May 17, 2020

Mining IQ: 3 Alternative Tips for Effective Environmental Management

Mine site
2 min
Mining IQ: 3 Alternative Tips for Effective Environmental Management
Australia has been a big part of the global mining industry over the last 30 years, but the last decade has seen competition sky rocket.2014 saw one of...

Australia has been a big part of the global mining industry over the last 30 years, but the last decade has seen competition sky rocket.

2014 saw one of the most difficult operating environments for miners in many years with falling commodity prices and rising costs putting a tight squeeze on profits. As a result, many mining companies have been going back to basics to drive efficiency and profitability with the hope of lifting the industry off the bottom by delivering sustainable growth.

Despite the emphasis on productivity and efficiency, environmental compliance and management still remains a core part of a mine’s overall operational strategy.

Below, Mining IQ has compiled top tips for environmental management in mining in 2015:

Early contractor engagement

Early contractor involvement is key to effective environmental management and maintenance. If possible, discussions should begin at the concept stage of a project to involve all parties in parts of the Environmental Impact Assessment. A knowledgeable contractor can assist a proponent in assessing impacts to cost of proposed commitments and potential conditions of approval, with the help of project planning.

Early engagement of the construction contractor cannot be underestimated – the earlier, the better. This involves collaboration between the client and the contractor. Having one united team working towards shared outcomes. Such an approach will benefit the overall project delivery, as well as environmental management.

Integrating environmental management practices throughout the entire mine life-cycle

Mining companies should incorporate environmental issues into the whole life of the mine. We’re seeing in WA good examples of this where the Environmental Managers and Mine Closure specialists are willing to integrate and share knowledge with mine planners and managers.

• 6 Sustainable Initiatives You Need to Implement in Your Mining Operations

• How-To: Implement Sustainable Development Principles in Mining

When the environmental team and operations team work together, it means good, concrete advice and be provided to mine planners; as well as ensure that environmental issues are considered in the process. It really does drill down to the integration of operations and those in the environmental teams.

Creating a community

When people talk about sustainability, generally they think of environmental issues – about saving water, reducing energy etc. But the notion of sustainably is all encompassing, both economic and social, as well as the environment. Mining companies should be trying to make a difference to all the pillars of sustainability. This can be achieved by creating a vision of a to create a safe, high quality community –oriented environment that promotes good behavior, and allows staff (miners) to relax between their work sessions, but also tries to discourage anti-social behavior.”

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Jul 20, 2021

British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars

3 min
The ever-increasing need for electric vehicles is mounting pressure on British Lithium as the 2035 deadline inches closer

The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change. 

It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.

British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad. 

Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe 

After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company. 

“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”

Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector. 

Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial. 

Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production

“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”

The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction. 

Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably. 

“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.

“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”

Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK. 

“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”

Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.

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