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
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.
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).
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE FUTURE OF MINING?
Looking back, mining has a glorious past. What about the future? «We are not going to have enough workers for what’s ahead in the mining industry». This was said by Priscila Moreno, director of Aminer (Association of Research, Extraction, Metallurgical Transformation, Auxiliary and Service Businesses), in an interview with ABC. With this statement in mind, we would like to discuss the future of the mining sector in greater detail in this article.
The main question is the following:is there a future for mining? The answer is clear: without a doubt, there is. It is a sector that brings in investments and helps citizens in small towns that without mines would have disappeared. Job creation is strong and the rehabilitation of areas affected by previous mining activity is essential for environmental awareness and protecting nature.
Job creation in the mining sector
Regarding employment, Priscila Moreno is certain that workers are needed. A very strong mining sector is yet to come in which borers, welders and mine operators, among other job positions, will be in demand. Currently in Andalusia there are eleven thousand direct job positions related with the sector, but that is growing and professional training needs increasing.
The data speaks for itself. In Peru, for example, at the end of 2018 the Ministry of Energy and Mines explained that investments in the mining sector have increased by twenty percent, reaching over five billion dollars. This number is expected to increase by forty percent and reach six and a half billion in 2021, taking into account current and future projects. To lead all of this, innovation is essential.
Innovation in mining of the future
Innovation in mining is synonymous with technology. We mean intelligent systems for production processes. From the extraction of minerals to manufacturing cathodes. The objective is none other than increasing productivity and reducing risk for workers, thanks to the use of telerobotic devices. What innovations are being made in the sector?
- Automated machines and by remote control. Tools that allow for working at a distance and in a completely safe way.
- Predictive analysis and data integration. Mines connected to digital systems that collect information of interest. Vulnerabilities and dangers can be foreseen and improvements studied.
- Clothing technology. Clothing that can measure the level of fatigue or stress of workers.
- Virtual reality for training. Training on innovative tools and their correct use before actually stepping onto the real terrain.
- Automation in mining. Automated equipment to reduce operating costs and accidents in dangerous environments.
At AYMA we opt for this mining of the future and we have a team of experts to offer consulting services for anything you need.
WE ARE JOINING AMINER TO CONTINUE WORKING FOR ANDALUSIAN MINING
In May of 2019 the general assembly Aminer was held at Iturriheadquarters in Sevilla. Aminer is the Association of Research, Extraction, Mining-Metallurgy Transforming, Auxiliary and Service Companies that represent the biggest mining companies in Andalusia. This non-profit company was founded twenty years ago and continues fighting on the frontline for legislation to promote the sector.
Aminer is part of the team driving the Andalusia Mining Strategy 2020. With this it seeks to capitalize on Andalusian mining, creating job positions and improving its competitiveness among other niches in the market. In addition, it wants to emphasizeAndalusian mining heritage for its tourism and economic appeal.
In this IX general assembly, Priscila Moreno, manager of Aminer, pointed out all of last year‘s good actions and encouraged all partners to continue fighting with the nonconformist and ambitious spirit that characterizes the association. Always wanting to go further, she added.
The data reflects this. Production of the mining sector in our community went above 15 million tons of mineral processed and provides direct jobs to more than eleven thousand people. Exports and foreign investment are key in understanding the exponential growth in our industry. These two variables have marked historic peaks. In the last ten years 1.900 million Euros have been earmarked and another 250 million are expected.
With that in mind, we have decided to now join Aminer in its ninth general assembly. Another four partners are also joining, such as Tharsis Mining & Metallugy, ERM, IDOM and Iturri. From here we would like to congratulate all of them on the work they do for this sector. Thank you to the association for having us.
We began with great enthusiasm and we will continue to work hand in hand to make Andalusian mining a national leader.
GUIDE TO SUSTAINABLE AND RESPONSIBLE MINING
Mining that is considered to be optimal can’t just stop at evaluating its economic benefits only. Nowadays, other factors must be considered in order to say that a mining project was an interdisciplinary success when it comes to the environment and extraction. These are the environmental and social aspects. Without joining and incorporating all these factors into a project, mining cannot be carried out responsibly and efficiently.
Caring for the environment
Some alterations to a landscape are inevitable where mining activity is carried out. This is why when the activity is finished, it is crucial to start a rehabilitation process. Currently, highly developed techniques are well-known by many professionals. These techniques are prescribed by law, which is why they need to be integrated into the project from the planning stages. Repopulation of vegetation and improvement of urban construction are some of the points to consider. If the land can be left better than how we found it, then that means a huge success for the landscape.
The same modification of the landscape affects the inhabitants of a geographic area. It affects their daily habits, and in some cases, economic livelihood. For this reason, it is necessary to come to a mutual understanding on political, economic, trade union and other issues. Establishing a program that compensates the inconveniencesthat mining can cause is fundamental, so that the finished job serves to improve life socially and guarantees safety for nearby communities. A company’s reputation will depend on whether or not it executes an intelligent social strategy.
Ultimately, sustainable mining seeks to help provide a useful framework for the continuation of resource exploitation for future generations. Only by being responsible with the environment can we begin to talk about the future. In this sustainable development, three factors are integrated in the planning process, and their overlapping results in what we know as sustainability: economic growth, social cohesion and environmental protection.
INFACT, THE FUTURE OF EUROPEAN MINING PASSES THROUGH ANDALUSIA
We’re not exaggerating when we say that the future of mineral exploration in the European Union is emerging in Andalusia.
Why? The reason for this is due to a project developed by the Department of Employment, Enterprise and Commerce of the Government of Andalusia that began in December of 2017: INFACT, a project dedicated to the innovation of technologies related to the area of mineral exploration.
INFACT, as communicated by the government, is «financed in the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation H2020», and, as stated in the communication, it aims at «offering a new approach for mineral resource explorationthat is acceptable to society, respectful towards the environment and technologically advanced, in addition to reevaluating Europe’s mining potential ». These values are all very much present in current mining trends. It’s called mining of the 21stcentury.
The project consists of three main objectives:
- Boost social engagement and local agencies’involvement in projects, providing the criteria for social and environmental integration.
- Development of innovative technologies for mineral exploration.
- Establishment of three reference regions in which technologies and equipment developed in the program can be tested and certified.
Another important factor for the development of INFACT is the reference regions. It is very important to establish facilities and develop teams and technologies in areas that are most representative of the sector and contain the widest range of possible conditions. And this is where Andalusia plays one of its most important roles. Among its mining sites is its southern region, which includes Cobre Las Cruces in Sevilla and Minas de Riotinto in the province of Huelva.
This project is not only beneficial for the future of European mining and the development of mining in Andalusia. We must also consider the benefits that the region’s participation brings to its inhabitants, such as job creation.
More information about INFACT can be found on its project website.
FROM SHOVEL AND PICK TO SOCIALLY, ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMICALLY RESPONSIBLE
Sustainability must come to represent mining just as much as a drill does. At least that is how we see it at AYMA and we are convinced thatsocially responsible mining is the path to take.
From this commitment comes the SAER label (Social, Environmentaland Economic Responsibility) which distinguishes socially, environmentally and economically responsible companies and organizations from all sectors. It is a three-dimensional philosophy that includes social, environmental and economic areas from a perspective of responsibility.
In the case of our company, AYMA, CSR is the area we have created to specialize in Corporate Social Responsibility. The department is integrated among the consulting services we offer and focuses on helping organizations in sustainability management, providing services and solutions that create value and economic, social and environmental benefits through innovation and knowledge.
New technologies have been especially useful in developing mining dedicated to Corporate Social Innovation, thanks to easy access to the information they provide. Corporate Social Innovation is the evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility. That is what the distinguished SAER label provides, allowing a company to capitalize on knowledge gained from practicing CSR to improve the company and its environment.
At AYMA we know that projects and services of the future require consideration of social impact and sustainability from the very beginning. It is the only way to maintain this activity, which nowadays is crucial for the needs of modern society, without the negative impacts on the environment, the economy and on the population itself.
AYMA, SAFETY AT WORK
We continue to open new areas in the field of mining. Not in a literal sense –because after all, opening up new areas is what we do–, but with new services we offer in our mining consultancy. Although sustainability is the big objective in the sector at the moment, we also must point out other very important factors to keep in mind. One of them, which is what we are discussing today, is risk prevention in the workplace.
This area of mining takes center stage among the training and consulting services that AYMA offers. Mining involves risks. We work with explosives, heavy machinery, collapse risk, extreme conditions, etc; therefore, risk prevention training is of vital importance for a mining operator position.
That’s why at AYMA, we consider transversal consulting in risk prevention to be fundamental, as it enables both the employee and the company to perform their roles without risk when possible, or at an acceptable, and more importantly, controlled level of risk. It is not about knowing what safety is, but learning to identify potential risks, as well as how to react in those situations, what to do and why.
A pre-established organization of these elements is just as important as knowing them. It is necessary to create management guidelines of situations using tools like an organizational chart in which members know what their role is, names of coordinators, meetings and simulations, communication channels, etc. Understanding of the law with respect to workplace risk prevention is also equally necessary. We’ve attached the basic legislation at the end of the text.
AYMA, through nearly two decades of experience, has the necessary permits and skills for guaranteed adequate execution of procedures. We have successfully consulted projects across Spain, and now, as a part of TORO, we are taking our services to Latin America.
Better mining is possible. At AYMA we are moving toward that.
LAW 31/1995 ON RISK PREVENTION IN THE WORKPLACE
Article 19: Training of workers
In compliance with the obligation of protection, the employer shall ensure that each worker receives theoretical and practical training that is sufficient and adequate, in preventative matter not only at the moment of recruitment, regardless of the form of contract and its duration, but also whenever changes in the performance of his duties, or new technologies or new work equipments are introduced.
The training must be specifically focused on the job position or function of each worker, adapted to the development of risks and the appearance of new ones, and shall be repeatedly performed if needed.
The training referred to in the preceding paragraph must take place, whenever it is possible, during working hours, otherwise, in other hours deducting the time spent on training from working hours. The training shall be given by the company through its own means or contracted to external services, and its expense may not fall upon the workers in any case.
Article 31: Prevention services
Prevention services shall be able to provide the company with the advice and support it may need taking account of the existing types of risk and in regard to:
Information and training of workers, under the terms and conditions provided in Articles 18 and 19 of this Law.
If the company does not carry out preventative actions with its own resources, the duties in regard to the matters described in this section may only be taken over by an external prevention service. This shall be without prejudice to any other legal or regulatory assignment of competence to other entities or bodies in regard to the matters indicated herein.
GENERAL LAW ON BASIC MINE SAFETY REGULATIONS
ORDER ITC/1316/2008, 7 of May, approving the ITC 02.1.02 «Preventative training for performance of job position ».
Art 7: “…the company shall organize corresponding training to workers who require it, whether due to recent incorporation, or for review or updating knowledge. To do so, the company must possess adequate means, both material and human, being either internal or external”.
Art 8: “The team in charge of training must possess a series of requirements that validates them for the job they shall perform:
- Include persons accredited for the performance of functions of Superior Level PRL, (coordinator functions).
- Its members must possess academic or professional training specific to the subject of mining.
- Possess work experience in the sector of that specific activity.
Art 9: Certification of the training. Workers who have been adequately trained according to the provisions of this ITC, exceeding the levels of knowledge established by training staff, will receive documented accreditation, issued by the company if it used its own means to provide training, or by the entity contracted to do so, in the case of having used external means. This training shall be noted and certified in the professional training portfolio of each worker.
Art 10: Nature of preventative training for the performing of job position. The training regulated by this order is considered to be minimum and, in any case, in accordance with article 19 of the PRL Law, the employer shall guarantee that each worker receive sufficient and adequate theoretical and practical training in the area of prevention.
NEW PROJECTS AND SUSTAINABILITY IN ANDALUSIAN MINING STRATEGY 2020
Andalusia is one of the richest regions on the continent in terms of natural resources. The region takes up practically the entire southern peninsula, which gives it great biological and geological diversity: A range of mineral resources and fossil fuels almost as diverse as its accents. It is also one of the most preserved areas in Europe, which is why it is necessary to create a plan for using this rich area in a way that is “rational, efficient, diverse and within guidelines for sustainable development”, as stated on the Andalusian Mining Website of the Government of Andalusia.
Therefore, the Andalusian government has approved a new mining strategy that will come into effect in 2020, when the current one will have been in place for 10 years. The new plan will focus efforts on supporting projects adapted to current trends in the industry and on a greater development of environmental sustainability in mining operations. In addition, it will focus on Andalusia’s potential, the improvement of public services related to mining, environmental integration and visibility of cultural heritage, and special attention to the health and safety of workers.
The plan also considers measures to encourage the administrative role of autonomous regions in accordance with the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on non-energy mining. The strategy, which will begin with the new decade, lays the foundation for revision, unification and streamlining of processes, in addition to integrating new technologies to reduce response times.
- In Andalusia, mining employs more than 17.000 people.
- It reaches a Gross Value Added (GVA) of 1,423 million Euros, or 9.21 percent of its total industrial value.
- Since 2016, the Government of Andalusia has obtained more than a thousand mining research permits over an area greater than 675,000 hectares.
- At the end of 2015 —latest data—, the Andalusian mining sector had 416 mines in the production phase.
To sum up, the objective of the Andalusian Mining Strategy 2020 is to focus on and promote mining development and the changing industry demands for optimal use of its potential to make it an activity that is sustainable, dynamic and innovative.
A source of employment and wealth for the region with the ability to supply mineral resources on an international level.
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”.
DECEMBER 4, INTERNATIONAL MINING DAY
As such an important profession that has traditionally been associated with risk and sacrifice,mining has to have a day of recognition. This day is December 4, and it was not handpicked like Valentine’s Day or National Empanada Day.
It is on that day for a reason.
December 4 is the Saints’ day of Saint Barbara. It tells the story of Barbara, the daughter of Dioscoro, a religious man with closed-minded beliefs who rejected the human nature of Jesus Christ. Before becoming a saint, she converted to Christianity to rebel against her father. To stop her from doing so, it is said that Dioscoro locked her in a tower from which she finally managed to escape, only to die by the hand of her father who caught her in the act and beheaded her. At that same moment, Dioscoro was struck by a lightning bolt.
It is that lightning strike that connects the history of Saint Barbara to the use of explosives in mining, and it is the reason why miners invoke Saint Barbara before using gunpowder.
The lightning bold at the top of a mountain was like a divine act of vengeance that today serves to protect miners from harm during the use of explosives.
Speaking of mining, the use of explosives, and a history starring Saint Barbara, at AYMA Mining Solutions we can’t miss this opportunity to wish a happy saint’s day to our director, Barbara Gomez Delgado, who has extensive and reputable experience in permits, supply and supervision management, use and storage of explosives in the film industry. At AYMA, we are fully protected without a doubt.
WOMEN IN MINING: KILL THE SUPERWOMAN
Currently,gender equality is one of the most important battles in practically all social environments: work, school, education…even children‘s toys and the use of language. A much-needed demand for equal rights and treatment between women and men has reached the mining world and was the topic of the recent seminar,Women, mining and industry, held on November 7, 2018. During the seminar –organized by the Canadian Embassy in Spain and the Regional Government of Andalusia– the director of AYMA Mining, Bárbara Gómez Delgado, was an active participant, especially in the panel discussion Conciliation and its impact on promotions in mining.
The paneldiscussed topics regarding the presence of women in mining and consulting companies: the positions they hold compared to men, ways of promoting their careers, etc. The other speakers were representatives from other companies that are either operating a mine or are in the planning process: Marie-Christine Frenette, vice president of Africa – Kinross Gold Corporation, Susana Bieberach, marketing and communications manager at Geoalcali S.L, and Guadalupe Collar, director of Geology at Oro Valle. The discussion was moderated by Brita Hektoen, director of Chair on Women‘s Rights at the International Institute of San Telmo, the location of the event.
With respect to the general situation regarding managing or technical positions, Bárbara concluded that despite the fact that there has been “a positive change for women”, their presence in consulting/engineering/mining companies “is highly monitored by steering committees, unless the companies were created by women”, which are usually not more than 40 percent. According to the director of AYMA, other alternatives in hiring processes can help achieve real equal opportunities, for example, by leaving out names or any reference to the candidate’s gender in blind CVs, or by continuing of other initiatives such as “vivida” at San Telmo Institute, where women can learn from other women and see how far they can advance.
Another topic discussed was about a survey that showed a generalized opinion: the acceptance of the presence of women as a minority in these types of positions was related to a lack of ambition and number of women candidates. Bárbara Gómez Delgado sees here that there is a problem and a radical solution. The problem, the superwoman. The solution, kill the superwoman. The explanation is that we live in a society that educates us to relegate women to household activities. The idea is the following: you can do anything you want and in addition, run a household. The superwoman.
For Bárbara it is crucial to end this idea that women can do it all. They should be able to opt for only one goal if they want. Without having to divide their efforts. To be able to choose. Kill the superwoman.
In an intervention in the previous panel discussion, Marta Pérez Dorao, president of the Inspiring Girls Foundation, made an interesting reflection about guilt, something that Bárbara had previously mentioned. The affirmation we must kill the superwoman means understanding that we should not have to feel guilty.
Although in general the consideration of women in the world of mining engineering has improved, it is necessary to continue fighting to continue in this direction. “The sad thing is that women are still having to give explanations”, says Bárbara, “for achieving goals that men are assumed to achieve.”
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.
AYMA PARTICIPATES IN ‘WOMEN, MINING AND INDUSTRY’ SEMINAR
Among the challenges of mining of the 21stcentury includes placing importance on issues related to gender equality and the female labor participation in a sector where they are gaining more and more presence. Proof of this will be seen at the upcoming seminar, Women, mining and industry,which will take place November 7th, 2018 in the International Institute of San Telmo (Avda. de la Mujer Trabajadora, 1 / 48001 Seville).
The majority of those participating in the seminar are women professionals in the mining industry, and they are, without a doubt, all proof of the importance of women in the industry. Among the participating women is AYMA Mining Solutions’ director,Bárbara Gómez Delgado. Bárbara, who has more than 15 years of experience in the sector, founded AYMA in 2014 and since then has provided consultancy for mining projects, pyrotechnics in the audiovisual industry and specialized training for mining professionals.
Thisgathering of different professionals in the sector to talk about this topic is of an international nature. This initiative is of Canadian origin –The Canadian Embassy in Spain– that has been supported with the participation of the Regional Government of Andalusia in bringing it to Seville. The seminar will be from 9:00 until 18:15, when Javier Carnero Sierra, Employment counselor, Enterprise and Commerce, will close with a presentation called Mining Kit.
09:00 Participant registration
09:45 Gender equality in Canada
- Matthew Levin, Canadian Ambassador in Spain
09:50 Talent Management and Diversity in the Canadian and European mining sector
- Cynthia Le Sueur-Aquin, President of Women in Mining Canada (WIMC) and President of Laurion Mineral Exploration Inc.,
- Corina Hebestreit, General Director of EUROMINES
- Caroline Rossignol, Director, Sustainability and Social Performance, Lundin Mining
11:20 Coffee Break (Networking)
11:45 Mining and professions from the public and private perspective: promoting equal opportunities.
Moderator: Natalia González, general director of Industry, Energy and Mines of the Regional Government of Andalusia.
- Esther Marín, General Director, General Manager of Energy and Industrial and Mining Activity of Murcia.
- Maria de la Paz Curto Del Valle, Finance Administrator of MATSA
- Lorena García, Director of Legal Services and Institutional Relations, Cobre Las Cruces
- María Belarmina Diaz, General Director of Mines of Principado of Asturias
13:00 Mediation and its impact on promotions of professional careers in mining
Moderator: Brita Hektoen, Director Chair inWomen at the San Telmo Institute.
- Marie-Christine Frenette, Vice President and General Counsel – Africa; Kinross Gold Corporation
- Susana Bieberach, Marketing & Communications Manager, Geoalcali S.L.
- Guadalupe Collar, director of Geology of Oro Valle
- Barbara Gomez, director of AYMA Mining Solutions.
14:15 Lunch-Buffet (Networking)
15:45 The challenge of diversity in the industrial sector
Moderator: Esperanza Caro Gómez, General Manager of Economics and Commerce for the City Council of Seville.
- Marta Pérez Dorao, president of the Inspiring Girls Foundation.
- Carmen Quintero Calderón, director of MP Productividad, SA
- Beatriz Codes, Communications Manager, Southeast Region Coca Cola European Partners Iberia.
- Chaimae El Amri, managing director of Green Energy Resources and Primary Energy Metals.
17:00 Diversity and equal opportunities vs productivity. Professional profiles in the industry and gender identity.
Moderator: María Luisa de Contes d´Esgranges, General and Board of Directors Secretary of Renault Group in Spain, Director of RSC and Renault Foundation for Sustainable Mobility.
- Iain Anderson, managing director of Cobre Las Cruces
- Isabel González, director of Proyectos, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Innovation Center
- Javier Targhetta, president, Atlantic Copper and Senior Vice President Marketing & Sales, Freeport-McMoRan
- Fernanda Cardama, Maxam Global Head of HR, Organization and Communications.
18:15 Closing Remarks
Javier Carnero Sierra, Employment, Business and Commerce counselor (Presentation of Mining Kit)
View Program in PDF
ABOUT DILUTION – FUEYO EDITORES
«The business of mining by nature is subject to uncertainties and inherent risks, both in early preventative stages and in later stages. Nothing can be done about some of these uncertainties, for example, the price of metals; or a mineral resource that will never be exactly known. Finally, others, such as dilution, have a double implication: on the one hand, its estimation in initial design phases, and on the other hand, the operational reality achieved, which is mostly a direct consequence, although with some other effects, of our action or inaction ». (…)
Article by Adén Muñoz, mining supervisor at AYMA Mining Solutions, and Benjamín Cebrián, Blast Consultant.
Published in Fueyo Editores.
Read complete article in fueyoeditores.com
EFFICIENT WATER MANEGEMENT IN THE MINING SECTOR
Water resources play a fundamental role in mining for two main reasons: the use of water in extraction and its supply from natural sources that mining uses.
Mining is responsible for extracting the Earth’s resources that are valuable for our lives, but water is the most valuable resource of them all. We can live without gold or copper, but not without water. That is why in addition to its use, we must pay special attention to issues like sustainability, the environment and the reuse of this vital element.
The more than well-reputed Dr. Rafael Fernández Rubio, a retired mining engineer, has created a series of guidelines derived from his many years of experience in the sector. One of the most important of them is the need to manage water resources with the “the best economic, social and environmental sustainability, with medium and long-term integral planning.
Similarly, the extraction of groundwater should be sustained in the best technologies for Prevention of Mine Drainage, to achieve water of a higher quality. Achieving efficient water consumption that is calculated and doesn’t spill water that doesn’t meet the quality standard is another factor that we must take into account.
The artificial recharge of quality water, accumulating a wealth of water informationfor future generations, and leaving a strong water infrastructure when finishing an activity are other factors that Fernández Rubio says are necessary for responsible mining with water reserves.
Mining of the 21stcenturyhas a commitment with the natural environment, with sustainable development as the base of its activity. It is for that reason more rigorous and strict control is being enforced with regard to everything that involves using water. To achieve these objectives, a strong commitment from all those involved in mining is crucial to support and promote responsible use of water.
TECHNOLOGY, ECONOMY AND RAW MATERIALS
Growth, technological advances, social development and prices of services like power consumption, and other factors have an effect on the extraction of raw materials, making it so that each job requires a different methodology, from the legal field to the miner‘s pickaxe.
This often makes it very difficult to measure the profitability of materialssince these factors are influenced by a series of variables, such as market conditions, investments, job stability, societal reactions, proof of sustainability, or geographic location, which can influence other factors like the availability of water.
All these variable elements in mining make it so that when it comes to extracting and transforming raw materials, we can either find setbacks or advantages. In this respect, there are examples in which recent economic and technological changeshave made it possible to benefit from metallic resources that were before unusable, such as settling basins containing tin and tantalum at the mine in Penouta, Orense, where Strategic Minerals Spainoperates.
Today we are going to focus on technology, since it has become the main cause of change for miningwith regard to raw materials, especially because of the capacity to increase the range of usable minerals, which has positive consequences in many areas, such as the environment, profitability of mines and even their lifespan.
Among the notable proposals that were put forward during the International Congress on Energy and Mineral Resources in April of 2018 in Seville, is that of the ITMA Foundation, in Asturias, which among its area of work has two promising projects: the purification of metallurgical grade silicon and the development of reinforced metal matrix foams using fly ash. Another interesting proposal was that of Aceralia (Grupo Arcelor), which focuses its use in the construction of offshore wind turbines that would suppose an endless, economical and long-term source of energy.
Lastly, progress in hydrometallurgical technology is one of the most relevant issues in technological advances for the treatment of raw materials. Cobre Las Cruces is one of the mines that has made the most advances in this field, along with Atlantic Copper.
Ideas and suggestions are there, and they are also created by the factors that influence the use of raw materials. In the case of technology, it is essential for the processes of manufacturing new materials to be both environmentally sustainable, which is already being achieved, and economical, which brings us back to the beginning of the problem. However, mining consultancies are here to think of different paths and solutions.
What is clear is that the path towards optimal mining, which is better for society and for the planet itself, is underway.
MINERAL RESOURCES, A CHALLENGE WITH HIGH EXPECTATIONS
Let‘s start from the very beginning. Resources are assets or raw materials that are in some way useful for an objective. A resource satisfies a particular need. Thus, a mineral resource is one that is exploited for a certain purposeand extracted through mining.
The Earth is the immense continent and all these resources are contained within it. In the same way that there is no endless jar of nutella, the Earth‘s minerals are neither endless. The majority of the Earth is made up of fossils or rock formations that are the result of thousands of millions of years of pressure and natural chemical processes, which for us it takes just a few days to extract. It is sort of like when your mother spends the entire morning making croquettes from scratchfor a family of five and the entire supply vanishes in less than 10 minutes.
It is necessary to reflect on this and look for ways to optimize mines, create alternative energy, manage, make mining profitable, etc. The leading mining groups are already presenting approaches to redirect mining towards a more sustainable future. The idea facing the years to come is the ability to meet the increasing demand for raw materials, energy and water at competitive prices for both business and for families as end consumers, in a way that is compatible with the concept of sustainability, and in addition, help eliminate existing territorial and social imbalances.
Experts realized this during the month of April 2018 at the XIV International Congress on Energy and Mineral Resources, which took place in Seville. From their different areas of specialization, they all coincided with each other in their propositions on three main ideas:
Safety, the environment, and development of new technologies that will make it all possible.
The concern for better mining was clear in all their presentations. All of the groups gave interesting and specific propositions for improvements in the functioning of their mines. In addition, in the area of technology, an important idea was discussed about developing software that could be used by all companies, such as the proposition of Geocalcali S.L. with DESKWIK,a mine planning and design program that allows for cost optimization, or the method of ICOM, an application for calculating mass balance for public works excavations, applicable to mining.
Mining – in addition to reducing costs and what is merely productive – has a significant challenge ahead that can be overcome thanks to these new propositions: convincing a large percentage of the population that in the 21stcentury, responsible mining is possible. It is the only path that will make it beneficial for everyone, from businesses to consumers, making sure our immense continent doesn‘t run out of its content.