BAIE VERTE, NL -
Anaconda Mining knows there’s gold at Deer Cove on the Baie Verte Peninsula, but the challenge is getting it out of the ground – literally.
Unlike mining from hard rock, this gold was found in a streambed (known as a placer) — a first for both the company and in the province.
The deposit was first discovered in 1986; however, because it was difficult to access, it was left undeveloped. Until now.
Now, a new local resource — research interns from College of the North Atlantic — combined with modern technology, will help Anaconda drill into a new solution for developing the placer mine.
Supported by Mitacs – a non-profit national organization that builds partnerships between academia, industry and government to help develop research-based innovation in Canada – CNA students are helping the company devise a cost-effective mining process to extract gold from Deer Cove, while leaving the natural habitat largely intact. The first intern, from the Geomatics Engineering Technology at CNA’s Ridge Road campus in St. John’s, will begin this spring, with a second intern taking on the project after that.
This is the first Mitacs project in Newfoundland and Labrador to pair college interns with industry. Over several months, the interns will perform a feasibility study, map the sediment thickness, and perform laboratory tests.
“The challenge is to find a technology that’s appropriate for the environment,” said Dr. Michael Long, CNA’s Associate Vice President of Applied Research and Innovation. “The operations require a smaller-scale technology that’s less invasive, yet economically feasible for a company to use. The site has to be assessed before you decide on the kind of technology to deploy.”
The project could help Anaconda reduce costs, improve gold recovery, and extend the operating life of the mine, while creating more sustainable mining methods. It can also inform further research in similar environments.
“Applied research adds capacity, and helps us do things efficiently,” said Allan Cramm, Vice-President of Innovation and Development at Anaconda.
For the interns, the project brings hands-on experience with industrial research processes, including the decision-making skills needed for business.
“Students get experiential learning, and not just work-term placements,” said Long.
Mitacs projects give Anaconda the chance to do leading-edge research and development (R&D) they otherwise couldn’t support. In addition to its current work with CNA, Anaconda has also collaborated with Mitacs-supported researchers from Memorial University of Newfoundland for many years.
“I tell people that we may have 75 people on staff, but we have relationships with the college and university that gives us access to 27,000 people,” noted Cramm. “Innovation is high risk. Working with Mitacs helps us achieve research-based objectives with reasonable costs.”
Today, Anaconda is developing equipment based on research that could give them a unique ability to tap into previously inaccessible gold resources using sustainable approaches and the latest innovations. Cramm believes that improving innovation in the region is beneficial for all.
“It’s in our collective interest to keep mining active here and to invest in local talent.”
At a Glance
Anaconda Mining, with interns from College of the North Atlantic and Memorial University.
Cost-effective, yet environmentally sustainable, gold mining.
Collaborate with research interns from local colleges and universities.
Innovation in Atlantic Canada’s mining industry that is supported by local talent.
New technology that’s unique in the world.
College of the North Atlantic
Vice President Public Relations