The process involved with restarting a mine is not one to be taken lightly, involving intricate planning, substantial investments, and a commitment to sustainable practices. As the global demand for essential minerals and resources continues to rise, the restarting of mines currently in care and administration or remission presents a compelling opportunity for mining companies. However, the journey to revitalize a mine is a complex one, requiring meticulous planning and a deep understanding of the intricacies involved.
In this article we aim to provide mining industry professionals with the knowledge, insights, and solutions needed to navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities that come with mine restarts. This guide delves into the critical considerations and methodologies that underpin successful mine restarts. From conducting thorough due diligence, assessing the economic viability, and securing the necessary permits to embracing technological innovations and fostering a commitment to environmental stewardship, this guide will serve as your compass for charting a successful course.
As we venture deeper into the mine restart process, we invite mining companies to explore the role that Minetek’s innovative Air, Sound, Water and Power technologies can play in overcoming challenges and harnessing the potential for profitability and responsible resource extraction.
The mining industry has a profound impact on global economies and the environment, and by responsibly and successfully reopening dormant mines, we have the unique opportunity to combine economic growth with environmental sustainability.
The benefits of restarting a mine.
Restarting a mine offers a range of advantages, making it a strategic choice for mining operators:
- Job Creation and Economic Growth: A mine restart leads to the reemployment of skilled labour, boosting local economies and providing job opportunities. New jobs mean increased income, which, in turn, stimulates consumer spending in the region.
- Resource Recovery: Restarting a mine allows for the recovery of valuable resources that may have become economically viable once again due to changes in market demand, technology, or commodity prices. This resource recovery can have a significant impact on the mining operation’s profitability.
- LOM Extension: Reopening a mine extends its Life of Mine (LOM), potentially adding years or even decades of production. This strategic advantage ensures a consistent supply of raw materials in the long term.
- Targeting Proven Deposits in Safe Jurisdictions: Restarting a mine enables operators to focus on known, proven deposits in regions with established safety records. This minimises exploration risks and enhances the likelihood of successful extraction.
- Leveraging Existing Infrastructure: Existing infrastructure, such as roads, rail, and processing facilities, can be utilised, reducing capital expenditure and accelerating the restart process.
- Reuse of Approved Permits and Licenses: In some cases, previously approved permits and licenses can be reactivated, streamlining the regulatory process and saving time and resources.
- Minimising Operating Expenses: Restarting a mine often involves lower initial capital expenditures compared to developing a new mine from scratch. This cost efficiency can result in reduced operating expenses.
- Faster Achievement of Objectives: Restarting a mine can help operators achieve their production and financial objectives sooner than opening a new mine. With the groundwork already in place, operations can commence relatively quickly.
These benefits collectively make mine restarts an attractive option for mining operators, offering the potential for economic growth, resource recovery, and the achievement of operational objectives in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Steps to restart a mine.
Due diligence and feasibility study.
Before committing to a mine restart, it is crucial to understand why the mine was initially shut down. A feasibility study should be conducted to assess the economic viability and technical feasibility of reopening the mine.
Securing the necessary capital for the restart is essential. This can involve seeking funding from various sources, including investors, banks, or government grants.
Regulatory and permitting compliance.
Restarting a mine requires compliance with various regulatory and permitting requirements. It is important to navigate the approval process and obtain the necessary permits from relevant authorities.
Infrastructure and equipment assessment.
Assess the condition of existing infrastructure, mining equipment, and processing facilities. Upgrades or replacements may be needed to optimise operations.
Minetek Power can help.
When the infrastructure and equipment assessment is in progress, one element your site may require upgrades or new solutions for is integrated electrical and power solutions.
Minetek is proven in providing industrial and mining operations with integrated electrical solutions such as Substations, Fan Starters, Switchrooms, Distribution Boards and more for safe, compliant, and profitable operations for the life of mine.
Offering a truly consultative and end-to-end solution, Minetek Power work with restarting mines from the very first consultation through to design and development, project management and through to commissioning.
But where Minetek Power really stands apart from the competition is our fast lead times, often months faster than the industry-typical lead times.
It’s all made possible by our highly trained and experienced team of electrical engineers, designers, operators, and managers who ensure that every project meets the highest standards of regulatory compliance and operational excellence, whilst manufacturing in our Sydney, Australia manufacturing Hub.
Workforce and training.
Having a skilled and experienced leadership team is critical for a successful restart. Training and development programs should be in place to ensure safety and operational efficiency.
Community and stakeholder engagement.
Building positive relationships with local communities and stakeholders is crucial. Addressing concerns and maintaining open communication is essential for long-term success.
Minetek Sound can help.
When it comes to community and stakeholder engagement, overall site noise and the impact that noise has on operators and nearby communities is an essential consideration.
Minetek Sound enables the world’s quietest mining equipment and machinery, reducing noise levels by up to 50% and allowing mining operations to reduce potentially harmful safety impacts on operators while meeting regulatory and community noise expectations. Minetek Sound has successfully attenuated over 1500 mining machines including more than 90 different OEM models from Liebherr, Caterpillar, Komatsu, Hitachi, Sandvik and more.
Minetek’s attenuation of the Liebherr R9800 mining excavator resulted in a 12dBA total noise level reduction bringing the noise level pre attenuation down from 126dBA to 114 dBA post attenuation.
Environmental impact assessments should be conducted to ensure sustainable mining practices. Implementing environmentally responsible measures is vital for maintaining a positive reputation.
Minetek Water can help.
One huge aspect of the environmental considerations stage when restarting a mine is understanding the impact of mine wastewater.
Minetek’s water evaporation technology is the world’s largest and most cost-effective, specifically engineered to reduce the risks associated with excess water and ensure environmental compliance. We enable mine sites to evaporate wastewater efficiently, cost-effectively and sustainability, so that operators can focus on production and profitability.
Proven successful in all climates worldwide, Minetek Water have more than 500 systems installed globally across a range of applications from pit dewatering, zero liquid discharge, process and produced water disposal, dam risk mitigation, acid water management and more.
Logistics and supply chain management.
Developing a robust logistics and supply chain management strategy is necessary to ensure the timely delivery of resources and materials for uninterrupted operations.
Market analysis and sales contracts.
Thoroughly analyze market conditions and demand. Negotiate sales contracts to secure a market for the mined materials and ensure profitability.
Safety and operational protocols.
Establishing comprehensive safety protocols and operational guidelines is essential to ensure the well-being of workers and efficient mining operations.
Mine plan and production strategy.
Develop a comprehensive mine plan and production strategy that includes ore extraction methods and scheduling to meet production targets.
Minetek Air can help.
As you build out a new mine plan, safe and compliant underground ventilation is a mandatory inclusion.
Minetek engineer our underground ventilation fans specifically for the mining industry. Built to be robust and reliable in even the harshest conditions with a broad operating range.
Minetek’s powerful single speed fans, have been proven to reduce power consumption costs by up to 50% and improve underground mining ventilation systems. Compared to traditional larger fans, Minetek’s compact units have the capability to outperform larger alternatives and then be re-deployed quickly and easily to other locations as the mine workings evolve, making them especially well-suited for restarting or expanding mine sites.
Monitoring and reporting.
Continuous monitoring of production and environmental impact is necessary. Regular reporting to stakeholders and regulatory bodies helps maintain transparency and compliance.
About working with Minetek.
When you work with Minetek, you can expect a truly consultative approach from beginning to end. Backed by an international team of engineers, operators, designers, project managers, technicians, and fitters, and after sales care personnel, our experienced and talented team is dedicated to delivering projects that yield real results for our clients.
The process of working with Minetek.
At Minetek, we want the process of working with us to be as smooth and easy as possible for our clients. The process is broken down into 4 main steps.
- Our highly experienced sales team will work with you to scope your project in line with individual site requirements and objectives.
- Your designated project manager will coordinate our projects, engineering, and production teams to assemble your custom solution.
- Your solution is dispatched and installed on your site by an on-site Minetek install team or with support from a remote installation team.
- After Sales Care remains in touch for regular servicing, asset management planning, upgrades, spare parts, and remote support.
The Minetek team.
Minetek is powered by a talented and experienced team of more than 100 people positioned around the globe. From project managers to designers, engineers to operators, our team is standing by to support our clients end-to-end.
Leading our core divisions and departments are:
Division Manager – Minetek Water
Division Manager – Minetek Sound
Division Manager – Minetek Air
Division Manager – Minetek Power
Manager – Minetek Project Delivery
Manager – After Sales Care
Minetek’s after sales care.
Minetek’s dedicated After Sales Care team is positioned around the globe to effectively tender to our client’s needs, primarily as a consultancy function. Minetek’s After Sales Care team is standing by to provide asset management plans, system upgrades, spare parts and remote support wherever and whenever required.
In conclusion, restarting a mine is a complex undertaking, but with careful planning and the right partners, it can lead to significant economic and environmental benefits. By navigating the considerations outlined in this article and collaborating with experienced companies like Minetek, mine operators can maximise the success of their restart efforts, contributing to both local economies and the sustainability of the mining industry.