Michelle Ash (Chief Innovation Officer at Barrick Gold Corporation) was an exceptional guest speaker surprising members by taking everyone to the edge of a major mining evolution. The coming changes could be as revolutionary as the invention of jet engines for airplanes. Michelle provided her view on potential innovation around the following:
- efficient mining of decreasing grade,
- fast integration of innovative systems,
- reduced water usage,
- management/use of contaminated mine waste,
- integration of renewable energy, and
- flexible and productive management
Innovation could also be wrapped around full integration of operations in order to identify and anticipate bottle necks, then apply correction and improvement almost instantaneously, to maintain a high level of productivity. Is this about to become as advanced as running a Formula 1 race car? Be ready for surfing on a wave of changes, be constantly challenged (technical, market, regulation, tax, investors etc.). Mining is becoming an industry as exciting as a strategic computer game where players can enter a virtual world. During this mining meeting, seeing Dassault and Airbus, two leading plane manufacturers standing next to each other was a surreal vision. It demonstrated the ability of some leading companies to successfully face changes.
ATC Williams for the last 35 years has initiated and embraced new technologies related to water and tailings management on mining projects across the world. Implementation of thickened tailings technology is one of our greatest successes and we continue to maintain a tight relationship with universities and investing in our specialised tailings laboratory to improve our understanding of tailings behaviour from transport to deposition.