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Partnership aims to reach hard-to-get gold deposits and lead mining innovation
Developing a means of obtaining gold from a streambed has been difficult.
This undeveloped access to the gold deposit at Deer Cove on the Baie Verte Peninsula has been bandied about since 1986.
A new partnership announced on Tuesday will change all that as Anaconda Mining and the College of the North Atlantic will set out together to access those deposits.
Research interns from College of the North Atlantic — combined with modern technology, will help Anaconda drill into a new solution for developing the placer mine.
“It’s in our collective interest to keep mining active here and to invest in local talent." — Allan Cramm, Anaconda Mining vice-president of Innovation and Development
“The challenge is to find a technology that’s appropriate for the environment,” Dr. Michael Long, CNA’s associate vice-president of Applied Research and Innovation said in a news release.
“The operations require a smaller-scale technology that’s less invasive, yet economically feasible for a company to use. The site has to be assessed before you decide on the kind of technology to deploy,” he added.
The first intern, from the Geomatics Engineering Technology at CNA’s Ridge Road campus in St. John’s, will begin this spring, with a second intern taking on the project after that.
The partners, supported by Mitacs – a non-profit national organization that builds partnerships between academia, industry and government to help develop research-based innovation in Canada – CNA students are helping the company devise a cost-effective mining process to extract gold from Deer Cove, while leaving the natural habitat largely intact.
For the next few months, the interns will perform a feasibility study, map the sediment thickness, and perform laboratory tests, the first project of its kind under the Mitacs banner.
This project could help Anaconda reduce costs, improve gold recovery and extend the operating life of the mine, while creating more sustainable mining methods. It can also inform further research in similar environments.
“Applied research adds capacity, and helps us do things efficiently,” Allan Cramm, vice-president of Innovation and Development at Anaconda said in the release.
For the interns, the project brings hands-on experience with industrial research processes, including the decision-making skills needed for business.
“Students get experiential learning, and not just work-term placements,” Long said.
Anaconda continues to develop equipment based on research that could give them a unique ability to tap into previously inaccessible gold resources using sustainable approaches and the latest innovations. Cramm believes that improving innovation in the region is beneficial for all.
“It’s in our collective interest to keep mining active here and to invest in local talent,” he said.
Mitacs projects give Anaconda the chance to do leading-edge research and development they otherwise couldn’t support. In addition to its current work with CNA, Anaconda has also collaborated with Mitacs-supported researchers from Memorial University of Newfoundland for many years.
“I tell people that we may have 75 people on staff, but we have relationships with the college and university that gives us access to 27,000 people,” Cramm said.
“Innovation is high risk. Working with Mitacs helps us achieve research-based objectives with reasonable costs,” he added.