Logistics in Managing a Remote Mining Site

Although there is some overlap, mining water treatment is unlike most sectors in the water and wastewater industry. At the core of water and wastewater treatment operations, there is compliance, engineering, and operations & maintenance. However, when referring to water operations at a remote mining site, there are additional logistics to be considered. Key elements included travel and accommodations, remote and local staffing, wildlife, extreme climates, emergency plans, and much more. Logistics in managing a remote mining site are challenging and when the complexity of adhering to the ever-changing COVID-19 public health measures are factored in, a dynamic multi-tiered project management plan is required.

Situated along the northwest corner of Canada’s continental mainland, the Yukon has a population of approximately 43,000. Throughout the pandemic, the tightknit community had significant restrictions on who was permitted to travel into the western territory and for what reason. Through our research, it became apparent that entering the Yukon, although for essential services, would require meeting more regulations than travelling to other provinces in Canada.

Essential service travel measures

Deemed an essential service, Clearford did it’s due diligence to identify the necessary travel measures to enter Whitehorse, the capital of the territory, and assembled a local and remote team to ensure proper water management services were provided in a timely manner to operate the mobile water treatment system.

The majority of this preparation occurred during lockdown which, at the time, resulted in a mandated two week quarantine for those entering the Yukon, even for essential service providers. Shortly before commissioning of the plant, the COVID-19 vaccine rolled out and the quarantine requirement for vaccinated travellers arriving in the Yukon was lifted.

With approximately two days of travel from Ontario to the Yukon, the mine site management company requested all vaccinated travelers to provide proof of a negative COVID‑19 test within 48 hours of arriving on-site. Clearford found a local on-site testing clinic that offered optimal turnaround test result time.

“It was encouraging to continually check off tick boxes on our travel action item list,” said Clearford’s VP of Business Development, Andrew Vitaterna. “From multiple flights and long driving hours to rental trucks, meals and accommodations, there was a lot of research conducted to ensure our operators were well taken care of,” Mr. Vitaterna expressed.

Extreme climate considerations

While on-site, there were several other factors that came into play when operating at a remote site. It was common to have a furry “friend” try to make a companion out of one of our operators. Although the mining site was only 3km away from where our operators resided, it was not advised to walk the road with the various roaming wildlife including bears, moose, foxes, wood bison, and more.

In addition to curious wildlife, extreme climates were accounted for when discussing the safety of our operations team and satisfying the operational plan and timeline. With July being the hottest, and also the wettest, month of the year in the Yukon, and winter starting early, there were many new and unusual considerations regarding the safety of staff and operational objectives.

Torrential downpour

Excessive rain became a new safety hazard when everything was drenched and muddy. Although the site was designed for run off to exit the compound, the amount of consecutive rainy days caused pooling and soft ground making slips a constant hazard.

Everything goes a little slower than normal when there are consecutive days of torrential rainstorms. It was difficult to check for leaks in the lines and the Sodium Bicarbonat bags had to be kept dry by using tarps and building a shelter over the skids of bags. Unfortunately, some rainstorms were too heavy and damaged the shelter prompting a reconstruction by our team.

Long Arid Summer Days

Heat waves made for an arid summer and more responsibilities added to our daily site visit. Equipment over heating was a possibility in addition to light sensitive chemicals needing to be covered with tarps to prevent deterioration during days that can last 24 hours.

Some heat challenges can cause a domino effect. One example being high heat resulted in chemical off gassing and the lids to the chemical totes had to open to release the pressure. Off gassing in the chemical lines could lead to a pump losing prime and had to be checked constantly. Lack of proper chemical doses could result in low water quality and ultimately increase fouling of the membranes or even damage to the reverse osmosis (RO) membranes.

Each trailer had its own cooling and heating system, if the air conditioner failed the trailer would heat up and the temperature monitoring system would shut down the equipment to prevent damage. Fortunately, the air conditioners did not fail.

“Heat stroke is always an issue; hot, sweaty, and thirsty,” commented Clearford’s Account Manager, Tina Albert. “In these arid environments, dust covers everything. It was either dust or mud, take your pick. I choose dust,” Ms. Albert concluded.

A 7 month long winter made for a relatively short operational season compared to our seasonal sites in Ontario. Typically, decommissioning seasonal plants occurs during brisk fall days when the leaves are turning. However, in a location where majority of the year sees snow, it calls for an earlier decommission and even then, you are faced with some cold, icy nights.

Mobile mine water treatment system

The urgency to mitigate environmental damage at the retired mining site was a critical component in getting our licensed operators, account manager, and engineers safely to the site for commissioning and operating season.

A mobile water treatment system is optimal for remote areas which often include mining sites. The containerized treatment system can begin producing reliable water within a period as short as 4 hours. With a maximum achievable discharge rate objective, Clearford’s operating team worked around the clock to meet stringent discharge requirements and water quality responsibilities.

Joining local and remote operators

Assembling a qualified team did not happen by chance, communications and various recruitment strategies based around mining management logistics built the strong, diverse team that Clearford deployed for this project. In addition to providing safe water and environmental stewardship, Clearford supported community involvement by hiring first nations and local operators to operate the water treatment system. Hiring local staff improved our site knowledge and reduced the mobilization timeframe, and pairing local operators with mining experience operators allowed Clearford to weave together a seamless team.

Opening the tap to remote mining water operations further expands Clearford’s diverse profile of communities and geographic regions we serve.

About Clearford Water Systems Inc.
Clearford Water Systems Inc. is a provider of unified water management solutions for the design, build, finance, operation and maintenance of water and wastewater infrastructure systems. The Company’s technology-based water solutions include Clearford One® wastewater infrastructure systems, Clearford M-brane™ packaged treatment solutions, and a full range of UV Pure® water disinfection products. Clearford is the winner of the Frost & Sullivan 2017 Enabling Technology Leadership Award for Global Decentralized Water & Wastewater Treatment. For more information on Clearford Water Systems, please visit

Forward Looking Statements
This news release contains certain statements that constitute forward-looking statements as they relate to the Company and its management. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts but represent management’s current expectation of future events, and can be identified by words such as “believe”, “expects”, “will”, “intends”, “plans”, “projects”, “anticipates”, “estimates”, “continues” and similar expressions. Although management believes that the expectations represented in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, there can be no assurance that they will prove to be correct.

By their nature, forward-looking statements include assumptions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties that could cause actual future results, conditions, actions or events to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. If and when forward-looking statements are set out in this news release, Clearford will also set out the material risk factors or assumptions used to develop the forward-looking statements. Except as expressly required by applicable securities law, the Company assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward looking statements. The future outcomes that relate to forward-looking statements may be influenced by many factors, including, but not limited to: industry cyclicality; the ability to secure third party agreements; successful integration of Clearford’s system with third party technology; competition; reduction in demand for products; collection from customers; relationships with suppliers; product liability; intellectual property; reliance on key personnel; environmental; interest rates; uninsured and underinsured losses; operating hazards; risks of future legal proceedings; income tax matters; credit facilities; availability and terms of financing; distribution of securities; restrictions on potential growth; effect of market interest rates on price of securities; and potential dilution.

For more information contact:
Kevin Loiselle, President & CEO
Clearford Water Systems Inc.
Phone: 613 599 6474 ext. 303

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