Canadian Mining Journal


Technology needs take mining in new directions

New tech fuels change

The rapidly expanding role of technology in modern life is taking mining in new directions.

For producers, it means creating new means of finding deposits, developing them economically (think electric vehicles, digitization of data and cloud-based systems), and creating means of processing exotic materials.

For individuals, whether they pay much attention to the mining sector or not, technology means lightning-fast communications. People rely on their smart phones. Appliances and systems do it with the internet of things.

The desire for clean transportation is growing th electric vehicle market at an unprecedented pace. With EVs comes the need to store energy. It can come from solar collection, wind generation and other sources, but they all have one thing in common – the need to store energy when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow.

The Canadian mining industry is stepping up to the challenge. We are seeking cobalt, lithium, niobium, nickel, rare earths, vanadium and more we probably haven’t thought of yet in the search for economical energy storage.

This holds true in British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories – a part of the country CMJ takes a closer look at in this issue. There are at least 30 juniors beating the bushes with exploration projects that they can hopefully advance. The project names are not yet in the mainstream mining conscience, but perhaps they soon will be – Lithium at Hidden Lake, Kootenay, Little Nahannie, Mer, Phoenix; cobalt at BC Cobalt, Kootenay (a different Kootenay), Monster, RD, Turnagain River; and many more.

There are also half a dozen development projects in the region that target not only exotic metals but base and precious metals, too – Wildsky at Cassiar (gold), Victoria Gold at Eagle (gold), NorZinc at Prairie Creek (silver-leadzinc), Goldcorp at Coffee (gold), Fortune Minerals at Nico (cobalt-gold-bismuth- copper), and Centerra at Kemess Underground (gold-copper). These projects are going to be bright lights in the western and northern economies. CMJ takes a look at them, beginning on page 19.

As the world gears up for the challenges of energy storage, battery metals are skyrocketing in value. Robin Goad, president and CEO of Fortune Minerals, takes an in depth look at cobalt – its uses in electric vehicles and supply – beginning on page 8. Alexi Zawadski, Lithium Americas’ president of North American operations, explains how his company is preparing to be a go-to battery-grade lithium producer with a pair of mines – one in Nevada and the other in Argentina – beginning on page 13.

Mineral processors will not want to miss how Stornoway Diamond added an ore sorter and that boosted throughput and increased recovery. It starts on page 24.

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