Haileybury School of Mines: Guest Lecture Series

Haileybury School of Mines

Guest Lecture Series

Northern College’s Haileybury School of Mines is pleased to present the Guest Lectures with prominent mining professionals for our students, alumni, partners and the community.


Information on some of our past Haileybury School of Mines Guest Lectures can be found below.

Past Lectures

Presented by Paul Tucker on  October 19, 2021.



Pressure Hydrometallurgy for processing of certain minerals has gained widespread acceptance over the past 70 years, largely pioneered in Canada by the former Sherritt-Gordon Mines at their Processing and Research Facilities, located in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. This work led to the adoption of pressure autoclaves to perform a variety of applications of either leaching payable metals or conditioning the minerals to enhance downstream recovery.

Autoclave Technology was first applied to lateritic nickel-cobalt (Ni-Co) ores that cannot be concentrated. Various technologies were developed for processing of these ores but it was High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) that was the breakthrough with whole ore leaching in sulphuric acid at 240-250 degree C and delivering high recoveries of Ni-Co.

In the early 1980s Sherritt advanced a new technology for processing refractory gold ores by introducing oxygen under pressure into an agitated autoclave operating between 210-230 degree C to convert refractory sulphide minerals to sulphates and greatly increasing gold recovery by cyanidation. While competing technologies were developed, Pressure Oxidation (POX) is the go to process for a wide range of refractory gold ores.

The most recent development has been the introduction of Pressure Oxidative Leach (POL) that operates at lower temperatures in the 160-165 degree C range and uses less oxygen in order to oxidize sulphides to elemental sulphur and enable leaching. This has been used primarily for zinc but has been adapted for processing Ni-Cu-Co concentrates.

The presentation will cover each of these three areas and detail the history of the processing technologies and the enabling technologies that had to be developed to bring these new technologies into worldwide commercial application. Focus will be primarily on Engineering and less on the Extractive Metallurgy aspects of the technologies that has been covered by others elsewhere.


About the Speaker

Paul Tucker received his Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo. He began his career with Simon-Carves and was trained as a Coal Preparation Engineer spending more than a decade engineering, commissioning and operating coal preparation plants in Canada and South Africa. He then joined Kilborn and spent 10 years as part of a Team that delivered 10 autoclaves, the last being Bulong. He then moved over to Kvaerner Davy and contributed the operational readiness plan for Cawse. Paul was then seconded to Anaconda Nickel NL in 1999 as a Commissioning Engineer to assist with the start-up of their Murrin Murrin Operation and subsequently as De-bottlenecking Engineer in 2001. He then returned to mining operations and ended up with Sherritt as Area Manager Leach and CCD for the Moa Nickel Expansion in Cuba. Joining Fluor, he led a Team that delivered 2 autoclaves for Vale at their Canadian Long Harbour Nickel-Cobalt-Copper Hydrometallurgical Plant. He is now Manager of Engineering with Bantrel located in Toronto.


Watch the recordings:

Presented by Jan van Niekerk on November 23, 2021



The BIOX process for the treatment of refractory gold ores has been in commercial use for over 30 years since the commissioning of the first BIOX plant at the Fairview Mine in South Africa in 1986. Over this period, the process has been proven to be a robust, economical and environmentally safe process with a total of 13 BIOX plants installed to date. The newest BIOX plant at the Cam&Motor Mine in Zimbabwe is currently under commissioning.

The standard BIOX process uses a mixed population of mesophilic bacteria with most BIOX plants operating at 40 to 42 °C. Metso Outotec has developed and commercialised the MesoTHERM BIOX process, using a combination of mesophilic bacteria as the primary oxidation stage followed by thermophilic bacteria, operating at ~ 65 °C, to complete the oxidation.

Metso Outotec’s BIOX technology solution offering has been developed and expanded in recent years to provide a cost-effective and efficient solution for base metal extraction from base metal sulphide deposits (including primary and secondary copper sulphides as well as cobalt sulphides).

The ASTER™ process was developed to deliver an improved and integrated water balance for subsequent upstream re-usage of treated solution in BIOX applications. The ASTER process was commercialised in 2010 and relies on a range of aerobic microorganisms to oxidise thiocyanate (SCN) and cyanide (CN-) in effluent streams, enabling the recycling of water to the BIOX plant. There are four operating ASTER plants with a fifth ASTER plant at the Cam&Motor Mine under construction.

The recovery of occluded gold from refractory sulphide ore bodies is sometimes compounded by the presence of naturally occurring organic carbon in the ore causing preg-robbing. A hot caustic leaching process was developed, and the first installation implemented at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville BIOX® operation in Bendigo, Australia. Metso Outotec acquired the rights to the technology from Fosterville and commenced further development of the technology which saw the birth of the High Temperature Caustic Conditioning (HiTeCC) process for application of double refractory ores. The second industry delivery of this technology is at the Suzdal Gold Mine near Semi in Kazakhstan. The plant was commissioned during Q2 2016.


About the Speaker

Jan van Niekerk completed his B Engineering (Metallurgy) degree at the University of Pretoria in 1995.  He started his career at Gencor Process Research in 1996 working on the development and testing of the BIOX Process. Mr van Niekerk stayed with the BIOX technology in various capacities until taking over the management of the technology under Gold Fields in 2006.  Mr van Niekerk led the management buy-out of the technology from Gold Fields in 2013 that saw the formation of Biomin South Africa as well as the subsequent integration of the BIOX Process into Metso Outotec.  Mr van Niekerk was involved in the testing, design and commissioning of a number of BIOX plants including the Coricancha BIOX plant in Peru and the Fosterville BIOX plant in Australia.  Mr van Niekerk also oversaw the commercialisation of the ASTER, HiTeCC and BIOX MesoTHERM Processes by the BIOX team. Mr van Niekerk is now the Director, Gold Process Solutions looking after the development of the gold hydrometallurgical processes within Metso Outotec.


Watch the recording: 


Presented by Marilyn Spink on May 5, 2022



For society to successfully move towards a NetZero Carbon economy, the production of critical minerals is key. Mine and mineral projects have the potential to build both wealth and “green” our economy. However, if technology and sustainability; particularly process engineering, environmental and social impacts; are not carefully addressed, projects will fail and the capital financing will be destroyed. Resources will be shared that may help to shift mindsets to ensure better mine development project outcomes. In addition, as mining is disrupted, the tremendous leadership opportunities which are opening up for our next generation of mining talent will be presented.

Q: What is the definition of insanity? A: Doing the same thing each “commodity super cycle” and expecting different project outcomes.

Imagine the wealth, more than just money, which could be generated for society, if all stakeholders shifted their thinking to ensure more sustainable mine development outcomes? ….and it all starts with mining, so begin with the end in mind!


About the Speaker

Ms. Spink is an award-winning professional engineer (1995) with extensive metallurgical processing expertise, having spent over 25 years managing the technical delivery of complex steelmaking and mineral development projects throughout the world. In progressive leadership roles of increasing responsibility, she has successfully managed multi-discipline engineering design teams to deliver projects located in North and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia ranging in value from $500 million to $9 billion (USD).

Ms. Spink has served as a Director on several corporate boards. Most recently, she completed two three-year term appointments as an Ontario Lieutenant Governor Appointee to the Professional Engineers Ontario Governing Council, the largest engineering regulator in Canada with over 85,000 members and is currently Vice President Elected of PEO Council. She has been a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors for over 12 years. She is currently an Independent Director on the Board of Avalon Advanced Materials Inc., a publically traded Canadian mineral development company focused on minerals for use in clean energy and new technology and recognized for its sustainability and environmental stewardship as a “Future 40 Responsible Corporate Leader in Canada”.

Ms. Spink is also a sought-after speaker in the Mining and Engineering sectors, most recently being named a Canadian Institute of Mining Distinguished Lecturer in 2018. Ms. Spink earned her Bachelor of Applied Science in Materials & Metallurgical Engineering from Queen’s University (1992) and is a certified sustainability practitioner.

Presented by Alex Doll on May 10, 2022



The topics discussed in this lecture include:

* Mineral breakage

* Autogenous Grinding (AG) / Semi-Autogenous Grinding (SAG) mill circuit types

* Design versus optimization

* AG/SAG circuit power-based modelling

* Ball mill circuit power-based modelling

* AG/SAG population balance modelling

* Operating AG/SAG circuits

* Mill motors


About the Speaker

Alex Doll is a consulting metallurgical process engineer specializing in power-based comminution modelling and conceptual design. Alex has worked on projects across the Americas, Indonesia, and Australia. He has a BASc in Mining & Mineral Process Engineering (1992) from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Past editor of the Procemin 2012 & 2013 conferences (Santiago, Chile), executive editor of XXVII IMPC in 2014 (Santiago, Chile), and was the Registrar and webmaster for the 2011, 2015, & 2019 SAG Conferences (Vancouver). Alex is a member of industry committees overseeing guidelines for comminution testing & interpretation, and is a Trustee of the SAG Conference Award Foundation, the body that controls the IP of the SAG Conferences held every 4-5 years in Vancouver.

Presented by Stan Gorzalczynski on Thursday, May 4, 2023


Wabi Iron & Steel Corp. (Wabi) is a company that is almost as old as the underground mining industry in Canada. Its birth came about immediately after the prolific silver finds in an area that today, we call Cobalt. Two enterprising brothers, Hugh and Harry McEwen along with John Lever, set-up shop in the fledgling community of New Liskeard in 1907.

The first few years of Wabi’s business activity focused on being a repair shop to the large saw mills in the area and the steamboat line servicing communities along Lake Temiskaming and the Blanche River system. Wabi’s innovation however, quickly highlighted the company in the Cobalt silver camp. The stamp mill dies being produced at the Wabi foundry were significantly outlasting the imported pieces being brought from England. So much so, that several mine owners from the Cobalt camp formed an investment consortium into Wabi and funded a new facility that is Wabi’s plant location today, at 330 Broadwood Avenue.

Wabi has consistently innovated to keep at the forefront in the supply chain to the mining industry. From metallurgical recipes that offer improved wear resistance, to pioneering the use of aluminum in mine hoist cages and skips. In the early 1950’s, Wabi introduced rubber-tired haulage trucks for underground mining. In the late 1970’s, Wabi designed and manufactured the largest single-rope connection mine cage having a capacity of 120 occupants. And continuing today, Wabi pursues innovative product designs that are intended to help solve challenges associated with underground mining.

Canada is a mining country easily recognized as a world leader in the technologies associated with metal extraction, smelting and refining. This recognition is associated with approximately 150 years of development – mining camps and operations that span across this country and produce materials as diverse as agricultural fertilizer, energy fuels, to every known metal found in the most sophisticated devices supporting human technology. Wabi’s engineering records show the growth of this mining legacy. The pitfalls and the successes. The iconic designs from yesteryear that can still be identified in the modern machines being used to successfully move ore from deep within the ground to surface facilities for processing.

Wabi’s story is one of ‘David and Goliath’ whereby its survival among a field of multi-national manufacturing giants is owed to its ability to innovate and apply technology successfully to the challenges being confronted by underground miners. Its next century of continued business isn’t given – it must be worked for. Metals will pervade human technology for as long as humans exist. Mining these metals will ensure that companies such as Wabi have no shortage of challenges to solve.


About the Speaker

Stan graduated from Northern College in 1982 from the Mechanical Engineering Technology program. He accepted employment with Wabi Iron Works Ltd. as a draftsman immediately thereafter. He very quickly recognized the uniqueness of both the products being built at Wabi, but also, of the company’s historic development.

His dedication to the company coupled with a commitment to understand its place in the mining industry, provided growth through various roles in the company ranging from engineering, to quality assurance, sales, management and ultimately, to the company’s president. His career with Wabi spans 40 years and now as his career winds-down, Stan is tasked with plotting a course for Wabi’s next century of business.

Stan has been passionate about mine hoisting throughout his career and with improving the safety of this important facet of mining technology. He continues to be active with innovation associated with hoisting technology and the challenges presented by deep hoisting. Stan’s general interest in history comes through in his insights to Wabi’s development and his 40-year tenure within this historic company.

Presented by Mel Sauve on Tuesday, May 9, 2023



Mel Sauve, President Global Growth is an engineer and MBA from McGill University. His career has spanned over 40 years working primarily in Sales, Marketing and Business Development for Canadian
manufacturing companies selling highly engineered products and services B2B worldwide to industries including; mining, steel, metal fabrication, security, defense and nuclear.

He started Global Growth in 2010 focused on accelerating the growth of Canadian manufacturing and service companies, targeting USA and international market expansion. His core strengths are: Strategic Business Development, Global Expansion, Technical Marketing and Sales Skills Development.

Mel has worked directly with a number of Canadian mining supply and industrial companies including; Exploranium, Eco Waste Solutions, Westlake Industries, Venshore Mechanical, Digital Engineering,
Icefield Tools, Industrial Fabrication (Kovatera), Conveyors Plus, Abitibi Geophysics, Sumac Geomatics,
Rock-Tech, FRP Systems.

Mel is a program leader/consultant for the Northern Ontario Export – Strategic Export Marketing Program funded by the Federal and Ontario Governments: Over 50 Northern Ontario mining supply and
service companies participated in the program; most companies in the program have significantly increased their businesses beyond expectations, with notable successes including: TBT Engineering, The Bucket Shop, Steelworks, North Bay Machining Company, Drillco Mining, KBM Resources, Kozar Engineering, Lakehead Iron Works.

He has built his career working closely with CEO’s; clarifying visions, honing strategies and developing execution skills to help turn their companies into Global Leaders.



About the Speaker

Global Growth specializes in taking Canadian manufacturing and service companies global. We help companies grow their business.

We work closely with highly engineered, Canadian manufacturing and service companies that have great ideas, strong products and the desire to accelerate growth in domestic, US and international markets. Our work begins with the CEO and management team to customize the appropriate growth strategies. We then shift focus to the sales team, providing them with the right tools and training to execute these strategies with positive, accelerated results.

As engineers ourselves, we speak the language and know the culture. As sales and marketing strategists, we ignite your business with new expertise. Our frontline experience means we bring relevant insights, practical examples and support that will energize your team.

We believe in developing separate growth strategies for North American and international markets, as each brings unique challenges and opportunities. Taking the time to understand your business, we identify the products, markets, positioning, promotions, agents, training and management required for
your success.

Presented by Chris Pritchard on Thursday, May 11, 2023



This lecture will be an opportunity for students to learn about a working room and pillar mine, that was being tracked and logged to understand the spread of failure zones in the mine.  There were two failure areas in and near the mine boundaries. The failures in one area of the mine started in an adjoining mine, and spread down dip rapidly into parts of the Denison Mine. We will review the methods used to minimize the spread of damage.  The other failure zone area was near the mine’s main mechanical shop. The concern over the spread of damage and the potential safety implications were a concern for the management team.  The monitoring techniques included the installation of a Generation 1 Analog MP250 Micro-Seismic monitoring system. Backfill placement was used to limit the damage. Bi-weekly tours of the areas near the mechanical shop were carried out to monitor and log the spread of the damage. Additionally, this area was under the shallow dipping Quirke Lake Thrust Faults, which rose above the bottom of a large deep lake over this section of the mine.  Monitoring continued until the mine’s closure in the summer of 1992.  I joined the CANMET Mining Group (Government of Canada) to complete the data collection, and to improve the safety of other mines, using the knowledge gained from the Denison Mine. This lead to the development of new technology for regional monitoring. The lecture will conclude with a summary of this useful opportunity to improve mine safety.


About the Speaker

Chris Pritchard is a Mining Engineering Technician with over 40 years of accident free experience in underground mining and large construction projects. Most recently he worked at Pritchard Mining Technologies Inc. providing ground support and geotechnical engineering services. He has worked at the Nickel Rim Mine, Falconbridge Mine, and the Craig – Onaping Mine in the Sudbury area, as a Ground Control Supervisor. Prior to this, Chris worked as a Rock Mechanics Technologist at Denison Mines in Elliot Lake, and at the CANMET Mining Research Laboratories. He began his career working at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited on their Nuclear Waste Management Program, and at Golder Associates as a Geotechnical Technician. Chris will share with us his ground control experience at Denison Mines, and subsequent analysis of this work at CANMET.

Back To Top