Academic and Business-led R&D mining projects receive $464,308 investment

ST. JOHN’S, NL, June 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Four mining R&D projects are receiving a total of $464,308 in support from the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC).  The announcement was made today at the opening of the annual Baie Verte Mining Conference by the Honourable Keith Hutchings, Minister Responsible for the Research & Development Corporation.

"The mining industry in Newfoundland and Labrador continues to be a strong contributor to our economy. It has a rich history of providing rural employment, as well as enhancing industrial growth," said Minister Hutchings. "R&D investments in the mining and minerals sector further demonstrate our government's commitment to developing technical solutions that will contribute to long-term sustainability, while maintaining practices that are environmentally responsible".

The projects announced today will improve technical processes as well as investigate new ways to apply environmentally responsible disposal practices. Anaconda Mining Inc. is receiving $11,625 to increase efficiency in both its mining and milling operations at its Pine Cove Mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula.  Working in collaboration with the College of the North Atlantic (CNA), Anaconda will investigate grade control in the open pit, and increased gold recovery in the milling process.

"We are extremely pleased with our progress and remain optimistic that our work with these partners will revolutionize our mining and processing capability at Pine Cove," said Allan Cramm, Anaconda's General Manager. Anaconda hopes this enhanced recovery project will allow the operation to mine what is generally considered today as lower grade ore resulting in a mine life beyond the 6.5 years currently remaining.

Rambler Metals and Mining Canada Limited is receiving funding for two separate projects, both of which are being carried out at or near its Ming Copper-Gold Mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula. One project is receiving $178,439 to research the viability of extracting gold from nearby, exposed, legacy mine tailings, and the other is receiving $250,000 to test the technical and economical feasibility of extracting copper from the Ming Mine's Lower Footwall Zone.

"We are delighted to be working with RDC on these projects. Each of them has a particular importance to us. If the test work proves positive, this research will be useful when combined with other ongoing engineering studies with the overall goal of improving the project economics for Phase II of our growth strategy," Peter Mercer, VP, Corporate Development of Rambler Metals & Mining commented. "In addition, the research spearheaded by Memorial University will be of value, even beyond our own needs."

Drs. Penny Morrill and Tao Cheng of Memorial University are leading the fourth project in collaboration with Rambler Metals and Mining and Dr. Abigail Steel of the Provincial Government's Mines Branch.  They are receiving $24,244 to support their investigation of improved methods of remediating acid mine drainage from legacy mine sites.  Projects such as this feature collaboration between three key partners: academia, industry and government.  It is a priority for both industry and government to ensure that mining practices are environmentally sound.

"RDC is actively supporting R&D projects that will improve the likelihood of new discoveries, and increase metal recoveries from known deposits," said Glenn Janes, Chief Executive Officer of RDC. "By investing in R&D to develop new and better technical processes, it is possible to extend the life of our mines for the benefit of both industry and nearby communities such as Baie Verte".

Funding for these projects comes from RDC programs, including R&D Proof of Concept, R&D Vouchers, and GeoEXPLORE. For more information about RDC's funding programs, visit www.rdc.org.

About the Research & Development Corporation

RDC is a provincial Crown corporation responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador's R&D performance. RDC works with R&D stakeholders including business, academia and government agencies and departments.

Backgrounder

R&D Vouchers

Anaconda Mining Inc.
Anaconda Mining Inc. operates the Pine Cove gold mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula. It also has other adjacent properties that it is actively exploring for possible new gold production. The company wishes to enhance its gold recovery by improving the efficiency of its open-pit mining and milling operations. To do this, it plans to research ways to better define ore grades in the pit as a guide to blasting and to deciding what blasted material to transport to the mill; and presenting the ore-grade data in a computerized graphical model for ongoing mine planning. At the milling end, it plans to develop an automated control system for the increased recovery of gold during the flotation process; and to define the specifications for automating the control-system process. Anaconda is working with the College of the North Atlantic to develop these research proposals. RDC is supporting this effort through its R&D Vouchers program with funding of $11,625, to a total project cost of $17,000.

GeoEXPLORE Industry-led

Rambler Metals and Mining Canada Limited
Rambler Metals and Mining Canada Limited ('Rambler') is currently producing copper concentrate from its new Ming Copper-Gold Mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula. Shortly before the start of renewed copper production in 2012, the Company had mined, milled and shipped gold doré from a richer section of the ore body. Near to the Company's mining property there exists the now-Crown-controlled tailings area left from historic mining activity. These tailings contain residual gold that was present in the original copper deposit with grades estimated at 1-2 grams per tonne. Rambler Metals and Mining will conduct research into the technological and economical feasibility of recovering that gold by reprocessing the tailings. Testing will be focused on the "liberation" of gold from its surrounding minerals and how best to concentrate that gold using various methods. Because the tailings are from several previously mined ore bodies, each with different mineral characteristics, the accurate testing of samples from the old tailings area is essential. Should research results prove positive, it could lead to a positive environmental impact as the reprocessed tailings would be treated to more modern standards. RDC is supporting this research by contributing $178,439 from its Industry-led GeoEXPLORE program for a total project investment of $238,169.

R&D Proof of Concept

Rambler Metals and Mining Canada Limited
Rambler Metals and Mining Canada Limited ('Rambler') is currently producing copper concentrate from its rehabilitated Ming Copper-Gold Mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula. The higher grade copper ore currently being mined has an initial mine life of 6 years with many of the ore zones still open for future exploration. Below the current development there sits a significantly larger resource of lower grade copper mineralization in an area known as the Lower Footwall Zone. Rambler will be carrying out research into ways of pre-concentrating the copper content in the Lower Footwall Zone to produce a higher grade product which may be more economically feasible to develop. If the research is proven positive it may allow the over 18 million tonnes of lower grade copper mineralization to be included in the minable reserves, in turn adding to the mine's life. Considering the larger volumes of copper concentrate that could be produced from an operation of this size, as part of the program the Company also plans to investigate the thresholds of building a hydrometallurgical refinery to produce pure copper from concentrate.  RDC is supporting this research by contributing $250,000 through its R&D Proof of Concept program to a total project cost of $372,668.

GeoEXPLORE Collaborative Research Opportunities

Department of Earth Sciences, Memorial University

Mining of mineral sulphides (like chalcopyrite, a common copper mineral mined in Newfoundland) produces waste rocks and liquid mine tailings. These tailings contain residual heavy metals such as iron and lead. When exposed to water and air, the mineral sulfides oxidize, producing acid mine drainage (AMD) (acidic water containing high concentrations of heavy metals). If allowed to escape into the general environment, AMD can cause problems for plants, animals and drinking water. To better understand how AMD from mine tailings can be remediated, this research will look at ways of reducing the acidity and heavy metal content of AMD at two former mining sites: the former copper mines of Consolidated Rambler Mines Ltd., and the Gullbridge Copper Mine.

Drs. Penny Morrill and Tao Cheng, environmental geochemists at Memorial, will be collaborating with Dr. Abigail Steel of the Mines Branch, Department of Natural Resources, and personnel with Rambler Metals and Mining Canada Limited, investigating the potential for remediation of AMD at these sites. Three approaches will be taken to see if: 1) AMD can be remediated naturally; 2) AMD can be remediated by encouraging the growth of special microbes that can reduce the acidity and in turn decrease heavy metal concentrations; and 3) plants can take up heavy metals through their root systems, thereby removing metals from the environment. Part of the experimental work will include testing the use of biofoul (waste from shellfish industry) to create the necessary oxygen-poor conditions that allow beneficial microbes to flourish. A Master's student and an undergraduate Honour's student will be part of the research, each producing a thesis. Positive outcomes from the research will improve the environmental sustainability of mining, and alleviate potential threats from legacy tailings. RDC is supporting this research by contributing $24,244 from its GeoEXPLORE Collaborative program to a total project cost of $29,580.

SOURCE: Research & Development Corporation

For further information:

Media Contacts:   

Victoria Russell
Communications Coordinator
Research & Development Corporation
709-758-0308
victoriarussell@rdc.org

Heather Maclean
Director of Communications
Department of Innovation, Business
and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 697-4137
heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

Allan Cramm
General Manager
Anaconda Mining Inc.
709-800-7332
acramm@anacondamining.com

Peter Mercer
VP, Corporate Development
Rambler Metals and Mining Limited
709-800-1929 ext. 214
pmercer@ramblermines.com