IBM Exploration with Watson has already been used at Goldcorp’s Red Lake mine (pictured) to help geologists identify drilling targets. Courtesy of Goldcorp

Welcome back to your weekly mining news recap. At the end of the week, we’ll catch you up on the mining news from CIM Magazine and elsewhere you may have missed. In this week’s headlines: Goldcorp and IBM partner up on an exploration tool that uses artificial intelligence, Rio Tinto moves ahead on its plan to build an “intelligent mine,” and the Scully mine in Labrador is coming back into production.


Goldcorp and IBM Canada launched a new artificial intelligence tool on Monday that they say will improve predictability for gold mineralization. Known as IBM Exploration with Watson, the platform has already been used at Goldcorp’s Red Lake mine to help geologists identify drilling targets and develop geological extrapolations faster than traditional methods.

Hudson Resources announced on Tuesday it had completed construction at its anorthosite (calcium feldspar) mine in Greenland. Commissioning is now under way, and is projected to take four to six weeks, with the first shipment of finished product expected for delivery to the U.S. east coast in January.

TradeWind Markets opened up its VaultChain metals-trading blockchain platform to silver producers earlier this month. Large trading companies, such as Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation Global, have already started using the service. Earlier this year, the company started similar work with gold producers.

BHP located a new iron oxide, copper and gold mineralization system near Olympic Dam, South Australia, as part of its copper exploration program. Results from four drill holes showed copper grades ranging from between half a per cent of copper to six per cent. The project, however, is still in its early stages, and according to the company “there is currently insufficient geological information to assess the size, quality and continuity of the mineralized intersections.” BHP is planning to follow up with more drilling early next year.

Tacora will reopen the Scully iron ore mine near Wabush, Labrador, next year after a five-year closure. The mine is expected to produce six million tonnes of iron ore concentrate annually for the next 26 years, and will have a workforce of 260 people. The mine was originally closed in 2014 after it was deemed unprofitable by its previous owner, Cliffs Natural Resources.

Rio Tinto approved US$2.6 billion to develop what it says will be its most technologically advanced mine, the Koodaideri project in Western Australia. The iron ore operation will feature technology such as autonomous trucks, trains and drills, and advanced data analytics to achieve greater efficiency and environmental performance while lowering production costs, the company said.

The $420-million Peñasquito pyrite leach project in Mexico is now processing all of the tailings generated by the mine’s pre-existing plant, Goldcorp said on Thursday. The pyrite leach plant continues to ramp up and was completed ahead of budget and schedule. Over the course of the mine's remaining life the plant is expected to recover up to one million ounces of gold and 45 million ounces of silver.

If you're looking for some weekend reading, we have a new feature from our Mining Lore section up on the website. James Hutton’s theories about the Earth and evolution — which may have even influenced Darwin — rocked the geological foundations of his era, and earned him the moniker "the father of modern geology."

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