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Modern mining and metals

Leading the way toward safe and sustainable mining solutions

TINA ARMSTRONG, Managing Director, Base Metals
IAN DUCKWORTH, Global Sector Practice Lead, Mining

Fusion of progressive technology and environmental innovation has given rise to a new era in mining. With the integration of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and tools, and data analytics into traditional mining processes, we are paving the way toward optimized mining operations, enhanced productivity, minimized environmental impact, and the improved health and safety of workers.

We’re working with mining partners to mitigate and eliminate hazards through a systems-safety approach to risk. One way we’re promoting enhanced safety is through tracking personal devices to display the location of workers for support messaging and emergency response, collision avoidance, and to monitor alertness and fatigue levels of workers. We are also using dashboard cams on vehicles and sensors to transmit data about equipment health, seismic activity, structural integrity, and air quality.

As we ramp up the extraction of critical metals and minerals needed to supply the global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, the industry faces the dual challenge of meeting burgeoning demand while addressing pressing environmental and sustainability concerns. With these metals and minerals at the backbone of the technologies driving this transformation, we can’t overlook the potential consequences of increased extraction. It’s imperative that as we increase production, we also prioritize responsible and sustainable practices.

ESG is a critical component of doing business for any mining company. We’re partnering with our clients to navigate technical complexities, regulatory hurdles, and resistance to change in a traditional industry. Together with our clients, we effectively communicate and obtain input and participation from Indigenous and local communities. By leading with a community-first approach, we bring populations to the forefront of the decision-making process and treat them as equal stakeholders. By doing this, we develop inclusive, win-win solutions that provide jobs, protect the environment, and benefit all stakeholders.

Beyond environmental and social benefits, smart mining will also decarbonize operations while fully considering other business drivers such as production, quality, and efficiency. We’re optimizing production and investing in efficient operations by automating and electrifying mining fleets to reduce emissions, implementing alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, green hydrogen, small modular nuclear reactors and geothermal, using digital systems and data to reduce the risk of tailings storage failures, and utilizing digital twin modeling to provide simulations and real-time monitoring.

As with mining, technological advancements and risk management are front of mind for us and our clients as mined materials are processed and tailings and residues are generated. The combination of our world-class tailings, project delivery, and digital teams offer comprehensive services for the development of new tailings and impoundment facilities, and the management of existing operations.

Smart mining represents a groundbreaking opportunity for us. Our clients understand that traditional mining is a complicated, multifaceted industry with many challenges that we must address with extensive expertise and cross-sector capabilities. By combining strategic thinking and advancing technologies to tailor forward-thinking solutions, we’re embracing innovative, sustainable practices that mitigate risks and pave the way for a safer, greener future.

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Projects

Li-Cycle Rochester Hub

Li-Cycle, in collaboration with Hatch, is constructing the first-of-its-kind hydrometallurgical battery resource recovery facility in Rochester, New York, known as the Rochester Hub.

Alouette relined anode bake furnace

The reline of ABF-1 integrates a new furnace technology, increasing the furnace’s efficiency and operation.

A second furnace reline (ABF-2) is planned for 2024. This work on ABF-1 and ABF-2 will ensure that Alouette can continue to efficiently produce aluminium, decrease its carbon footprint, and accommodate future growth.

Imerys British Lithium project

England’s county of Cornwall is the focus of three strategic lithium extraction projects. Imerys British Lithium’s (IBL) project is one of these three mines. IBL is a hard rock mining project with an associated 20 ktpa lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) refinery located in an existing kaolinite clay mine. IBL’s aim is to be Europe’s first Li2CO3 project by 2028.

BHP’s electric smelting furnace pilot

BHP and Hatch are designing and developing a pilot electric smelting furnace (ESF) facility to accelerate the adoption of new iron and steelmaking technologies, providing BHP’s steelmaking customers pathways to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) intensity in steel production using iron ore from BHP’s Pilbara mines.

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