Newmont Mining: Refuge Chambers Helping to Protect Miners
Working in underground mines is a very dangerous job. Miners are exposed to potential accidents and hazards normal people could never imagine.
US-based Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM) is educating miners on the best course of action should they ever need to evacuate an area, especially underground.
Newmont’s Health and Safety Manager at the company’s Subika underground mine in Ghana explains an alternative route –refuge chambers.
“Emergency preparedness and response is an integral part of Newmont’s safety management systems,” says Chuck Burns.
“In an underground environment, it is paramount that our emergency plans address the hazards associated with fires and other incidents that can result in irrespirable atmospheres, or situations in which miners can’t breathe without the assistance of a breathing apparatus. Refuge chambers are central to our underground emergency preparedness plans.”
Newmont’s refuge chambers are self-contained underground capsules made of armored steel. They provide miners with safe shelter from underground emergencies such as fires, flooding and lethal gas.
Once in the chamber, miners are advised to sit and wait until rescue crews arrive.
“As in most emergency situations where you find yourself unable to get out of an area, it is always best to stay put and wait for trained personnel to help you safely evacuate the area,” says Randy Squires, Senior Manager, Health and Safety, North America.
In addition to safety chambers, Newmont Mining is continuously training miners to respond to emergencies without hesitation. Frequent training makes it second nature.
“Drills and awareness training on refuge chambers are key components of our emergency preparedness,” explains Burns.
“As a result of this training, our miners know how to evacuate and where to evacuate depending on the emergency and where they are working in the mine.”
In keeping with its motto, "Our safety goal is zero harm," Newmont Mining provides miners with a safe working environment through extensive training protocols to minimize workplace accidents.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.