Mar 12, 2021

Nordgold launches tailings monitoring system at Lefa

Nordgold
tailings management
Lefa
Technology
Daniel Brightmore
2 min
Nordgold
New satellite technology system set to improve environmental and safety monitoring at Guinea operation...

Norgold has implemented a new state-of-the-art monitoring system at its Lefa mine in Guinea. In line with the gold producer’s commitment to environmental stewardship, the new monitoring system uses satellite imagery processing algorithms to keep track of the condition of the mine’s tailings storage facilities to proactively identify potential risks. 

Developed by Swift Geospatial Solutions, a service provider experienced in change detection algorithms, it also allows the company to monitor community welfare by tracking community dynamics, including house building.

Additionally, the technology can help to monitor artisanal mining activities around Lefa’s current mining permit, allowing local management to better assess and prevent potential safety and security hazards.

Evgeny Tulubensky, Nordgold’s Chief Legal Officer and Director of ESG at Nordgold, commented: “We are very pleased to test this innovative tool, enabled by satellites, at our Lefa mine. It will help us to receive timely and relevant information about the condition of Lefa’s critical environmental infrastructure and the mine’s immediate surroundings. 

“Using this rich data, our aim is to continue reducing our impact on the natural environment and ensuring the sustainable development of local communities. Depending on the outcomes of this pilot, we will assess its viability for other Nordgold operations.”

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The Lefa mine’s license area currently spans more than 1,100 km2. The latest satellite technology enables cost-effective monitoring of this expanse with regular updates and is backed by a robust A.I. package. As part of the new system, Planet and SkySAT satellite platforms will be used to perform different tasks, both integrated within the Swift Geospatial Solutions online platform. All outputs are delivered through a custom-built web-application and dashboard environment.

Founded in 2007, Nordgold is an internationally diversified one-million-ounce gold producer with over 8,000 people operating a portfolio of ten mines (in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Russia and Kazakhstan) and a number of development and exploration projects in West Africa, Eurasia and the Americas. 

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Jun 30, 2021

Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech

Rio Tinto
ELYSIS
Decarbonisation
Alcoa
3 min
ELYSIS
Rio Tinto and Alcoa’s JV project ELYSIS has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint

Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.

ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production

ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.

The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.

The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).

The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.

The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.

ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.

ELYSIS technology at a glance:

  • The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
  • The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
  • In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
  • ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.

ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.

Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.

 

Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”

Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”

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