Mining group touts greener tech

A new mining industry group has set up shop in the Yukon. The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum's Whitehorse chapter held its first meeting Wednesday evening. Paul Christman is the group's chair.

A new mining industry group has set up shop in the Yukon.

The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum’s Whitehorse chapter held its first meeting Wednesday evening.

Paul Christman is the group’s chair.

“I think there’s a lot of exciting projects going on in the Yukon, and I don’t think enough people know about them,” he said.

Christman worked at Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine mine for three years. Now he’s the mining manager at TMAC Resources’ Hope Bay gold project in Nunavut, although he calls Whitehorse home.

The new group will help northern miners help each other to deal with some of the challenges of northern mining, he said.

“There are a lot of challenges in the North, and it seems that a lot of projects try and reinvent the wheel.”

For example, companies could do a better job sharing best practices for cold weather construction, he said.

At the Hope Bay project, where they drill into permafrost, there are tight restrictions on the amount of water they can pull from the environment, said Christman.

“We actually use drilling techniques that were developed in the deserts of Chile, to drill with less water.”

That’s the sort of information-sharing the group is mean to facilitate, he said.

Wednesday’s meeting features a talk by Janice Zinck, research manager with Natural Resources Canada.

Her research focus is on environmentally friendly mining techniques.

“The industry is making great strides in trying to be more environmentally conscious in what they are doing,” she said in an interview before the meeting.

Often, green technologies are good for companies’ bottom lines, too, said Zinck.

“Energy efficiency makes perfect sense. If you can save energy, you can save money. You protect the environment, you reduce greenhouse gases. It’s really a no-brainer.”

Christman agreed.

“In most cases, there are economic advantages to doing that,” he said. “The less water you use, the less water you have to process, the less waste you produce, the less waste you have to move, the less power you require, the less diesel you have to burn.”

But the industry can be slow to catch on to new techniques, said Zinck.

“The mining industry tends to be conservative, and tends to want to be first-to-be-second in the implementation of new technology.”

Part of Zinck’s job is to spread information about greener processes, not only to mining companies but also to the public and regulators, in order to reduce barriers to their implementation, she said.

There’s lots of good work being done in the Yukon already, said Christman.

He mentioned Shawn Ryan’s drone exploration programs in Dawson’s White Gold district, and Yukon College’s research into bioremediation.

The industry had made great strides in a short amount of time, he said.

“People won’t accept mines and projects that are run like they were 30 years ago in or around their communities. And that’s fair.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18.	(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

(Submitted)
History Hunter: Kwanlin Dün — a book of history, hardship and hope

Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur: Our Story in Our Words is published by… Continue reading

Most Read