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Innovation is happening every day in our industry with companies investing millions in R&D every year. At the same time, there is growing recognition that expediting change across the industry will require greater collaboration. The Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) has taken this concept and turned it into action by creating the Towards Zero Waste Mining (TZWM) innovation strategy. The goal of TZWM is the eventual elimination of mine waste and tailings and the radical reduction of mining’s environmental footprint.

Today, TZWM involves 40 mining companies and service providers – and that number is growing as some of Canada’s largest producers come on board. These companies are investing in the development and adoption of technologies that will greatly reduce mine waste and emissions at all stages of the mining life cycle.

As a starting point, TZWM is focused on: 

  • Replacing diesel-powered equipment with electric or renewable continuous mining technology to reduce energy use and emissions for underground mines.
  • Capturing lost energy by recovering heat loss during mineral processing.
  • Developing new environmental management technologies to minimize waste (tailings), treat waste water, track water quality in real-time and accelerate reclamation.
  • Improving ore reserve definition during exploration to minimize waste extraction during mining.

Government as a Partner in Mining Innovation:

Government support for TZWM will catalyze industry’s innovation investments, enabling the industry to turn promising opportunities into proven technologies. In June, MAC, CMIC and executives from Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, Goldcorp, IAMGOLD Corporation, New Gold and Hatch, discussed opportunities for industry and government to partner in mining innovation to achieve mutual goals. The event was an innovation roundtable with the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources and senior government officials from Natural Resources Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

There is strong alignment between what TZWM will accomplish and what the federal government is working to achieve through innovation: addressing climate change, establishing world-leading environmental practices, and providing Indigenous peoples and businesses with new and exciting opportunities.

For more information visit:
Photo taken at an innovation roundtable with Minister Carr and government officials on June 16, 2016.


Progress has been made in strengthening the tailings management requirements under MAC’s mandatory Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative. In June, MAC’s Board of Directors accepted several amendments to the TSM Tailings Management Protocol based on recommendations that were informed by internal and external reviews. 

Immediately following the Mount Polley tailings incident in August 2014, MAC’s Tailings Working Group initiated a full review of the tailings management components under TSM. In March 2015, MAC went a step further, striking an independent Task Force to perform an external review. The purpose of these reviews was to ensure that TSM’s requirements and guidance continued to reflect best practices in the safe operation and management of tailings facilities. In November 2015, the Task Force submitted its final report to MAC’s Board, containing 29 recommendations to strengthen the protocol and accompanying guides – all of which were accepted by the Board. 

This first round of changes address a number of the priority recommendations of the Task Force’s report, and introduce additional changes that were identified during MAC’s internal review process.

Highlights of the new changes include: 

  • Stronger audit requirements.
  • Action plans that outline how mines will achieve the minimum good practice performance level, which will be published in the annual TSM Progress Report
  • Ensuring that tailings management policy and commitments are communicated effectively and are well understood by employees with direct and indirect responsibility for the safety of tailings facilities.
  • Elevating responsibility for tailings management to the highest level of the company (i.e. Board of Directors). 

The development of these amendments involved experts on TSM and tailings management. MAC’s independent Community of Interest Advisory Panel also provided valuable input on how to address the Task Force’s recommendations. The Task Force has been notified of the changes made via an open letter from MAC and will be kept apprised of how MAC is progressing in addressing all of the remaining recommendations to the protocol and tailings guides. A second round of changes is expected to be brought to the MAC Board for decision in November 2016.


MAC has named Alexander (Al) Pritchard as the 2016 recipient of the Paul Stothart Memorial Scholarship in Mineral Economics, a $3,500 value. Al is currently studying a Master of Business Administration at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Engineering from Queen’s University.

The selection committee noted Al’s extensive work experience in the minerals industry and his strong academic achievements. Since 2006, Al has worked for Ottawa-based Sander Geophysics Ltd., presently in the area of Operations Management. He brings this technical experience in mineral exploration and development to his current MBA studies. Al cites his early interest in natural resources to having grown up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. His vision essay on the future of Canada’s mining industry focused on the opportunities that the Ring of Fire presents to his hometown and throughout the region of Northern Ontario. He expressed a particular interest in the socio-economic benefits responsible mineral development can bring to Aboriginal communities, and how it can lead to deeper, long-lasting relationships between mining companies and Aboriginal peoples.

On behalf of the selection committee, MAC congratulates Al for receiving the 2016 scholarship. As always, it is a pleasure to support current and future talent as they aspire to contribute their skills to the mining industry.

The scholarship was established in 2012 from the generosity of MAC member companies in memory of the late Paul Stothart, MAC’s former Vice President of Economic Affairs.

For more information about the scholarship, please visit:


For their innovative projects that raise the bar for corporate responsibility in the Canadian mining sector, Glencore’s Kidd Operations and Raglan Mine were recognized with 2016 TSM Excellence Awards. 

Glencore’s Raglan Mine was awarded the 2016 TSM Environmental Excellence Award for its successful use of renewable energy with its wind turbine and accompanying storage facility in northern Quebec, the largest in the province. In its inaugural year, the 3-megawatt wind turbine and storage facility has already saved 2.1 million litres of diesel and reduced GHG emissions by 5.85 kilotons. Based on these results, Glencore estimates that it will save more than $40 million in fuel-related costs over the projected 20-year life of the wind turbine. This successful pilot project could have transformative impacts across northern Canada, helping to pave the way for more widespread adoption of greener energy alternatives.

Glencore’s Kidd Operations was recognized with the 2016 TSM Community Engagement Excellence Award for helping local non-profits secure long-term sustainability through its Community Partnerships program in Timmins, Ontario. The success of the Community Partnerships program and its ability to measure social return on investment attracted the attention of Canada’s largest public-sector grantmaker, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). In 2015, Kidd and the OTF launched the $1 Million Kidd Operations–Ontario Trillium Foundation Legacy Fund. This partnership will see Kidd Operations and the OTF each investing $500,000 into the Fund, which will begin making grants when Kidd ceases operations.

A total of 23 nominations were submitted by mining companies that participate in the TSM initiative, a performance-based program whereby mining operations evaluate, manage and publicly report on critical environmental and social responsibilities. The selection committee, comprised of members from MAC’s national Community of Interest Advisory Panel, selected the finalists based on criteria such as innovation, involvement of and engagement with communities, and project outcomes. TSM performance was also considered as an indicator of the company’s ongoing commitment to corporate responsibility.

Renewable electricity smart-grid pilot demonstration at Glencore’s Raglan Mine in northern Quebec. 

(Left to Right) Steve Black, Mayor of the City of Timmins; Andrea Cohen Barrack, CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation; the Hon. Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines; and Tom Semadeni, former General Manager of Kidd Operations. Photo taken at the official announcement of the Legacy Fund.


There is widespread recognition of the positive role that infrastructure will play in Canada’s North in building healthy and vibrant communities, fostering sustainable economic development and enhancing trade. As governments, industries and communities seek the best ways to spur the building of critical infrastructure to achieve these objectives, many are pointing to the proposed Canada Infrastructure Bank as a potential solution. 

In 2015, MAC and several industry partners released a study that found that the costs to build base and precious metal mines were 2 to 2.5 higher in remote and northern regions of Canada as a direct result of the infrastructure deficit. The study identified several fiscal policies that governments could introduce to level the playing field for companies seeking to operate in Canada’s North. One of these measures was a northern infrastructure bank for mine-related infrastructure that also generate public benefits. MAC has pointed to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority as a successful model that the government can consider. 

More recently, the concept of a northern infrastructure bank has been gaining ground amongst Aboriginal and business organizations. In January, the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board made a similar recommendation in a report on northern infrastructure. Specifically, the Board called for a northern-specific fund to support the building of useful infrastructure that would not only benefit Indigenous communities and help the government achieve its social development goals, but would also facilitate economic development for communities across the North. 

Last month, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a new report, The Infrastructure that Matters Most. One of the five recommendations in the report is focused on using the proposed Canada Infrastructure Bank to enhance trade infrastructure investment in the North.

“As the government develops its promised infrastructure bank, there is an opportunity to use this new tool to provide more than just low-cost financing for municipal infrastructure projects.

An infrastructure bank could provide greater value by incentivizing private funding to underserved areas where there are gaps in Canada’s trade infrastructure, such as the lack of transportation infrastructure in the North, a barrier to accessing resources and getting them to markets.”

- Canadian Chamber of Commerce, The Infrastructure that Matters Most, June 2016 

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members account for most of Canada’s production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds, metallurgical coal, and mined oil sands, and are actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication.

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