Redpath Group recently completed a 875-metre-long by 6.3-metre-wide bored raise, the largest of its kind by volume in the Americas, at the Niobec's niobium mine in Saguenay, Quebec. Courtesy of Niobec.

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Welcome back to your weekly mining news recap, where we catch you up on some of the news you may have missed. This week’s headlines include Redpath completing the largest raise construction in the Americas, new funding for Quebec mining businesses and the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance’s Aimee Boulanger talks global standards for mining.

The Ontario government unveiled new funding programs through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation aimed to increase economic development and promote internship and job opportunities for job-seekers and Indigenous people in the region. Paul Bradette, executive director of the mining supply and services association MineConnect, said the funds will help its members to grow businesses and innovate.

Rio Tinto is exploring ways to produce a low-carbon steel feedstock using hydrogen produced from hydroelectricity, in an effort to reduce emissions from steelmaking, as reported by The company has an agreement with the engineering firm Paul Wurth S.A. and steelmaking company SHS-Stahl-Holding-Saar GmbH & Co. KGaA to develop a low-carbon method to turn iron ore pellets into hot briquette iron. Iron Ore Company of Canada will supply the iron ore needed for the project and a feasibility study examining potential industrial-scale low-carbon iron production will be completed by the end of 2021.

Redpath Group has completed construction of the largest bored raise by volume in the Americas at the Niobec mine in Quebec, as reported by The company's engineering and construction team prioritized low costs and high standards for safety and productivity during the construction of the 875-metre-long by 6.3-metre-diameter raise, which started in 2019.

The commissioning of Teck Resources’ Elkview Saturated Rock Fill (SRF) expansion is now underway. The expansion will allow the treatment of 20 million litres of water per day, doubling facility’s capacity. The Elkview SRF is part of the company’s Elk Valley Water Quality Plan, which aims at removing selenium and nitrate from the water and achieving healthy watersheds around its steelmaking coal operations in British Columbia.

Companies such as Canaria Technologies, Nanozen Industries, Orange Business Services, De Beers Marine South Africa and GE are designing unobtrusive wearable technologies that are addressing health and safety concerns in the mining industry. These innovative devices include sensors that can identify various health issues or monitor air quality as well as geofencing safety solutions.

Pressure from consumers and investors has made sustainable production an increasing concern for mining companies. CIM Magazine sat down with Aimee Boulanger, executive director of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), an organization that has created a comprehensive, 26-chapter global standard for the sustainability of mines, to talk about the goals of IRMA, certain pillars of the standard and the type of feedback they’ve received from the mining community.

Pretium Resources has removed the travel restrictions it had in place due to a COVID-19 outbreak at its Brucejack mine. The company has committed to rigorous COVID-19 testing for its employees and contractors and has enhanced protocols and procedures at the site. The mine has 21 infected workers in isolation on site.

Rio Tinto is investing $105 million to modernize its Port-Alfred port facility in Saguenay, Quebec, to fit larger ships. The upgrade is intended to make receiving and unloading raw material used for Rio Tinto’s aluminum manufacturing operations safer and more efficient. Construction of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.  

The federal government, through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, is providing financial aid to small and medium-sized enterprises in the mining sector to help improve their economic recovery and boost job creation in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Quebec. The $2.2 million in funding will be shared between Géliko, Abitibi Geophysics, Clôture Abitem and Mecanicad, who will use it to expand their businesses and hire more employees.

More mining companies have released their fourth-quarter results from 2020: BHP, Hecla Mining, New Gold, Iamgold, Newmont, Barrick Gold, Teck Resources, Hudbay Minerals,  Lundin Mining, Glencore.

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