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Conference draws technology gurus

Several mining technology visionaries from around the world have accepted invitations to speak at the MassMin 2012 international conference and exhibition in SudburyJune 11 to 14.Scehduled to address the plenary session Monday morning, June 11th are Allan Moss, general manager of Rio Tinto’s Underground Technology Centre; Steven Scott, emeritus professor of geology at the University of Toronto and director of the Scotiabank Marine Geology Research Laboratory; and Fidel Baez, executive vice-president, underground mining, with Codelco.Rio Tinto

Moss has contributed to the planning and design of all of Rio Tinto’s caving operations, from the implementation of the Palabora block cave in South Africa to technical and project reviews at joint venture operations such as Freeport’s DOZ Mine in Indonesia.

He has written a number of technical papers on caving and teaches the principles of caving at the University of British Columbia.

Scott is a pioneering geologist and oceanographer specializing in mineral deposits on the ocean floor and their ancient analogs on land. He is the co-discoverer of the base and precious metal seafloor massive sulfide deposits offshore eastern Papua New Guinea that will likely become the first mining operation of its type in the world. He holds an honorary degree from France, an honorary professorship from China, eight prestigious medals for his research, 11 distinguished lectureships and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Baez is currently in charge of all underground mining at Codelco, including the Chuquicamata underground mass mine, and will speak on the application of mass mining at Codelco operations in Chile.

Speakers lined up for a second plenary session on Wednesday, June 13 include Wes Hanson, president and CEO of Noront Resources, a junior mining company focused on its Eagle’s Nest nickel and precious metals deposit in Ontario’s James Bay Lowlands, one of the largest wetland regions in the world.

Eagle’s Nest

To overcome problems associated with building and operating a mine in such an environmentally challenging environment,  Noront’s design team developed an all underground solution, where the crushing, grinding and flotation circuits are established in a series of underground chambers. This solution takes advantage of the competency of the host rocks and, more importantly, limits the surface footprint of the project to an area of less than 50 hectares. Noront’s plan also includes recycling waste rock from underground mining as construction aggregate to build the airstrip, site roads and other surface facilities.

Mill tailings will be recycled underground as paste backfill, reclaiming the areas mined for ore and aggregate. The company is proposing to pump concentrate via a buried pipeline across the wetlands, a distance of 90 kilometres, eliminating the need for an all season road through the wetland region.

Joining Hanson at the podium will be Jim Keravala, chief operating officer and co-founder of Shackleton Energy. Keravala boasts a distinguished career in space development and operations. He was director of a space company for seven years arranging launch programs and space access with Russian launch vehicles.

He subsequently joined Surrey Satellite Technology as launch manager for five years overseeing several successful orbital launches on Russian, European and U.S. launch vehicles. He served as chairman of a rocketry foundation, is a graduate of International Space University, a member of the International Institute of Space Law, a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society.

MassMin 2012 is expected to attract 750 delegates from 30 or more countries and will feature presentations of more than 100 papers.

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