addressed, whereas in other countries it has been implemented and well-known for a long time, mainly in Finland, the United States, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and of course, in the country where its use was first pioneered, Sweden, where it was the solution for the oil crisis of 1979.
Nevertheless, even though we have a long way to go in our country, energy projects that focus on this type of energy are already underway. Such is the case for the stationPacífico in the Metro de Madrid, the first in the entire underground system that is capable of generating its own energy for air conditioning through a geothermal system.
This could allow them to save energy by up to 75 percent and cut carbon dioxide emissions by one half.
Achieving the use of this energy will open a new path that will benefit everyone and will create new trends in the design of facilities that need an energy supply. Certain problems arise when it comes to the implementation of geothermal energy since it also has its disadvantages, especially concerning extraction processes. Such disadvantages include thermal contamination, the deterioration of landscapes, or the fact that it is only found in certain areas and it cannot be transported. These aspects will be addressed in what is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting presentations at the conference.
WHAT WE THOUGHT ABOUT MINES
When we talk about 21st-century mining, we are referring to a way of promoting activities that seek to detach mining from the negative image of this industry, which has traditionally been associated with the exploitation of the land and the workers, such as its reputation in the Far East, where the value on gold and diamonds was placed above the workers lives, which were sold to this business. With respect to nature, an environment existed where carbon dioxide wasn´t part of the subject matter in schools.
Mining broke that stigma a long time ago.
At least it has done so internally, and there is a list of short-term objectives for its public image, sustained in four pillars –respect for the environment, technological innovation, work safety, and social responsibility. The achievement of this list is what we understand as 21st-century mining.
Nowadays, the sector as a whole shares a profound consciousness of the importance of interiorizing these values. This consciousness comes from the companies following this path to the government, which will not grant a permit unless they are convinced of strict compliance with the regulations with regard to these four pillars. In fact, this was a hot topic at the Metallic Mining Hall, celebrated in Seville in October of 2017.
We are at a perfect moment for demonstrating this commitment, with the reactivation of old mines in Spain, mainly in Andalusia, caused primarily by this change in attitude. In his article The remaining course in 21st-Century Mining, Jose Luis Bionilla discusses the stigma of mining, referring to its conceptualization in textbooks, where descriptions given to students appear phrases such as “the air is polluted by dust and is deposited in plants and asphyxiates them”, “rivers are contaminated, as water is used to clean the minerals that are extracted”, “through the extraction of minerals leaves landscapes desolate, without living resources”, “dangers for miners include collapse of the mine, exposure to explosive gases, and lung diseases”. They are outdated messages with an archaic tone. It would be like defining today´s public transport as wooden stagecoaches pulled by horses that cannot reach more than 70 kilometers per hour, and with the possibly of being attacked by the Dalton brothers.
Mining of this century is dedicated to the re-education of the population about the mining sector.
Make everyone fundamentally aware that there are safe working conditions and respect for the environment. Currently, in fact, once mining activity has finished, the land is reconstructed, returning plants back into the condition they were found before the process began. One case about environmental consciousness in Spain that stands out is from the company, Berkeley, whose project in Salamanca backed by the European Union consideres supporting the supply of clean energy and the planting of 30.000 oak trees in the area. Cobre Las Crucesis also one of the pioneering mines in Mining in the 21stCentry.
Among the plans to carry out the re-education about mines are visits to the actual mining facilities in order to inform the public about the history of this industry. In Andalusia, for example, the Mining Park that manages Foundation Rio Tintohas a Mining Museum and offers a tour through fabulous landscapes on an old train that was used in the past to transport minerals to the port of Huelva. In addition, there are visits to mining areas that are no longer active.
This plan for re-education is, without a doubt, a great initiative for teaching the public and for mining to be portrayed as it should be to society.