The Asia Miner

JUN 2018

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 15 • issue 2 10 FEATURE: Future of coal INNOVATION The mining industry has tradiƟonally been a dawdler when it comes to innovaƟon, yet, innovaƟon is integral to the performance of the mining industry. It is a global and highly compeƟƟve sector, and as such companies that are slower to create or adapt to new products and processes – including new technologies – risk fewer growth opportuniƟes and lower returns. A study conducted by DeloiƩe in associaƟon with Diggers and Dealers, and the AssociaƟon of Mining and ExploraƟon Companies (AMEC), found that five main areas drove innovaƟon within various mining companies: reducƟon to operaƟonal costs; improved asset producƟvity; risk reducƟon; safety; and cost reducƟon in asset development. Yet, a disconnect between acknowledging the need to innovate and the actual follow through to act on this imperaƟve in a systemic way is quite large. One of the reasons for this is the industry's conservaƟve nature and the culture of being a "fast follower". With mining being an inherently risky venture, from ore body uncertainty to volaƟlity of commodity prices, certain companies are reluctant to take on addiƟonal risks associated with innovaƟon, especially if it could impact cash flow or their licence to operate. InnovaƟon, however, will be a key to survival as miners face challenging environments – both physical and socio- poliƟcal. Diversity of thinking will be essenƟal to creaƟng the steady stream of innovaƟons needed not only to deliver the next wave of growth and producƟvity, but also to build sustainable business models over the long run. This will require collaboraƟon with each other and external partners to aid in the development of low-risk and cost-effecƟve soluƟons. CollaboraƟon, however, for many companies raises fears and concerns of jeopardising the security of intellectual property. But, coal mining companies can no longer afford to go it alone. Albeit not a coal mining operaƟon, advances in tailings management and water recycling are supporƟng Goldcorp's Towards Zero Water iniƟaƟve, which will lead the industry to dramaƟcally lower water consumpƟon over the next decade and completely eliminate the use of tradiƟonal slurry tailings, currently the largest store of unavailable water in the mining process. Goldcorp has successfully implemented filtered tailings at its El Sauzal mine, the Marlin mine, and most recently at its Éléonore mine. The Marlin mine employees demonstrated ingenuity, suggesƟng a first-for- Guatemala, or anywhere in Central America: instead of hauling the material to a convenƟonal tailings storage facility, they proposed that the open pit could be refilled with its own filtered, compacted tailings. Canada's recently announced CLEER (Clean, Low-energy, EffecƟve, Engaged and Remediated) proposal was shortlisted by the Canadian government to receive funding from its InnovaƟon Superclusters IniƟaƟve. The CLEER supercluster, comprised of a 162-member "The mining industry has traditionally been a laggard when it comes to innovation" Coal consumpƟon and producƟon in 2016 per region. Source: BP StaƟsƟcal Review of World Energy 2017

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