Gold and Precious Metals
Declining concentrations of precious metals in deposits are placing significant pressure on mining companies. Today, industrial companies are required to mine smaller deposits that are difficult to access or large low-grade deposits.
Mining refractory gold deposits, where gold is trapped in sulphide minerals, often requires pre-treatment before the leaching phase. Environmental challenges are also part of the equation, as tailings from certain mines can be highly toxic.
Iron Ore and Steelmaking
Iron, one of the most common metals in the world, is used to create various types of steel. Despite significant demand, competition and fluctuating metal prices are putting great pressure on iron ore producers. Now more than ever, producers must constantly strive to optimize their processes to achieve sufficient profit margins.
Urbanization and the popularity of personal electronic devices are ramping up demand for base metals such as zinc, copper, nickel, cobalt and lead.
The abundance of Canada’s underground mineral resources is envied the world over. While some deposits are near the surface and can be extracted from an open-pit mine, others are located deeper underground, which increases mining costs.
The sheer size and complexity of certain metallurgical facilities, such as nickel plants, is one of many challenges faced by mine operators.
Industrial and Tech Minerals
The use of industrial and tech minerals is on the upswing. Lithium and graphite, which are used to manufacture batteries, are highly sought-after and offer interesting prospects for mine operators. Industrial minerals are also used in a range of other products, such as agricultural fertilizers, concrete and plastics. The rapidly-growing world population has a direct impact on demand for consumer products and, by extension, minerals.
The abundance of Canada’s mineral resources, combined with improved deposit processing, plays a big role in strengthening the industrial and tech minerals sector.
Used in the transportation, construction and infrastructure sectors, aluminum is a sustainable and recyclable material that continues to grow in popularity.
Given that aluminum production is an energy-intensive process, Canada is well-positioned in the market thanks to its low-cost electricity options. Fuelled by hydroelectric power sources, Canada’s aluminum industry has one of the lowest environmental footprints in the world. The next big challenge is to increase productivity in order to remain competitive.