“ Our clients are very much interested in doing things right with regards to how they care for the environmental and social aspects of ESG ,” Stantec ’ s Wayne Peel says
approach their new projects ,” he said .
One area where this is starting to shine through is the inclusion of carbon pricing / accounting in project assessments .
Currently a voluntary disclosure , more mining companies are offering up these calculations now knowing it may become a future legal requirement .
OZ Minerals is a case in point , with the miner recently using a carbon price in determining the valuation for a shaft expansion of its Prominent Hill operation in South Australia . The first time it had used such an accounting tool , it is a practice it plans on adopting in other projects going forward , according to OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer , Andrew Cole .
Peel said Stantec provides “ carbon accounting ” and advisory services as part of its “ net zero mining ” offerings , and he believed such services would be in greater demand in the future .
“ My sense is that most mining companies are being asked this by their boards and financiers to understand how their balance sheet stands up under different carbon prices ,” he explained .
In addition , there are examples of companies changing the way their executives are remunerated by incorporating ESG goals into their payment structure . This sort of alignment has been noticed by Peel , who says it is influencing how the whole business operates .
“ Our clients are very much interested in doing things right with regards to how they care for the environmental and social aspects of ESG ,” he said . “ They want to leverage this to improve their brand image and reputation especially with the general public and their future workforce .”
Accelerating its ESG ambitions
“ The Golder acquisition was a remarkable opportunity for WSP to accelerate our ambition to become the leading global environmental consulting firm , and with that comes a leadership position in the mining space ,” André- Martin Bouchard , Global Director of Earth & Environment & ESG , WSP , told IM .
Completed earlier this year , the $ 1.14 billion acquisition of Golder Associates made WSP a force to be reckoned with in the environmental consulting field , with approximately 14,000 of its 54,000 professionals dedicated to accelerating the world ’ s “ green transition ”.
The addition of Golder provided the company with all the right tools to turn the industry ’ s corporate goals into concrete actions at mine sites and company headquarters , according to Bouchard .
“ What we consider to be our ‘ flagship ’ offering is our ability to not only provide ESG advisory services to the C-suite in developing ESG strategy , but also to execute that very strategy through our broad range of technical expertise such as tailings , water management , permitting and air quality ,” he said . “ We are embedding ESG into all our traditional mining services , creating a seamless connection between a client ’ s ESG values and operational decisions .”
Such integration allows the enlarged company to understand and advise on corporate ESG priorities and goals , while putting them into action in its designs and technical work , according to Bouchard .
“ There are not many companies who can
A grade consideration
The cost of drilling at a mine depends on the location , geological features and complexity of the operation . In general , it could set mining companies back $ 150-300 / m drilled , according to Geovariances , the global provider of geostatistics-based solutions .
To optimise the use of its drilling budget , a copper mining company based in Brazil recently asked Geovariances to assess the geological and , consequently , financial risks related to selecting different drill hole spacings at its operation . This factored in the elements to be mined , the tonnages produced and the grade thresholds for ore concentrates defined by customer agreements .
The methodology proposed by the Geovariances consulting team to address these questions included the application of geostatistical conditional simulations of the elements of interest using the available datasets from the real operation . This data was put through a cluster analysis with the simulated realities obtained forming the basis of the study , Geovariances explained .
“ The selected realisations are resampled in different spacings ,” the company said . “ These virtual drilling patterns are then used as an input for additional conditional simulations . The result of the conditional simulations with the virtual drilling patterns are then rescaled to the production increments , based on the actual production of the mine .”
The increments used are consistent with monthly , quarterly or annual production , with the risk assessment performed within a confidence interval of 90 % of the simulated results .
“ From this study , the degree of precision related to each drill hole spacing is assessed and used as a guide for drilling campaigns , based on the uncertainties that the company is willing to tolerate for each of the production increments tested ,” Geovariances said .
The image below presents a schematic example of uncertainties related to different drill hole spacings for each production increment tested ( as the information is confidential , the values have been changed ).
Based on the study carried out by Geovariances , the customer is able to now define the ideal drill spacing for each region of the mine . This considers the thresholds of grade uncertainty of ore concentrate contractually accepted by its customers .
Geovariances concluded : “ The main gains for the mining company are the possibility to estimate the grade uncertainty for each drill hole spacing , production increment and region mined , and to use this information to optimise the use of the drilling budget .
“ The company then has the means to guarantee that the ore concentrates will meet the requirements of its customers defined by contract , avoiding the payment of penalties for non-compliance with the agreements .”
Figure 1 . Average uncertainties (%) related to each drill hole spacing for the production increments studied
58 International Mining | OCTOBER 2021