Current Complex Orebodies Technical, political, social and environmental challenges and solutions

There are a number of orebodies, in operation today, that aside from decreasing grades also face increased technical, environmental and societal hurdles. Many of these deposits will face forced closure well before resources are depleted as a direct result of technical, societal and or environmental complexities that were not foreseen when the mine commenced.

Do you have:

  • Case studies of new technologies, strategies or improvements implemented to improve mineral processing, minimise water usage, surmount environmental barriers or reduce the impact of waste footprints?
  • Examples of where different approaches to working with governments and communities have enabled continued shared benefits of mining operations?
  • Lessons learnt from situations where, with the benefit of hindsight, a more productive outcome could have been achieved in environmental or social impacts?
  • Case studies from situations where improved environmental outcomes were achieved through better understanding of ore body variability

Meeting future challenges, standards and expectations The changing landscape of acceptable practice

Exploration for new deposits is challenged by increasing costs due to the declining rate of discovery; depth of burial; lower grades; environmental and social expectations and associated costs to the explorer. It is clear that new discoveries alone will not meet future demand. When new discoveries are made the decreasing grades, increased depth, difficult mineral processing challenges have been addressed by economies of scale. However, bigger capital intensive mining is reaching the limit of effectiveness for economic, environmental and community impact reasons. An increasing number of undeveloped deposits are unviable due to low grades or other technical challenges or are inaccessible due to political unrest, social outrage and/or environmental barriers.

We must rethink the relationship between mining, social footprint, and policy in order to achieve equitable and sustainable development.

Do you have:

  • New ideas on how to redefine the sharing of benefits that mining can bring?
  • New insights into policy and regulation aimed at enabling communities and companies to engage and problem solve?
  • Projects to address improvements to understanding of social complexity through integration and analysis of physical, environmental, social, cultural, cadastral and demographic data relating to the social impacts of mining?

Transformative technologies to open up new extractive possibilities

There is no doubt that technological advancement will play a key role in unlocking the “Complex Orebodies” of the future and assist current mining operations to face immediate challenges. Notwithstanding this, technology and its adaptation into the mining environment has been reported as being slower than uptake in other industries.

  • While much attention has been paid to the digitisation of mining, what other technologies are now available to the mineral extractive industries looking to develop the “Complex Orebodies” of the future?
  • Are there important underlying reasons for the low technology uptake in the mining industry?
  • What do we need to do to enable the development of new technology and improve existing technologies aimed at lowering mining and processing costs so that we can achieve greater efficiency in the mining and processing chain?
  • How will new mining technologies alter the relationship between mines and community? Are there both upside and downside risks to consider?
  • What is the view of financiers with regards to investment in new technology and the deployment of capital to un-proved equipment and processes?

Defining and understanding complexity as it applies to the entire mining life cycle

Inter-disciplinary and multidisciplinary collaboration will be critical if the industry is to develop the step changes in social understanding, environmental innovation and mining and processing efficiency to allow financing access to these “Complex Orebodies”. Success in this arena not only unlocks “Complex Orebodies” but it also enables sustainable development.

Unlocking a pathway towards sustainable development will rely on deep levels of understanding along the entire value chain and the ability of traditionally separate areas of domain excellence to work in unison while maintaining technical excellence in their fundamental fields.

Contributors to this theme will have an understanding that NPV is no longer sufficient as the only value metric in Complex Ore Body decision making and that and there is a need for sophisticated business models to inform decisions. They will bring to the presentations:

  • Novel approaches to economic evaluation that incorporates societal, economic, mining, environmental and governmental aspects to determining viability.
  • New approaches and tools for whole of value chain assessment during feasibility studies.
  • Examination and articulation of a more considered definition of the “Mine Life Cycle”.

Trends and challenges of future metal supply

This Theme seeks to understand current identified mega-trends and identify the drivers that will affect future supplies of metals. Contributors to this theme will come from the areas of mineral economics and forecasting, also ‘futurists’ who are able to outline the developing ideas on global movements of people, industries and politics that may impact on metal supply and demand.

Presentations invited from:

  • Experts in the fields of mineral economics and metal price forecasting
  • Demographers who specialise in population mega-trends as they impact on the consumption of metals and metal prices

The Conference program and Themes span the breadth of “Complex Orebodies”. By bringing together experts and specialists across the mining value chain and linking complexities across societal, governmental and environmental areas, attendees are exposed to not only the challenges, but also to potential solutions for unlocking the “Complex Orebodies” of the future.