Black hawk mining - Cause of Gas Leak That Killed 2 Colorado Miners Is Sought

Gas LeakNovember 18, Monday, federal mine safety inspectors were trying to determine the cause of an accident that killed two miners and injured 20 others near the mountain town of Ouray in southwestern Colorado.

According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, a foreman and a miner at the Revenue Virginius Mine, which conducts underground gold and silver mining, were overcome by gas in an area where an explosive had been detonated.

Officials said, the fallen miners, identified as Nick Cappanno, 34, of Montrose, and Rick Williams, 59, of Durango, died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Mine rescue teams searching for the men detected fatal levels of the gas, and 20 miners were taken to hospitals, said Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for the mine safety agency. Nonetheless all have been released.

Star Mine Operations of Denver was the owner of the mine; the mine has been cited for many federal safety violations from the time when the company began operating it in 2011. A lot of of the violations involved the misuse of electrical equipment and machinery, or a failure to follow safety precautions, federal mine safety records show. On Oct. 22, which was the latest incident, federal inspectors cited the company for failing to secure gas cylinders safely and for using defective equipment.

According to the mine safety agency, the rate of workdays lost to nonfatal accidents at the mine was more than double the national average for each of the past two years. Rory Williams, the mine’s manager (not related to Rick Williams) did not return phone messages right after but according to The Watch Newspaper in Telluride, the defended the mine’s safety record. The miners who died were equipped with self-rescue and oxygen devices, Mr. Williams said at a news conference Sunday night. Equipment malfunction was not suspected as having played a role, he added. As of this year the two deaths brought the number of mining fatalities in the United States to 36.

Investigators were trying to gather into whether the mine was sufficiently ventilated.

Ellen Smith, the owner and managing editor of Mine Safety and Health News, which tracks mining accidents, said there did not appear to have been any warning signs of potential gas leaks. There were other concerns, she said. On four occasions this year, complaints about hazards were lodged, according to federal records.

Those complaints resulted in a single citation. But Ms. Smith said the fact that miners had repeatedly raised concerns was unusual, especially at a relatively new operation. Gas leaks are not rare in underground mining; however they do not usually cause as mugh deaths as blasts or cave-ins. Bruce Dial, a former federal mine inspector, said it was possible that the minors had encountered carbon monoxide that had lingered for years from previous mining operations. Another possibility, Mr. Dial said, was that carbon monoxide released by the mine’s own operations may have built up.

Cause of Gas Leak That Killed 2 Colorado Miners Is Sought

November 18, Monday, federal mine safety inspectors were trying to determine the cause of an accident that killed two miners and injured 20 others near the mountain town of Ouray in southwestern Colorado.

According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, a foreman and a miner at the Revenue Virginius Mine, which conducts underground gold and silver mining, were overcome by gas in an area where an explosive had been detonated.

Officials said, the fallen miners, identified as Nick Cappanno, 34, of Montrose, and Rick Williams, 59, of Durango, died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mine rescue teams searching for the men detected fatal levels of the gas, and 20 miners were taken to hospitals, said Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for the mine safety agency. Nonetheless all have been released.

Star Mine Operations of Denver was the owner of the mine; the mine has been cited for many federal safety violations from the time when the company began operating it in 2011.  A lot of of the violations involved the misuse of electrical equipment and machinery, or a failure to follow safety precautions, federal mine safety records show.

On Oct. 22, which was the latest incident, federal inspectors cited the company for failing to secure gas cylinders safely and for using defective equipment.

According to the mine safety agency, the rate of workdays lost to nonfatal accidents at the mine was more than double the national average for each of the past two years.

Rory Williams, the mine’s manager (not related to Rick Williams) did not return phone messages right after but according to The Watch Newspaper in Telluride, the defended the mine’s safety record.

The miners who died were equipped with self-rescue and oxygen devices, Mr. Williams said at a news conference Sunday night. Equipment malfunction was not suspected as having played a role, he added.

As of this year the two deaths brought the number of mining fatalities in the United States to 36.

Investigators were trying to gather into whether the mine was sufficiently ventilated.

Ellen Smith, the owner and managing editor of Mine Safety and Health News, which tracks mining accidents, said there did not appear to have been any warning signs of potential gas leaks.

There were other concerns, she said. On four occasions this year, complaints about hazards were lodged, according to federal records.

Those complaints resulted in a single citation. But Ms. Smith said the fact that miners had repeatedly raised concerns was unusual, especially at a relatively new operation.

Gas leaks are not rare in underground mining; however they do not usually cause as mugh deaths as blasts or cave-ins.

Bruce Dial, a former federal mine inspector, said it was possible that the minors had encountered carbon monoxide that had lingered for years from previous mining operations. Another possibility, Mr. Dial said, was that carbon monoxide released by the mine’s own operations may have built up.


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Guy Scott Tells Mining and Energy Conference: We Are an Intelligent Government

The introduction of Statutory Instrument No.32 is not meant to “kill” the mining sector or is it a form of exchange controls but is aimed at ensuring that the proceeds from the mineral resources benefits the Zambian people said VICE President Guy Scott.
Government would ensure that taxes remitted by companies were thoroughly scrutinized so that they could fully benefit the nation said Dr Scott.
“Some sectors feel we are going backwards by claiming that we are introducing exchange controls but I want to tell you that we are an intelligent Government that wants to ensure that the resources are properly managed through the implementation of the SI 32,” he said.
Dr Scott said while speaking during the 3rd Zambia International Mining and Energy Conference (ZIMEC) in Lusaka yesterday, it was sad that more money continued to leave the country through tax avoidance hence the need to intensify policies that would ensure transparency in the industry.
Issues globally with the on-going Group of eight nations meeting on taxation and transparency in Northern Ireland being timely as it would assist countries like Zambia find a lasting solution to the challenges Dr Scott further added.
“We are very in line with this meeting and we expect that we will have increased transparency and access to offshore bank accounts,” he said.
Government would continue to create an enabling environment for investors in the mining and energy industries saying the sectors were key in national economic development, Dr Scott said.
He further said that investors should also ensure they ploughed back to the communities they operated in through job creation and other corporate social responsibility activities.
“Government was not elected by the people of Zambia to extract 750,000 tonnes of copper a year but to see to it that the minerals are beneficial to the people of Zambia. If it was important, we would not allow for the extraction of minerals but we allowed it because the minerals are supposed to provide jobs, taxation and other multiplier benefits,” Dr Scott said.
He said the mining industry should support local industries by buying locally produced equipment unlike the current trend where all equipment’s was imported.
“We want locally value-added content in the inputs used by the mines. We want local industries to process steel boards and other equipment used by the mines, that way more jobs will be generated from the mining industries.
“It does not make sense again for local enterprises to import equipment and supply it to the mines but it is better to have foreign firms that are established in the country and are engaging local people to produce the equipment,” he said.
The conferences which was held two days aimed at creating a platform for stakeholders in the energy and mining sectors to engage on issues that would enhance the mining and energy sectors.
Over 300 delegates and mining giants including Mopani copper mines Rio Tinto, First Quantum Minerals, among others was attracted by the conference organized by AME Trade in partnership with Association of Zambian Mineral Exploration Companies.
The mine would continue to invest in Zambia, with the mining firm investing over US$2billion to date, Mopani Copper mines chief executive officer Danny Callow said.
“Mopani will remain a committed partner in Zambia as demonstrated through the expansion drive and infrastructure upgrade we have embarked on,” he said.
Mr Callow said copper production was expected to increase to 1.5 million tonnes by 2016 due to expansion projects being undertaken by various mines across the country adding that the expected production capacity would only be sustainable if reliable energy and good road and railway infrastructure were enhanced.
He said Government and the mining firms should continue to dialogue on various policy issues if the industry was to be fully developed.

Investment Banks Moving To Neutral on Mining Stocks

Investment Banks Moving To Neutral on Mining Stocks
At least for a few investment banks like JP Morgan Cazenove and Citigroup, the negative tides for mining stocks appear to shifting towards the positive as they have changed their views from bearish to neutral.
JP Morgan Cazenove is still taking a guarded position towards mining stocks but sees companies within the industry aggressively cutting costs which is one of the reasons why mining stocks rise.
Citi analysts stay negative in their short-term outlook of the sector except furthermore observe some positivity in mining stocks in six months.
“We believe that the large miners, such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, are now reaching yield support as they are trading on higher yields than the market,” Citi said.
Eric Lemieux, mining analyst with Laurentian Bank Securities in Montreal, remains bullish on mining stocks, saying that the commodities super cycle has not ended and despite slowdowns in the economy, there is still strong metals consumption.
The hit that commodity prices and miners have taken in 2013 may not necessarily be a bad thing, he said.
“With this downturn, in the scope of things, I think it’s positive for the industry because we did have a period of micro inflation where costs had gone up tremendously in terms of labor and engineering firms; it just overheated,” Lemieux said. “This retreat and decline in commodity prices, although it hurts, there’s some positives here in terms of cost settling down.”
JP Morgan mentioned a bottoming out in Chinese commodity import volumes and Chinese commodity inventories coming off recent highs as a possible catalyst for stronger metals demand.
While it boils down to consumption and a need for commodities for Lemieux. 
“If you look at what’s going on in Asia, even though there’s been a slowdown in China, they’re still consuming, they still have to modernize,” Lemieux said. “I have a sense that things will eventually bounce back up.
“I think the end game is that commodities have some way to go and I wouldn’t be neutral,” he added.
 

Khandeparkar Panel to Investigate More into Illegal Mining in Goa

Helping the government arrest illegalities and prepare a roadmap for future of mining industry in the state is the Goa government-appointed Justice R M S Khandeparkar committee on illegal mining.  He has decided to probe further the illicit tapping of iron ore in Goa.
“The terms of reference of the Committee are very clear. They are not just restricted to findings of Justice M B Shah Committee….It also includes the assistance to the government to decide on future of proper mining in the state,” Khandeparkar said.
The Committee will not only go through the findings of Shah Commission, but will also probe several aspects which were left untouched by them he said.
“The Shah Commission has not been able to do many things because of absence of material on record,” the former High Court judge said.
“Whatever they have left out would also be investigated,” he said.
The state government had informed Khandeparkar Committee to investigate more into the findings of Justice M B Shah Commission.  This has pegged illegal mining in the state to Rs 35,000 crore.
The claim of illegality was refused by the mine owners.  These mine owners had stated that they were not given hearing as a part of natural justice.
Khandeparkar said that he has already approved the first draft of the notice which would be issued for the public asking them to come forward with any information regarding illegal mining in Goa.
He said that everyone would be heard during the course of the investigation by the Committee.
“Whoever wants to be heard would be heard,” he said responding to a question whether mine owners would be called for hearing.
Khandeparkar said the first meeting of the Committee is yet to be held as they are waiting for the infrastructure to be put in place.
“The Committee will decide how to go ahead with the investigations,” he said, adding that there is no deadline set for submitting the final report to the government.
The former High Court Judge, however, said that the committee will continue with its investigation but will wait for the final judgement from SC on the mining matter.
“For forming any final conclusion we should have proper respect for the judiciary (SC),” he said.

Making Progress with Biodiversity for Mining Rehabilitation

The pioneers in progressive mine rehabilitation is one of the greatest assets in departmentalizing mining stereotypes. Environmentally friendly procedures and more and more miscellaneous ecosystems are becoming the standard as companies regard local ecosystem rehabilitation as a part of the on-going mining process.


To better understand these progressive rehab techniques, here are some words from Idemitsu Australia Resources Corporate Sustainability and Environment Manager Dr. Jan Green and Parsons Brinckerhoff Team Manager, Alex Cockerill.

“There’s an increasing focus on establishing complex and diverse natural ecosystems as part of mine rehabilitation,” she says. “With progressive rehab, it takes a much shorter time after the mine closes before the original flora and fauna can take over naturally.”


Her existing project is a 6- to 7-year-old mine that will sooner or later go back to a box gum woodland with white box gum trees.  She explains that one of the biggest challenges is keeping up with the mining as it happens.


A strict schedule of clearing between summer and autumn allows species, for example, to nest in the winter and raise young in the spring.  Cockerill says the team salvages hollow logs and timber for the provision of supplementary fauna habitats within the rehabilitation, and collects the seeds of local species of plant from the adjoining forest for propagation in a nursery.


By means of local species, it provides them a better chance of growing for the reason that the topsoil is recreated with greater accurateness. Sequentially, local fauna, from invertebrates to birds and mammals, are attracted to familiar landscapes.


“With the progressive establishment of increasingly complex vegetation structure and diversity these ecosystems encourage more local species back onto the mine site,” Cockerill explains.


“It’s then supported by biodiversity monitoring to target measurable performance criteria throughout the life of the mine and rehab,” Dr. Green says.


Dr. Green believes progressive rehab should be the norm and there’s good reason for that.


“We are mining in a state forest and to rehabilitate progressively is part of the approval conditions,” she admits, “But progressive rehab is better in terms of the environment and community acceptance.”

Deserted mines and plateaued soil heaps are not natural and can take expanded time to renew because of erosion. But gradually rehabilitated mines have extra defiance to erosion.  This is because spoil piles are benched with draining slopes and layered with mulch.

“Importantly, progressive rehabilitation limits the time the ecologically valuable topsoils are stockpiled”, Cockerill says. “Reusing these topsoils progressively will maximise the survival of soil biota and the potential natural regeneration from the forests, soil and seed bank.”


But the biggest challenge may be communication. It is difficult to fight misinformation, especially when it comes to mining and the environment explains Dr. Green. “The most important thing you can do is to engage with the local community, the regulators and interested groups to design and deliver a landscape that everyone has had the opportunity to discuss,” she says.