Welcome back to your Friday news recap. There was plenty for PDAC attendees to talk about in Toronto this week, with developments in the ongoing Barrick-Newmont saga, a slate of resignations at Vale and provincial-federal sparring over Bill C-69. If you were too busy partying – er, working, we definitelymeant working – to keep up with the news, we'll help you catch up on what you missed.
But before we get started, a note of housekeeping: in the near future when you access CIM Magazine articles, you'll be asked to either sign in with your CIM membership details or sign up with a free account. This will help us better understand who our readers are while not adding to large of a hurdle on your way to reading our stories.
Everyone loves a good show, and the live finale of Disrupt Mining didn’t fail to provide one. Andritz’s use of its digital twin technology to train artificial intelligence to operate a mineral processing facility won it the right to negotiate a $1-million investment from Goldcorp. The company beat out Atlantic Canada miner Anaconda Mining’s two-stage drilling method for narrow vein mining and Voith Turbo’s IoT application BeltGenius. There was more entertainment than just the presenters, with Rick Mercer sharing a colourful story involving a pigeon and some Listerine (he tells it better than we can), and judge Wal van Lierop comparing Andritz to a 12-year-old girl. (Was that a reference to a Britney Spears song? We’ll never know.)
The fallout from the Córrego de Feijão tailings dam collapse continued this week. Vale Base Metals executive director Eduardo Bartolomeo was named the company’s interim CEO, after CEO Fabio Schvartsman offered his temporary resignation during a Vale board meeting, as did company Ferrous and Coal directors Peter Poppinga and Lucio Flavio Gallon Cavalli, and Silmar Magalhães Silva, the head of Southeast Corridor operations. The resignations were requested by federal and state prosecutors.
Newmont Mining declined Barrick Gold’s hostile merger offer on Monday, instead proposing a joint venture for the companies’ Nevada operations, which would see Barrick own 55 per cent of the venture and Newmont Goldcorp own the other 45 per cent. And after a week of very public and surprisingly personal mud-slinging, the two companies’ CEO agreed to meet in New York next week to talk about combining their Nevada operations.
Ontario and Saskatchewan’s energy and mines ministers had some scathing words on Wednesday for the federal government’s impact assessment act legislation, Bill C-69. In a joint announcement at PDAC Ontario minister Greg Rickford and Saskatchewan minister Bronwyn Eyre said the legislation would “potentially politicize the environmental approval process for major resource projects” and give the federal cabinet “unprecedented power” to stop resource projects.
Their statement came one day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted the legislation’s benefits at a “fireside chat” (there was no fire) with PDAC President Glenn Mullan. Trudeau said the “key” parts of C-69 was its focus on scientific rigour and community partnerships and consultation during the assessment process, and that the “thoughtful amendments” the industry has made were “really appreciated.”
Cybersecurity theats should be considered “one of the top five business risks” for resource sector companies, argues Bill Ross, the head of consultancy Vercenta. Read his column from our February issue to learn more about creating a robust cybersecurity strategy.