Technical Sessions that Enlighten

The SME Minnesota Conference is proud to present technical sessions hosted by some of the leading innovators and technology from the industry.


Opening Plenary

Tuesday, April 18, 2023
10:00am - 11:30am

The LKAB Transformation – The Future of CO2-Free Iron

Tristan Jones, Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB

Sweden is consistently ranked near the top of any list of the world’s most environmentally–friendly countries. It has a native population that still uses reindeer herding as its primary means of supporting itself. As a people, the Swedes have a clear view of how they feel the world should be, and an expectation that others will not impinge upon their rights. They enforce this vision with strong regulation and some of the highest carbon taxes in the entire world. It is in this socio–political climate that Luossavaara Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB) owns and operates both of the world’s highest producing underground iron mines, the Kiruna mine and the Malmberget mine, which use a highly mechanized and automated version of sublevel caving to extract around 42 Mtpy of high-grade run–of–mine ore. The company also operates an 8–10 Mtpy surface mine named Svappavaara. In this mining environment, the cornerstone to LKAB’s strategy for the future is a switch to CO2-free iron production. It requires a vast investment in the future of the company, not only through capital construction and preparation, but through fundamental research and development. It requires new mines operating at depths of up to 6200 ft (1900 m), at production rates higher than ever before. It requires a new processing methodology based on hydrogen and green electricity. It requires an entirely new way of looking at the business of iron ore. This presentation discusses how LKAB’s switch to CO2–free iron will totally transform the company, the business, and lead to a general transformation of all of northern Europe.

ValdezTristan has a PhD in mining engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla and degrees in geology and GIS. He has worked in underground lead, coal and iron mines in the public and private sectors of the mining industry, as well as in academia. Since 2014, he has been living and working in Sweden, and started working for LKAB in 2017. He is currently a specialist mining engineer leading several projects related to the strategic planning of LKAB’s mining operations, including expanding the Ki runa and Malmberget mines, taking the Svappavaara surface mine underground for the first time, and opening a new greenfield project called Per Geijer.

Sponsored by
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Processing | Ballroom 1

Sponsored by Maggoteaux Inc.

Session Chair: Jon Maki, Cleveland Cliffs – United Taconite

1:00 PM
Iron Ore for a Changing Ironmaking Landscape

Joseph Poveromo; Raw Materials & Ironmaking Global Consulting, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States

Iron Ore for a changing ironmaking landscape will start by examining the shift from traditional BF/BOF steel production to DRI/scrap/EAF steel production. Iron ore supply for the growing DRI sector and for other alternative ironmaking processes will be outlined followed by the role payed by iron ore in reducing CO2 emissions in BF/BOF steel production. The emphasis will be on North America but a global perspective will be provided.


1:30 PM
Advanced Metallurgical Characterisation of Direct Reduction Pellets – A Summary of the Last Three Decades at Corem

Mathieu Dube, Michel Garant, and Guylaine Laforest; Corem, Quebec, Quebec, Canada

Metallurgical characterisation is required to predict the performance of a particular Direct Reduction feedstock in the reduction processes. Such evaluation normally includes the measurement of reducibility, disintegration during reduction, sticking tendency and DRI mechanical resistance. Numerous test procedures, either international standards or in-house, are being used by DR feedstock suppliers and DR furnace operators. Most tests, done under isothermal reducing conditions and constant gas composition, are mainly used to track the consistency of a product and have been designed to be easy to reproduce between laboratories. The reduction behavior of iron ore pellets in gas-based DR shaft processes has been studied at COREM since the late 80s. At that time, COREM, in collaboration with ArcelorMittal Mines Canada (former Quebec Cartier Mining) and ArcelorMittal Long Products Canada (former ISPAT Sidbec Inc.), developed a new DR characterization test called the R180. This test is a non-isothermal laboratory test which has been shown to be a better representation of gas-solids counter-current reactions occurring in an industrial DR shaft than isothermal tests. Since then, the bustle gas temperature of Direct Reduction furnaces was significantly increased thanks to the coating technology. An up-dated test, the Corem RC (for Reducibility Clustering), was then developed to reproduce more accurately the actual operating conditions of the DR furnace. More lately, the use of hydrogen, for DR reduction, has gained interest within the industry and further test-upgrade would be required. This presentation will review the last 30 years of DR pellet characterization test development at Corem that have been put in place to support R&D efforts in the understanding and improvement of DR Pellet performance in direct reduction furnaces.


2:00 PM
Optimization in Mineral Processing Using Orthogonal Experimental Design Methodology

Weiguo Xie, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, United States

Under highly competitive environment, it is important to fully realize the potential of mineral processing to maximize products and minimize wastes especially with stringent environmental constraints. However, there is lack of systematic approach to perform the optimization in Mineral Processing. An optimization technique based on the orthogonal experimental design methodology has been developed to systematically improve and reach the optimal target with multiple factors and multiple levels simultaneously. Three case studies will be used as illustrative examples to demonstrate this methodology including i) turbulence model development for flotation cells, ii) water usage optimization in a mineral processing circuit, iii) maximization of flotation concentrate tonnage with constraints of the flotation tailing water tonnage and meanwhile consider the energy usages on SAG mill and ball mills. This novel optimization technique is very powerful with significant time saving and systematic improvement of the optimization. It can be envisaged that this technique will have more applications in mineral processing optimizations in the future.


2:30 PM


3:00 PM
Innovative Applications of Fine-Sizing in Iron Ore – From Tailings to DR Grade Concentrate

Jobe Wheeler; Derrick Corporation, Buffalo, New York, United States

This presentation reviews the basic principles of fine-sizing iron ore focusing on the difference between screens and other types of classification. Various types of fine-sizing classification are discussed with their influences on other unit operations (i.e., grinding, magnetic separation, flotation). Case studies of recent applications of fine screening for increased iron recovery and the production of DR Grade concentrates are presented to demonstrate how these principles are applied in innovative flow sheet designs.


3:30 PM
Western Mesabi Iron Resource Futures and Next-Generation Technologies and New Iron Products

Rod Johnson, Sara Post, Matt Mlinar, Shashi Rao, Basak Anameric, and Brett Spigarelli ; UMD Natural Resources Research Institute, Coleraine, Minnesota, United States

The characterization program that was initiated through the LCCMR-funded project “Western Mesabi Iron Resource Futures'' project has been continued through a new LCCMR-funded project titled “Next-Generation Technologies and New Iron Products”. Drill core and three bulk samples of partially oxidized, oxidized, and siderite-rich iron formation have been acquired for detailed characterization and process development with the goal of generating iron products for alternative use in other applications. This presentation will discuss what was learned in the first study and how Natural Resources Research Institute’s unique metallurgical expertise will be leveraged to demonstrate new metallic iron products and characterize their feasibility and market acceptance.


4:00 PM
The European Iron Ore Market in Times of War and Transition

Anton Lof, RMG Consulting

EU is increasing the pressure on local steel producers to reduce CO2. At the same time Russia’s war on Ukraine is decreasing the amount of suitable material for green steel in Europe. Against a global increased demand of iron ore, and especially high-grade iron ore, how will the iron and steel industry in Europe react. Who will supply the iron ore, and from where will iron ore be sourced?

Environmental – Waters | Ballroom 2

Sponsored by Barr Engineering Co.

Session Chair: Tracy Muck, Northeast Technical Services, Inc.

1:00 PM
Water Balance Modeling to Help Your Mine Weather the Storms

Brian Bellmore; Barr Engineering Co., Duluth, Minnesota, United States

The management of mine water must consider the variability in climatic cycles to maintain safe operation. The assessment of the mine water management system typically relies on event-based models to understand performance during a specific regulatory precipitation event. Water balance modeling should also assess facilities for season trends such as extended wet cycles. Commonly occurring wet cycles can sometimes place a greater demand on containment systems than less frequent design storm events. This
presentation will discuss simple modeling methods for mine water assessment and include an application of these concepts to a limited-discharge water management system.


1:30 PM
Sulfate Removal of a Mining Pit Lake by Chemical Precipitation Technology

Meijun Cai, Sara Post, Shashi Rao, Lucinda Johnson, Chan Lan Chun, and George Hudak; UMD Natural Resources Research Institute, Duluth, Minnesota, United States

Mine pit lakes tend to have high sulfate. To prevent the overflow of the lakes, lake water is drained to natural water bodies, where high sulfate levels may adversely impact aquatic biota. A trailer-based chemical precipitation system was tested in a wastewater treatment plant to examine the feasibility of this technology in the sulfate reduction of pit lake water. This facility treats domestic wastewater, where the pit lake water is used as the drinking water. The field pilot trial was operated at the flow rate of 1.5 gallons/minute to reduce sulfate levels from 150-350 mg/L to 10-150 mg/L. A pretreatment was tested to reduce barium sulfate scale formation in the reaction tank.


2:00 PM
Surviving and Inspection

Russell Novotny; Trinity Consultants, Oakdale, Minnesota, United States

As part of its educational series on environmental management and reporting, Trinity Consultants is pleased to help clients navigate current enforcement trends within Minnesota, and prepare for an environmental regulatory inspection or audit. In this session, Trinity Consultants will highlight recent state/federal enforcement initiatives that are important to facility personnel responsible for managing day-to-day environmental compliance activities in air pollution, water quality, waste generation and chemical management. Trinity experts will provide useful tips and experiences in preparing for these state-specific inspections and enforcement initiatives covering a variety of regulatory topics, including, compliance strategies and common violations.


2:30 PM


3:00 PM
Direct Evapotranspiration Monitoring on Mine Lands

Megan Kelly, Steve Koski, Travis Bavin; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

Evapotranspiration is an important component of tailings basin water balance models. Indirect methods are typically used to estimate evapotranspiration, which are often based on limited datasets or modeled information and contain a large degree of uncertainty. The eddy covariance method provides a direct measurement of ecosystem-atmosphere exchange of water vapor. An eddy covariance system was installed at the U. S. Steel Minntac Tailings Basin during 2021 and 2022, and resulting data was evaluated in comparison with other common evaporation estimation approaches. This evaluation aims to establish more accurate evapotranspiration inputs for mine site water balances.


3:30 PM
Groundwater/Surface Water Interface – Emerging Regulatory Challenges and New Solutions

Todd Dejournett; Geosyntec Consultants, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, Karen Olson, Spencer Fane LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

The 2019 U.S. Supreme Court decision in County of Maui, Hawaii vs. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, et al., has opened the door for new groundwater quality compliance requirements for facilities where there is a functional equivalent of a direct discharge. While this issue is still in its early stages of development, it has the potential to impact operations where groundwater quality is influenced by industrial activities, such as mining and other surface impoundments. This presentation will describe the possible impacts on regulator requirements as this Supreme Court decision is implemented by the federal government and the individual states and present methods and technologies to characterize and mitigate compliance risks associated with the groundwater/surface water interface. This presentation will provide a summary of the Supreme Court decision and its possible regulatory impact on the mining and related industries. It will provide an update of how other cases have interpreted the decision and what the federal government has done in response. The use of groundwater modeling tools and methods to characterize compliance risks and evaluate monitored natural attenuation alternatives for compliance will be discussed. Finally, the application of semi-passive treatment technologies for mitigating compliance risks at the groundwater/surface water interface will be examined. The participants will also discuss how the technical professionals who will serve as consulting or testifying experts can best work with legal counsel.


4:00 PM
Installation and Operation of a Remote Well Monitoring System

Cam Trembath, PolyMet Mining Corp, Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, United States and Ted Hubbes, Braun Intertec Corp, Hibbing, Minnesota, United States

PolyMet with support from Braun Intertec installed a remote monitoring system in a series of 50 groundwater wells in 34 locations at their NorthMet project near Hoyt Lakes, MN to reduce monitoring costs, improve data quality, and reduce human health risks. Permit requirements for monthly static water level readings had previously required monitoring crews to travel in inclement weather over rough terrain to very remote locations. The presentation will include an overview of the monitoring system selected, lessons learned through installation and maintenance of the system, and an overview of the monitoring data it produces.
Tailings – Acid Rock | Ballroom 3

Session Chair: Paul Eger, Talon Metals

1:00 PM
Investigation of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Pore Gas Concentration Gradients at the Former LTV Taconite Tailing Basin

Steven Koski; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Hibbing, Minnesota, United States, Megan Kelly and Zach Wenz; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

Mine site water quality prediction models require an understanding of the weathering processes of mine waste features. For sulfide bearing mine wastes, such as a tailing basin, a key component is the extent of sulfide oxidation and acid neutralization reactions occurring with depth. The MN DNR collected shallow pore gas concentration data at the former LTV taconite tailing basin, along with complementary moisture content and solid phase analysis of tailings material. The exploratory data collected during this study allows a broad assessment of the oxygen consumption processes for use in simple sulfate release models and informing reclamation of mining areas.


1:30 PM
Tailings Management – An Important ESG Component

Kurt Schimpke; Barr Engineering Co., Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, Emily Ahachich; Barr Engineering Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles are playing an ever-increasing role in mining. The concept of integrating environmental, social, and governance factors in investment decisions is not new. However, many businesses have only recently begun to formally adopt ESG principles, reflecting a growing appreciation that success means considering and potentially addressing the interests of not only shareholders, but all stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, investors, and communities alike. In recent years, the mining industry, as well as its stakeholders have come to recognize the importance of tailings management and the societal and environmental consequences associated with a tailings dam failure. For this reason, tailings management is more frequently coming up in ESG discussions and the ever-evolving ESG frameworks, particularly with respect to the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM). This presentation will introduce the role of ESG in tailings management, with a particular focus on how it relates to the GISTM.


2:00 PM
Making Initial Estimates While You're Waiting for Data - The Power of Analog Data

Allison Haus; MineraLogic, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, United States, Paul Eger, Talon Metals Corp., Tamarack, Minnesota, United States, Tamara Diedrich, MineraLogic, Duluth, Minnesota, United States, Mark Logsdon, Geochimica, Inc., Aptos, California, United States, Steve Hovis, Talon Nickel USA, Tamarack, Minnesota, United States

Geochemical data are critical in early stages of mine planning to guide engineering decisions. Site specific predictions depend on kinetic testing and detailed modeling, which require long lead times and may not be available during initial phases of engineering design. Data from existing and past nickel mines, including Eagle, AMAX, and Kotalahti, present opportunities for the proposed Talon project due to geologic and mineralogical similarities. Legacy data can be used to inform projections of characteristic mine waste behavior while site specific data are being collected. Analogs can provide constructive lessons for mine developers.


2:30 PM


3:00 PM
IoT Workflow for Water Quality Data Collection, Management and Analysis

Tom Meuzelaar; Life Cycle Geo, LLC., Longmont, Colorado, United States

Water quality data is collected over the mine project life cycle to make important decisions related to management of water treatment systems, impact source identification, and the development of site baseline and compliance programs. Water quality datasets are deep, yet operators struggle to extract maximum value as data is collected haphazardly, stored in scattered databases, and not fully analyzed. Herein we present an Internet of Things (IoT) framework for water quality data collection, management, analysis and visualization that employs sensor-based data collection, cloud storage and machine learning approaches to data analysis. This workflow presents a considerable increase in efficiency and reduction in cost for operators.


3:30 PM
Innovative Tailings Disposal; Solidification and Stabilization with Fly Ash

Paul Eger; Talon Metals Corp., Tamarack, Minnesota, United States, Allison Haus; MineraLogic, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, United States, Paul Eger, Talon Metals Corp., Tamarack, Minnesota, United States, Tamara Diedrich, MineraLogic, Duluth, Minnesota, United States, Bill Schafer, Schafer Limited LLC, Greenbank, Washington, United States, Mark Logsdon, Geochimica, Inc, Aptos, California, United States, Steve Hovis, Talon Nickel USA, Tamarack, Minnesota, United States

Historically, tailings disposal has been a challenge for metal sulfide operations. By locating its processing facility proximal to a coal fired power plant, Talon has the opportunity buffer and neutralize the sulfide tailings from its ore with alkaline fly ash, a step-change in tailings disposal approach. The combined material is both neutralized and cementitious and will ultimately be managed in a lined, cemented, dry-berm containment area. Preliminary testing has shown that the tailings and fly ash mixture forms a durable cemented solid with sufficient buffering capacity to neutralize any potential acidity.


4:00 PM
A Geochemical Evaluation of the Humidity Cell Test Conducted Under Different Experimental Conditions

Zach Wenz; MN DNR Division of Lands and Minerals, Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States, Steve Koski and Andrew Gehn; MN DNR, Hibbing, Minnesota, United States, Mike Olson; MN DNR, Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States

Mine waste characterization tests, such as humidity cells, inform selection of the best practices for managing mine wastes. Different versions of the humidity cell test exist worldwide, and the US ASTM D5744-18 humidity cell test allows some procedural flexibility. The MN DNR recently initiated a humidity cell experiment to evaluate the stability of the test over different temperatures, water contents, and sterile conditions. This presentation explores preliminary observations of the humidity cell test data over these varying conditions for seventeen pyrite-bearing Ely Greenstone greenschist samples.
Sustainability/Data | Ballroom 4

sponsored by Weir Minerals

Session Chair: Allison Serakos, Barr Engineering Co., Duluth, Minnesota, United States

1:00 PM
Managing Mine Water from a New Spin: ESG Considerations

Jennifer Fleming; Barr Engineering Co, Duluth, Minnesota, United States

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) focuses on issues that are material to the long-term sustainability of an organization. These material issues can be viewed as both risks and opportunities. Whether a mining operation is located in a water-plentiful or water-stressed environment, appropriate water management is often important to the long-term sustainability of the operation. This presentation will discuss mine water management as it pertains to ESG standards; related considerations for managing water quantity and quality as it is withdrawn, consumed, and discharged; and examples of how water is valued as a resource in various project settings. Additionally, the presentation will discuss aspects of water management that mining operations may consider as potential opportunities when setting goals for sustainable future operations.

1:30 PM
Application of Phytostabilization to Reclamation of Dispersed Gold Tailings of an Abandoned Mine in Colorado

Andrew Harley, SWCA Environmental Consultants, Broomfield, Colorado, United States

In-situ technologies for mine waste reclamation reduce costs related to sourcing and transporting large volumes of external capping materials and/or soils. Phytostablization is the use of plant roots to absorb pollutants from the soil and retain them within the rhizosphere, with metal mobility reduced by precipitation around plant roots, root sorption, metal valence reduction and metal complexation. The objective for successful phytostablization is the long-term succession of a plant community. This is achieved through the promotion of soil development processes, microbial diversity, and restoration of soil ecosystem functions producing self-sustainability. While reactive organic amendments such as biosolids and compost can support short-term plant establishment, long-term growth and recruitment of revegetated plant species require systematic development of soil properties. While successful reclamation is generally marked by plant criteria, successful revegetation (Table 1) include soil and microbial properties that lead towards a functional technosol. A case study is presented where this approach was used during reclamation of dispersed tailings of an abandoned gold mine in Colorado. Plant, soil and microbial criteria will be presented where reclamation was both successful and unsuccessful.


2:00 PM
Community Revitalization through Mineland Repurposing

Pete Kero; Barr Engineering Co.

This session will present a conceptual framework for thinking about the potential for mineland reclamation projects to create assets that contribute to the social and economic vitality of their host communities. Case studies will be presented including early data from the Redhead Mountain Bike Park in Chisholm which officially opened in 2020. The presentation will close with an interactive quiz game that will help the audience visualize the often underrated potential of mined lands to serve as community assets.


2:30 PM


3:00 PM
Optimization of the Carbon Footprint of the Mining Fleets through Fuel Consumption Mapping

Ashutosh Agarwal; Symboticware, Lisle, Illinois, United States

On most open-pit mine sites, 50 to 80% of CO2 emissions are associated with the diesel engines of haul trucks. The presentation will focus on practical opportunities to map the fuel consumption on the mine site across different phases of the haul truck use (haulage, loading, and others) using the network of the internet of things devices and sensors, as well as the results of a study of the impact of digitization tools, including telemetry, idling alerting and overspeeding prevention systems, on the diesel fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions.


3:30 PM
Metallurgical Accounting - End the Debate

Mick McCaslin; FLSmidth Inc, Midvale, Utah, United States

A review of the data-chain from sample collection through process control, sample analysis, and reporting. Participants will gain a better understanding of fundamentals and the challenges with data gathered from their operations; coming away with insights and tools to help them improve their processes, metallurgical accounting, and process control.


4:00 PM
Accelerating Transformation with Mining Operations Management Technology

Tommy Mitchell; Rockwell Automation, Cypress, California, United States

As mining companies seek increased efficiency and performance, and to address declining grades and increasing costs, they are investing in digital technologies to create holistically integrated operations. Access to the right data at the right time is critical for operational success. Many miners struggle to turn their data into useful, actionable information. Typically, this is due to data located in siloed or home-grown solutions and is heavily reliant on manual entry. The solution is an Integrated Mining Operations Management (MOM) Platform – to model the process, leveraging scalable modern systems engineered to industry standards, and geared towards operator ease of use.


Processing | Ballroom 1

Sponsored by Maggoteaux Inc.

Session Chair: Logan Koskela, Cleveland Cliffs – United Taconite

8:00 AM
Green Steel without Pellets

Kenneth Reid; University of Minnesota, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, United States

Global steelmakers have announced a variety of Green Steel projects that will require green: power, mining, processing, feedstocks and a green reduction process. Current Magnetite mines produce a fine concentrate for making pellets using processes developed by E W Davis. In his 1964 book ‘Pioneering with Taconite’ he says “– it seems realistic to look forward to the day when fine taconite concentrate will be smelted or metallized in taconite plants –” This would eliminate the need for pellets, save capital and operating costs andeliminate CO2 emissions. This paper examines technology required to produce metallic iron from taconite concentrate.


8:30 AM
Enhanced Iron Ore Pellet Chemistry – Project Overview and Update

Brett Spigarelli, Rod Johnson, Basak Anameric, Shashi Rao, and Kevin Kangas; UMD Natural Resources Research Institute, Coleraine, Minnesota, United States

The Natural Resources Research Institute has been awarded a $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Advanced Manufacturing Office to explore enhanced iron ore pellet chemistry. The project will focus on the modification of ore-based feed materials to enhance gas- based direct reduction, the use of semi-oxidized iron ores in gas based direct reduction, and the creation of granulated iron products that will enhance EAF productivity and quality so that steel manufacturing and energy efficiency are improved.


9:00 AM
Effective Iron Ore Flotation with Lower Ecotoxic Profile

Peter Zhou and Doug Lucas; Nouryon, Bridgewater, New Jersey, United States, Natalija Smolko Schwarzmayr and Henrik Nordberg; Nouryon, Stenungsund, Sweden

Alkyl ester amines act as an effective alternative to alkyl ether amines, offering a significantly improved environmental profile with the same level of performance. The inherent accelerated biodegradability of alkyl ester amines can reach 60% within 20 days or less and they can be enhanced to lower aquatic toxicity while achieving high-quality mineral flotation. Two newly developed cationic surfactant reagents belonging to the alkyl ester amine family were evaluated as silica collectors for the flotation of hematite and magnetite iron ores. When the frothing properties, recovery, and grade were compared, this experiment revealed the two surfactant reagents can effectively deliver the same results as industry–standard alkyl ether diamines and alkyl ether monoamines – with a lower ecotoxic profile.


9:30 AM


10:00 AM
Optimizing Hydrocyclone Performance with IIoT

Paul Mattson; Weir Minerals, Austin, Texas, United States and Debra Switzer, Weir Minerals, Houghton, Michigan, United States

A hydrocyclone separates particles in a slurry, with its performance determined by its internal geometries and the slurry’s characteristics. Optimizing a hydrocyclone involves obtaining the desired P80 and overflow density, then maximizing the sharpness of the cut. Traditionally, mine operators require significant effort from expert resources to enhance the hydrocyclones performance. Using existing sensors, Synertrex© Roping Detection, the Synertrex© Intelligence Platform, and the Integrated Solutions team, Weir provides Intelligent Services, which helps customers optimize their hydrocyclones. With increased data and analytics on an automated platform, Weir’s experts can provide streamlined optimization of hydrocyclones.


10:30 AM
Development Two New Analytical Methods for Total Iron Content in Iron Ore by Employing Green Chemistry Practices

Igor Kolomitsyn; UMD Natural Resources Research Institute, Duluth, Minnesota, United States, Julie Mutchler, UMD Natural Resources Research Institute, Coleraine, Minnesota, United States Heidi Zierden, UMD Natural Resources Research Institute, Duluth, Minnesota, United States

Principles of Green Chemistry has been widely accepted by researchers to replace toxic compounds with innocuous materials or, at least, with less harmful products, and this also involves taking into consideration the safety of method operators and environmental damage. ASTM E246–21 and ISO/TS 2597–4 have been widely used for measuring the total iron content in iron ores. However, both methods use harmful potassium dichromate as a titrant. We developed colorimetric and potentiometric titration methods that replace harmful potassium dichromate with safer ceric (IV) sulfate titrant. These methods are applicable with very good precision and accuracy to total iron contents between a mass fraction of 30.34% and a mass fraction of 72.02% in natural iron ores and iron ore concentrates and agglomerates including sinter products.


11:00 AM
Opportunities Offered by Emerging Hydrometallurgy Technologies

Shashi Rao and Matthew Mlinar; UMD Natural Resources Research Institute, Coleraine, Minnesota, United States, George Hudak; UMD Natural Resources Research Institute, Duluth, Minnesota, United States, Kevin Kangas; UMD Natural Resources Research Institute, Coleraine, Minnesota, United States, Dean Peterson; UMD Natural Resources Research Institute, Duluth, Minnesota, United States

Society’s demand for metals requires that mineral resources be extracted from the earth and/or recovered from commercial products or their co–products/wastes. Hydrometallurgy is one of several key processing methods used to separate and purify minerals and other metal bearing feedstocks into high-purity compounds. To address significant environmental impact concerns associated with processing of these materials, new processing technology approaches with reduced water and energy consumption, industrial decarbonization, and minimal environmental footprints are needed to support production of value-added products. At Natural Resources Research Institute, we are in the early stages of developing hydrometallurgical research capabilities to identify applications of hydrometallurgy to fulfill these goals.
Environmental–Air/Compliance Ballroom 2

Session Chair: Erika Herr, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

8:00 AM
Avoiding Pitfalls for Like Kind Replacements

Tony Colombari; Trinity Consultants, Oakdale, Minnesota, United States

This presentation will discuss the air permit requirements around like kind replacements. The term “like kind replacements” is often mentioned as a reason why an air permit isn’t needed, however, in reality a permit amendment is often required. The presentation will discuss the various types of amendments available in Minnesota, when amendments may be required, and pitfalls to avoid. The presentation will include case studies to discuss practical examples.


8:30 AM
How to be One Step Ahead of Fugitive Dust: A Proactive Approach to Reducing Weather Related Dust Generation at Mine Sites

Allison Serakos; Barr Engineering Co., Duluth, Minnesota, United States

Fugitive dust has increasingly been an area of agency attention. The mining area specifically is highly prone to fugitive dust generation due to the large number of dust generating activities, such as haul truck roads, tailings basins, stockpiles, and mine pits. Because most of the mining operations are subject to the natural elements, addressing fugitive dust generation from weather events can be difficult. Most of the methods for addressing fugitive dust are reactionary, such as water trucks and applying dust suppressants once dust is visible. These measures are good and appropriate, however, for weather events that our out of the facility’s control they can sometimes be too late. In this talk, I will present two methods for developing site-specific fugitive dust prediction models based on dynamical and statistical relationships with local weather data. I will walk through a typical physical dust generation mechanism and also discuss different statistical methods used to develop site-specific prediction models. Additionally, I will discuss how these models are being used in alert tool systems to provide effective and proactive dust suppressant measures.


9:00 AM
Monitoring in lieu of Modeling: Why and How Should You Monitor?

John Ke; Trinity Consultants, Oakdale, Minnesota, United States

In recent years, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has provided air monitoring as an alternative solution to air dispersion modeling. With more stringent air quality standards, it is becoming more difficult to pass air dispersion modeling without making substantial changes to a facility (e.g., new controls or increasing stack heights). Monitoring offers a solution to look at your actual air quality impacts in order to demonstrate compliance with air quality standards. However, monitoring comes with its own unique challenges and costs. The presentation content will include an overview of the MPCA’s current policy regarding monitoring and the pathway to monitor a facility. The presentation will provide discussion on costs, risks, off–ramps, and compliance. Finally, case studies will be presented to determine how to develop a monitoring plan and the steps to take to get an air monitor on-site at a facility.


9:30 AM


10:00 AM
Unresolved Regulation of Waters of the US

Daniel Dejoode; SWCA, Savage, Minnesota, United States

The definition of Waters of the US (WOTUS) has undergone significant revision since it was introduced in the 1972 Clean Water Act. In recent years, several regulatory changes have occurred through rulemaking, executive order, and litigation to repeatedly modify the extent of regulated WOTUS, which includes wetlands. In 2022-2023, a rule making process and arguments before the Supreme Court may again change the scope of WOTUS and subsequent regulations. This presentation will provide an update on the ongoing rulemaking process, anticipated changes to the definition of WOTUS related to tributaries, ditches, wetlands, and exclusions, and implications for the mining industry.


10:30 AM
Elements a Successful Regulatory Inspection: How to Survive and Thrive when the Government Comes a-Knocking

Jeremy Greenhouse; Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Mining companies are frequently the subject of inspections, often unannounced, by regulatory agencies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Department of Natural Resources. Armed with broad statutory authority, inspectors from these agencies will scour a site's records and search its operations to evaluate compliance with relevant permit and regulatory requirements. When regulators discover noncompliance during an inspection, this will often lead to an enforcement action, including onerous financial penalties and a laundry list of burdensome follow-up actions. While mining operations cannot avoid regulatory inspections, they can take steps to properly prepare for and manage an inspection and, as a result, minimize the possibility of an enforcement action. This presentation will (a) explain the reasons why inspections occur and discuss the scope of regulators' authority to inspect a mining facility, (b) outline the stages of a typical regulatory inspection and provide best practices for managing each stage, and (c) provide strategies to help ensure your site is well prepared for its next inspection.


11:00 AM
Public Waters in MN – More Regulatory Uncertainty

Larry Kramka; Foth Infrastructure and Environment, LLC, Duluth, United States, Minnesota, United States

Minnesota has had a public waters inventory (PWI) that was intended to be a definitive accounting of the water bodies that would be regulated as public waters in MN. The public waters inventory process was conducted to identify, designate, list and map public waters, by county, in order to bring certainty to a process that had become contentious and litigious. It created a public administrative process for review and final approval of the designated waters in each county. A recent decision by the MN Supreme court has potentially altered the usefulness of the public waters inventory for it's intended purpose. This presentation will provide background on the public waters inventory, the circumstances leading to the courts actions, and the implications to environmental review and public waters permitting in MN.
Maintenance | Ballroom 3

Session Chair: Garret Avikainen, U.S. Steel MN Operations

8:00 AM
How to Design, Implement, and Sustain an MOS - Management Operating System (Mining Ops / Maintenance)

David Truchot; Veltiosis Consulting LLC, Bayport, Minnesota, United States

Gain practical knowledge of how to design, implement, and sustain a Management Operating System (Mining Ops / Maintenance) Management Operating Systems (or MOS) are not well understood, and this course aims to share our expertise and some of the key tools to start identifying gaps that slow your organization successes and launch sustainable correction action plans. We will review with you best practices that are in use at the bottom of pits or in maintenance workshops and share some of this insider knowledge so you can start optimizing your operations. Some of the key tools we will review are: Planning Controls, Short Interval Control, DWOR (Daily Weekly Operating Report), Skills Flex Matrices, Variance Reports, Robust Action Logs, and Root Cause Corrective Action tools & processes (RCCA). We will provide you with a critical approach and a proven suite of tools that are used in daily production meetings, at dispatch, or in maintenance workshops, day in / day out. We will also share with you some of the pitfalls and strategies to ensure your changes are sustainable. The course materials are based on years of analysis, design and sustainable implementation of robust Management Operating Systems at various production facilities or maintenance organizations in many industries across the world (Mining, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Pulp & Paper and Aerospace).


8:30 AM
Best Practices for Extending the Life of Industrial Equipment

Loren Nauss; Henkel (Loctite) Corporation, Rocky Hill, Connecticut, United States

Industrial equipment over time will corrode or experience wear that will force the equipment to be replaced. Proper preparation and coating can eliminate replacing costly equipment with a simple service on a proper PM schedule. There are many different protective coatings available and this will highlight when to chose one type of coating versus another. Also, this will highlight industry standards required for proper surface preparation to ensure optimal coating adhesion and maximize coating life. This will extend the life of your equipment, decrease cost and increase throughput.


9:00 AM
Modern Engineering Design Technologies and Practices for Plant Retrofit Projects

Jesse Aultman; Barr Engineering Co., Grand Rapids, Minnesota, United States

This presentation will focus on leveraging modern technology to streamline structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering and design. We’ll discuss the practical use and benefits of engineering analysis and design software and share practical examples. You’ll leave this presentation with a better understanding of how we employ these technologies to reduce engineering and construction costs and optimize system performance.


9:30 AM


10:00 AM
The Reliability University: An Initiative to Tackle Manpower Shortage and Help Industry Thrive

Meagan Wyllie and Yoann Urruty; Spartakus Technologies, Kirkland, Quebec, Canada

The Reliability University: an initiative to tackle manpower shortage and help industry thrive

Economic growth combined to massive retirement of labor at the end of the years 2010s led to shortage of manpower in many employment fields. In addition to global market being even more competitive (reinforcement of middle eastern or Asian manufacturing, low interest rates policies, digitalization, etc.), companies now face the need to do more with less like never before. As we all know, reliability engineering is an enabler to increase productivity and reduce costs. But how do you implement reliability best practices if you cannot recruit any reliability specialist? What if no proper academic programs exist in universities? And what if consulting companies also have difficulties in recruiting reliability specialists? Would you hire a reliability professional with 20+ years of experience to review PM/lube tasks or consolidate your master equipment list and BOM?

In this conference, we will also focus on what to expect with regards to the generational gap between new recruits and older workers, especially in a post-pandemic era: our old habits for training, coaching, and managing younger employees have drastically changed and now need to be approached differently. Facing those challenges, Spartakus Technologies and Laurentide Controls have decided to launch the Reliability University in 2020. Being references in reliability consulting and condition monitoring in Eastern Canada, they established a recruiting plan for several cohorts of freshly graduated engineers and built a solid training/mentoring 3-years roadmap based on the SMRP Body of Knowledge. We will see that after 2 years the results are exceeding our expectations.


10:30 AM
Preventing Early Bearing Failure for Motors on Drives

Ken Wegrzyn; Veltiosis Consulting LLC, Bayport, Minnesota, United States

Gain practical knowledge of how to design, implement, and sustain a Management Operating System (Mining Ops / Maintenance) Management Operating Systems (or MOS) are not well understood, and this course aims to share our expertise and some of the key tools to start identifying gaps that slow your organization’ successes and launch sustainable correction action plans. We will review with you best practices that are in use at the bottom of pits or in maintenance workshops and share some of this insider knowledge so you can start optimizing your operations. Some of the key tools we will review are: Planning Controls, Short Interval Control, DWOR (Daily Weekly Operating Report), Skills Flex Matrices, Variance Reports, Robust Action Logs, and Root Cause Corrective Action tools & processes (RCCA). We will provide you with a critical approach and a proven suite of tools that are used in daily production meetings, at dispatch, or in maintenance workshops, day in / day out. We will also share with you some of the pitfalls and strategies to ensure your changes are sustainable. The course materials are based on years of analysis, design and sustainable implementation of robust Management Operating Systems at various production facilities or maintenance organizations in many industries across the world (Mining, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Pulp & Paper and Aerospace).


11:00 AM
What is the Roadmap for Your Digital Transformation in Maintenance and Reliability for 2022

Meagan Wyllie and Arnaud Deziel-Richer; Spartakus Technologies, Kirkland, Quebec, Canada

Many organizations are trying to implement digital technology to improve the reliability of their operations. Unfortunately, many of them are not achieving the promised benefit of digital transformation and not getting the projected return on investment. To realize the return on investment it is mandatory that all stakeholders are aligned on the outcome of the solutions being implement and define a solid roadmap to achieve their business goals. Too often, we see Proof of Concept being deployed in industrial plants and not providing the promised ROI. Laurentide have developed a Digital Maturity Model, that can be used to determine the desired Future State of an organization, the current “As–Is” state and the gap between the two. Our research and experience shows that there are six levels of performance for each of these Domains and Sub-Domains, that describe their Digital Maturity. These range from a Pre–Digital state that is mostly paper–based to a fully Autonomous state with fully integrated operations, business processes and supporting infrastructure. Using these levels, we can describe both the desired Future State and the current as-is state for each domain and sub-domain. During this presentation we will cover how this process can be used in the maintenance and reliability domain, to establish a common understanding and agreement for how far along the Digital Maturity continuum it makes sense for your organization to target its development. Allowing the organization to build a robust roadmap for digital transformation and providing a solid and sustainable return on investment.
Mining | Ballroom 4

Sponsored by Sandvik

Session Chair: Dan Gebhart, Cleveland Cliffs Hibbing Taconite

8:00 AM
Serial Number One – Validating the Future of Drilling

Justin A Bollini; Komatsu, Morton, Illinois, United States

The development and testing of new mining machines within customer applications poses many potential benefits and risks. Although the machine gains valuable hours of testing within a mining application, a key emerging risk is the ability to consistently provide an initial production–ready machine while also completing all validation and testing requirements for the initial and future machine. Understanding the delicate balance between development, testing, validation, production, and problem solving are key in providing success to both the customer and product. This paper will review an interpretation of Komatsu Mining Corp. (KMC) Application Engineering key aspects of productivity and reliability validation testing involving a new ZR drill model within the Komatsu surface drilling product line. A proper understanding of drilling productivity capabilities and reliability requirements allows an operation to measure drilling efficiency and evaluate a path for increased productivity and reduction in cost per ton. This presentation will review key aspects of new machine productivity validation and potential impacts to mining operations.


8:30 AM
21st Century Fleet Studies and Solutions: Mobile Apps

Tina Miles, Tina Miles, and Karli Fortner, Komatsu, Peoria, Illinois, United States and JD Wientjes, Komatsu, Morton, Illinois, United States

Komatsu has developed a suite of mobile and web apps that can evaluate impacts on fleet performance and economics. This paper will review how Komatsu is leveraging the cloud-based Microsoft Power Apps platform to create tools that account for time-tested surface mining principles. One tool will even get put to the test to evaluate a fleet performance case study and showcase the versatility and accessibility of the apps in the field. Don’t miss out on the chance to learn about 21st century fleet solutions and how they can impact the way we work.


9:00 AM
Update on the Hibbing Drill Core Library
Matt Carter, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Hibbing, Minnesota, United States

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Drill Core Library (DCL), located in Hibbing is the single state-owned facility for archiving public drill core and other geologic materials that were obtained in the state. The DCL closed in June 2022 owing to safety concerns that affected the entire 3-building facility. Prior to closing, DNR staff had finished conducting a bay-by-bay grant-funded inventory project for the entire facility. The findings of the project helped develop plans to reopen the facility, address discrepancies about its holdings, identify materials to consolidate in order to maximize storage space, and to fix packaging issues and other minor safety concerns. Feedback from stakeholders was gathered during a workshop on the DCL in November 2022 to help develop a mission statement, revise and update future policies and procedures for the facility, and identify desirable enhancements to DCL databases. A planned fourth building will double the DCL’s storage capacity and quadruple the viewing area space, while also providing new spaces for research, meetings, and training opportunities. Any additional updates regarding the status of the DCL will be provided if available.


9:30 AM


10:00 AM
Benefits of Mobile Rockfall Barriers in Mining

Dane Wagner; Geobrugg North America, LLC, Beaverton, Oregon, United States

Typical rockfall mitigation measures in the mining industry include benches, catchment ditches, and berms. Refinement of mobile and reusable rockfall barriers has proven to provide protection and adaptable to the ever–changing mine environment. Mobile rockfall barriers using high tensile mesh, reduce the required footprint of traditional measures. Increasing access to existing highwalls and decreasing road widths, while protecting exposed workers and equipment with efficiency and reduced cost. Mobile rockfall barriers are moved with on-site equipment. Allowing the barrier to be reused as mining advances and operations pivot. Increasing tons, efficiency, and safety. Examples of installations and testing will be provided.


10:30 AM
On the Origin of Manganiferous Iron Formation: Emily Deposit of the Cuyuna Range

Alex Steiner and Dean Peterson; Big Rock Exploration, Duluth, Minnesota, United States,
Henry Sandri; North Star Manganese, Roseville, Minnesota, United States, Gabriel Sweet; Big Rock Exploration, Duluth, Minnesota, United States

The Emily Iron formation of the Cuyuna range in central Minnesota is uniquely and enigmatically enriched in manganese compared to other Superior type iron formations. Recent work by Big Rock Exploration for North Star Manganese Inc identified primary carbonate facies composed of thin bedded manganese-iron carbonates interbedded with fine grained chert. Oxidation of carbonate facies redistributes manganese elsewhere in the Emily iron formation, transforming the carbonate facies into thin-bedded hematite and chert. The alteration of carbonate iron formation to form more common hematite–chert iron formation may represent an important component of the formational history of iron formation globally.


11:00 AM
The LKAB Transformation – Designing the Mines of the Future

Tristan Jones; Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB, Malmberget, Malmberget, Sweden

LKAB is designing four new generational mines simultaneously to ensure a long and prosperous future for the company. The Kiruna and Malmberget iron ore mines will be deepened to nearly 6200 ft (1900 m), the Svappavaara open pit iron mine will go underground for the first time to depths of 2600 ft (800 m), and a new greenfield called Per Geijer will be opened at a depth of 4600 ft (1400 m), with future expansion deeper (6200 ft). At the same time, production is planned to increase from a ROM total of around 50 Mtpy up to an estimated 81 Mtpy company wide. To achieve such production at such depths will require many improvements which are discussed in this presentation. New mining methods are being developed to address productivity and stability concerns as well as improve stress and seismicity control. New drilling technology is being developed to allow for longer, straighter production holes leading to greater productivity. Modular concepts are being implemented in ore handling, crushing, hauling, and hoisting to improve efficiency and quality, shorten project timelines, lower costs, and allow for company-wide training and maintenance planning. Improvements in stress and seismic modelling methodology are helping to ensure planned infrastructure will remain stable and safe for the next 50+ years. The total effort will help make LKAB’s transformation into a CO2–free iron producer possible.
Closing Plenary

Wednesday, April 19, 2023
1:00pm - 3:00pm

Mine to Market – Expanding, Securing, and Supporting the Domestic Energy Supply Chain

Zack Valdez, Chief of Staff, Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains, Department of Energy

Demonstration and deployment of advanced energy technologies under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) promote late-stage technology projects and programs that support industry stakeholders interested in a clean, secure, and sustainable domestic energy supply chain. BIL and IRA have changed the structure of DOE and integrated with Administrative priorities to focus 40% of investments to energy justice and disadvantaged communities. The Manufacturing & Energy Supply Chain (MESC) office at DOE will discuss funding opportunities to analyze, assess, and execute projects throughout the energy supply chain – with the goal to bring quality jobs, manufacturing technology, and sustainable energy back to America.

ValdezPrior to joining the Manufacturing Energy Supply Chain Office as Chief of Staff, Zack Valdez developed strategy for the Office of Advanced Manufacturing within the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. Dr. Valdez has extensive experience in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math engagement with national non-profits, academia, and industry. He is also an alumni of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology Policy Fellowship, where he served on the U.S. Senate Energy and National Resources Committee. Zack conducted research in multiple geoscience arenas while earning his Ph.D. from Baylor University and Engineering and Physics B.S. degrees from St. Mary’s University.

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