Thursday 10 May 2012

Today the UBC Mining Research Field Trip had another early start, leaving an approximately 7am. Following a 2-3 hour drive, the group arrived at Soma Coal open pit and underground operations owned by Turkish Coal Enterprises. Turkish Coal Enterprises is owned by the government of Turkey. The town of Soma is relatively small and is located near the ancient fortress and temples situated at Pergamon.
After a winding road to site, we received the nice surprise that we would be provided the opportunity to go underground and see their longwall operations. The tour schedule included underground operations, open pit operations and quick overview of the wash plant. The entire operation produces 15 million tonnes of coal per year and is critical in producing the feed for a local power plant.
Upon arriving at site, the group received all necessary underground PPE and an introductory information session including safety information. The equipment provided included hard hat, glasses, coveralls, head lamp , muckers and miner’s belt. We also received a demonstration in proper use of the self rescuer provided.
The underground portion of the mine we visited was operated by a contractor under contract to recover 15 million tonnes of coal (of which 7 mllion has already been recovered). The mining method varies from face to face between mechanized longwall and conventional drill and blast longwall. The underground tour commenced at one of several portals and the group walked down the decline alongside one of the main conveyors. We stopped at a longwall face and were able to witness the longwall shear in action, which was a tremendous learning experience. We also got to see firsthand how hydraulic supports are used in the longwall method.
After lunch the tour continued to the open pit area of the mine. The open pit area includes 6 separate areas varying in stripping ratio from 10:1 to 20:1. The particular section we visited was recovering a single seam 30 metres in thickness at a stripping ratio of 10:1. The open pit uses 7 shovels and a fleet of trucks utilizing both mechanical and electric drive trucks.
The tour concluded which a quick overview of the wash plant. The plant produces 4 products of various sizes. The plant utilizes screening and heavy media separation to recover the clean coal.
To conclude, the UBC Mining Research Field Trip would like to thank Soma Coal for the opportunity to visit and learn from their operation. It provided an unforgettable experience and a tremendous learning opportunity.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

May 8

04:30 Wake up
05:30 Bus leaves
09:00 Arrive at Kislidag Gold Mine
10:00 Open pit tour
10:45 Heap leach pad and ADR plant
11:30 Efemcukuru Concentrate Processing Plant tour
12:15 Lunch
12:45 PR thank you/ Wrap up
13:15 Bus departs Kislidag for Izmir

Today we visited Eldorado Gold’s Kislidag Mine. After a 4 hour early morning bus trip up a mountain we arrived at the mine and were greeted by the public relations department. After a very brief welcome and introduction we went into the mine. To get to the open pit we travel through the crushing plant and end up at the open pit lookout. The mine doesn’t allow visitors into the pit so this was the extent of the tour; from here we could see the entire mining operation. The mine was very impressive in how clean the pit walls were, the presplitting was very effective at wall control. The current mining fleet consists of 15 785 haul trucks, 2 hitachi shovels, 1 990 Loader, 3 blasthole drills, 1 presplitting drill and various support equipment. The mine has 3 production streams depending on blast control and grade. Well blasted ore is sent directly to the leach pad, poorly blasted ore is sent to the crushers and waste is sent to the waste rock facility.

After a while lookout point, we were met by Veli Gokdere, the production manager at the Kislidag operation. He took us through a tour of the heap leach pad where crushed ore from the mine was processed. The pad was on a much larger scale than what we have seen before; it must have been over 1km across and made up of 6 lifts, each 10 meters high. Right next to the leach pad was the ADR plant where the leach solution was processed to produce the solution for electro-winning. It was great to see that environmental protection was taken as the first priority in the design of the facility. Due to the size of the group and time restrictions, we were not able to scale to the top of the heap leach pad.
Up next was the tour of the concentrate processing facility for the concentrate from Efemcukuru. Veli took us through the entire process of converting the 100 g/t concentrate into a solution for electro-winning. This plant was very unique; it is one of the few plants in the world that uses direct leaching with no intermediate carbon adsorption process.  Bern was also particularly interested in the ISAMILL that was used for regrinding the concentrate before leaching. Overall, it was a great tour. Veli was very knowledgeable and was able to effectively answer all our questions. I even recalled that the processors offered him a job to teach at UBC at one point.

The mine tour ended with a presentation on the social aspects of operating the Kislidag mine. The mine had a 10 year permitting process in which the mine was hotly contested by local and international environmental groups. The opposition to the project was abated by allowing site tours to all interested parties and this practice continues today. In fact while we were wrapping up the tour there was a community group there that was finishing a tour. Overall the Kislidag Gold Mine is a world class operation that is operated at the highest standards and may be considered a model mine for the gold mining industry.  Considering the last two site visits, it is safe to say that Eldorado and its Turkish subsidiary Tuprag operate to the highest standards.

Monday 7 May 2012

May 7

Today we visited Eldorado’s Tuprag Efemςukuru (Efem-chukuru) gold mine.  After our tour bus made its way up a narrow road that winds up a vineyard-covered hillside, where we were received by Richard Boffey, the mine’s general manager.  Richard gave us a presentation outlining the mine’s history and operational background. 

It was fascinating to learn that mining of the orebodies at Efemςukuru started several centuries ago during the times of Roman rule. Throughout the initial construction stages of the underground operations, workers were surprised by the discovery of large voids and ancient timber sets.  Roman mining took place primarily in the fault zones of the ore body and extended to an impressive depth from surface of 120m.  As any mining engineer can appreciate, learning that the ore removed by the Romans dropped Efemςukuru’s initially estimated reserves by 20,000 ounces must have been bitter sweet. 

According to Richard it has taken nearly 20 years to finally bring the mine into production.  Despite support from four villages close to the mine, opposition from anti mining groups in Izmir prevented the mine from going into production.  Eventually permits were obtained and the mine went into production.  The mine itself showcased the pride that the workers take in their work environment.  The underground workings were clean and all services were hung up in hangers.  The mill itself was very clean and everything seemed to be logical and practical. The Knelson CVD was of significant interest to the head of our department, Bern Klein, who noted that it was one that is rarely used throughout the industry. Our tour guides from the mine and mill showcased their knowledge of the site and technical knowledge in general.

The rich history of Turkey and what we saw today as a direct association with mining, has ensured us that choosing Turkey as the location of our research trip has already paid off.

Sunday 6 May 2012

05 May 2012

 Saturday was spent touring some of the famous ancient ruins that Turkey is famous for. The bus left from Izmir at 8 am en-route to Ephesus, which was an hour drive to the south. Ephesus hosts an amazing collection of Greek and Roman ruins that are very well preserved. Ephesus is famous for the Temple of Artemis as well as its famous library of celcus. Ephesus is one of the 7 churches mentioned in the book of revelation as well as being one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

After touring Ephesus, we moved on to the small hill top town of Şirince.  The town was originally called “Cirkince” meaning ‘rather ugly,’ in an effort to remain hidden from the outside world.  It was later renamed Şirince, meaning ‘pretty town’ which is a much more accurate label for the charming town.  The group split into various groups taking in the old-city culture by sampling the local wines, horse-back riding, eating lunch at small, authentic restaurants and just walking around. Once the group had seen enough of the town we jumped on the bus and headed back to Izmir where we enjoyed a group dinner. Tomorrow is scheduled as an off-day where people are going to either head out to a beach, tour the market, or enjoy what else Izmir has to offer.

Saturday 5 May 2012

04 MAY 2012 - Koza Gold

May 4. 2012 With an early start the UBC Mining Research Trip team was off to view Ovacik, the pioneer gold mine in Turkey, operated by Koza Gold Operations.This mine is located 100 km North of Izmir close to the city of Bergama, Turkey. The deposit was discovered in 1989 and the current reserve estimation indicates a mine life extending to 2016, not considering current exploration. This mine began as an open pit mine and by 2007 open pit operations were completed. Since then, the mine has progressed to underground methods utilizing both cut and fill as well as sublevel caving. Production is fully mechanized and the mine development progresses in a top-down method. Excavated areas are backfilled and drift development support consists of standard rock bolt, shotcrete and mesh support standards. The extracted ore is transported to a stockpile located in the completed pit and then hauled to the ROM stockpile. The milling process consists of a standard crush and grind circuit with a rod mill operating in open circuit and a ball mill operating in closed circuit with a cyclone. The cyclone overflow is fed to the CIP circuit for gold extraction. Cyanide destruction following gold recovery is completed through the INCO SO2 process with the resulting cyanide concentration measuring substantially less than government regulations. The Ovacik gold mine has made an extensive effort to minimize their overall impact on the environment, with great success. Our tour consisted of a extensive presentation covering the safety regulations, geological characteristics, mine and mill parameters, environmental commitments and the history of the site. Following this, we were provided with a tour of the tailings management facility as well as the open pit and laydown areas. Following a delicious lunch, we were given an extensive tour of the mill and control room, before departing. We were very impressed with the level of commitment that Koza Gold has shown in regard to responsible mining practice that has helped pave the way for the future of gold mining in Turkey. Thank you to Koza Gold for hosting us and contributing to the the success of the UBC Mining Research Field Trip 2012.

Thursday 3 May 2012

Our first day and a half in Turkey were eventful ones.  After arriving at the hotel in Turkey at 2am local time the entire class, completely awake due to the 10 hour time change, decided to go for snacks.  With no commitments to mine tours the following day students had the opportunity to sleep in or take in what Istanbul, a city of 16 million, had to offer.

Everyone was up at 8am ready to go!  Some of the sites visited include, the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the grand bazaar, Topkapi Palaca and an underground water reservoir.  After a full day in Istanbul it was time to move on to Bandirma in preparation for our first mine tour.  After breaking off in separate groups to experience Istanbul we all reconvened at the ferry terminal for our trip to Bandirma at 6pm.

Upon arriving in Bandirma we checked into our hotel and went out for a late dinner.  Tomorrow morning we will be heading to Koza Gold's Ovacik mine (open pit gold) for a mine and plant tour.  It will be an early morning (5am!) however everyone is super excited to finally go on some mine tours!

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Biography: Bryan Strahl

Bryan working for the Pacific Northern Railroad

Bio: Bryan was born in Chilliwack, British Columbia on April 11th, 1988.  Bryan’s great grandparents are from Germany and Swedish descent and arrived in Canada in the early 1900’s.  His grandfather, father and uncles ran a logging company out of Agassiz BC, until Bryan was the age of 5.  After logging Bryan’s father went into equipment handling for other logging and mining operations, with home-base still in Chilliwack.  Bryan’s uncles went into retirement and politics.  To this day, Bryans family still remains involved with politics.  After graduating from Sardis Secondary School in 2006, Bryan took his first year of Engineering at the University College of Fraser Valley.   After one year, Bryan transferred into the UBC Mining Engineering Department and now, is planning to graduate in May 2012.  Throughout his schooling, Bryan has had the great opportunity to work for the rail transportation industry and various mining companies. 
Why He Went Into Mining: “I choose mining engineering because it provides unique and challenging problems, work outside of the office and has a wide variety of career options including: becoming mine planners and designers, consultants for tunneling operations (for road, rail, hydro-electric, water supply or sewerage works), operations managers, technical specialists (eg. rock mechanics, drilling and blasting, mine machinery or ventilation), investment analysts and advisers, researchers, or general managers and mine managers. To prepare for such a career, students such as myself cover a broad range of interesting subjects such as mining technology, rock mechanics, ventilation, geology, metallurgy, surveying, economics and finance, management, health and safety, environmental principles and computer applications. 
Once in the UBC mining engineering program, I became very interested in underground rock mechanics and metallurgy.  Although at first, they may seem mutually exclusive, both career choices put myself in important and challenging positions within the industry.“

Work Experience:
·       Pacific Northern Railway (PNR) Contractors – BC and Alberta
·       Xstrata Technology – Vancouver
·       Goldcorp (Musselwhite Mine) – Ontario
·       New Gold (New Afton) – Kamloops, BC

Future Work: My first job in industry will be for New Gold at their New Afton Operation as an underground mine engineer.  I am very excited to start work and apply my skills because underground mining engineers can be involved with coordinating mining activities, maintenance scheduling for all equipment, short/ long term mine planning, scheduling, rock mechanics and design.

Travel Experience: China, Singapore, Malaysia, United States, Across Canada, Holland, Belgium, France, Japan.

Research Trip Responsibilities:  “As mine contact representative, my job is to coordinate mine tours in order to justify research trip status.  Though I have accounted many challenges including: language barriers, busy signals, time differences and establishing contacts, I have been able to coordinate six mine tours for our 2012 Graduating Class Research Trip.  The tours include (one) Undergound Gold Mine, (two) Open Pit Gold Mines, (one) Open Pit Coal Mine, (one) Marble-Slab Quarry and (one) Porcelain/Glass Factory and Quarry. “ Other responsibilities include arranging funding from our generous sponsors, meal planning with the mines and helping with executive decisions in many trip plans.”

The UBC Mining 2012 Research Field Trip to Turkey would not be where it is today if not for the efforts of Bryan Strahl. His self-motivation, perseverance and professionalism have fueled the class as a whole in achieving its goal of going to Turkey to visit mines operating in a different place and culture.