Esker Site re-opening

Safe and successful reopening of Esker Site

We are pleased to report the safe and successful re-opening of our Esker Site in early January. The re-opening marks an important shift as we transition from an exploration-based camp to a project-focused site.

Our aim is to complete the characterization work and technical studies in delivering a definitive mine design by the end of the first quarter. This will enable us to advance environmental studies and permitting activities while also conducting a feasibility study as we further advance our Eagle’s Nest Project this year.

Esker spotlight: Mental Health Mondays

In fostering a positive and safe work environment, Esker Site starts each day with a Toolbox Safety
Meeting. This year, the team has also introduced themed days to highlight and bring awareness to
specific topics.

In a remote setting such as Esker Site, we understand that the work family often spends more time together than with their actual families, which can bring stress and anxiety to our team members.
To help address this and support our crew, we have introduced “Mental Health Mondays”. to provide a safe space for our team to engage in open and judgment-free conversations about mental health topics. The sessions begin with a short video discussing various subjects related to the impact on mental health resulting from remote work.

Following the video, the team engaged in a group discussion and each member had the opportunity to share their personal experiences.

The pilot presentation of Mental Health Mondays was a great success with enthusiastic participation. In a world where mental health affects nearly everyone, these discussions play a crucial role in fostering a supportive environment within our close-knit team.

What else is happening at Esker?

Esker Site also serves as a hub for various teams conducting research and technical studies.

Our environmental teams collect data year-round to track changes within the natural environment across the seasons. During winter, ice forms in local waterways around camp and our teams are committed to measuring ice thickness and collecting water quality samples.

This commitment is integral to our ongoing environmental studies, which also involves pinpointing streams that freeze solid.

Students Dig Deep!

Investing in the energy transition means supporting the next generation of mining professionals, which is why we regularly host student tours of our underground operations at Kambalda.

The regular tours are aimed at year 12 students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects as well as students already at university; many from the West Australian School of Mines at Curtin University and our local communities.

The tours provide students who are committed to the mining sector or thinking about joining it with the opportunity to experience underground mining in real life and create a network of fellow students and graduates.

Participants get exposure to surveying, geotechnical work, engineering, geology, environmental sciences and safety practices at a real operating mine. As well as the real-life exposure students get on our tours, the connection with industry experts is invaluable. In 2022, one of the tours involved Kate Woodall, the granddaughter of Dr Roy Woodall after who the decline at our Cassini mine is named.

Water Stewardship at Kamblada

The responsible stewardship of our precious water resource is a key aspect of our approach to sustainability at Kambalda. While we use minimal water in our exploration, development and production activities as all nickel is processed offsite, we do recycle water where possible, ensure we have no reliance on water from artesian or stressed water sources, and do not discharge water into areas of environmental fragility.

Because of upgrades to existing water infrastructure at our Northern Operations and the introduction of recycled mining process water, we were able to reduce our total site water usage by 6.5 per cent in FY22 despite significantly increasing our operational activity.

We constantly monitor and evaluate our water infrastructure and management practices to ensure we minimise use of this valuable resource wherever possible.

Solar Powered Accommodation Village

Our Southern Operations Accommodation Village (SOAV) was built with sustainability at the heart of its design. Partnering with two local Western Australian businesses, Amanda Energy Solutions and Switch Batteries, SOAV was designed with a renewable power solution capable of generating between 80to 100 per cent of its daily power requirements.

The system includes roof-top solar panels and a battery with the ability to be monitored and administered remotely, designed to be scaled and refined over time as the needs of the village change.

Several other design elements have been incorporated into the village to improve energy efficiency and enhance amenity, including:

  • 100 per cent recyclable, high thermal efficiency building panels.
  • Energy efficient double glazing on all buildings.
  • Inverter air conditioners.
  • LED lighting throughout the entire village, eliminating “dark spots”.
  • Deliberate selection of appliances based on energy rating.
  • Energy efficient, 2.2metreverandas on all buildings.
  • Smart design potable water system.
  • Local, high-quality catering.

Not only does the village represented a step-change in our employee experience, but it has also eliminated the need for our people to travel a daily round trip of 120kilometres to our Northern Operations accommodation village, supporting greater overall wellbeing, health and safety.

Inclusion and Diversity at Kambalda

Supporting our workforce to be diverse, inclusive and flexible is an important goal at our Kambalda operations. We are proud to have achieved a well above industry average of 33per cent female participation in our workforce and 39 percent female representation at a Board and Executive Management level in FY22. We have also worked to close the gender pay gap, implementing rigorous remuneration frameworks to assess and reward individuals in like-for-like positions based on merit, not gender.

The Covid-19 pandemic also highlighted more than ever our need to adopt flexible work practices across our organisation, including site-based roles where it was safe and possible to do so. The use of technology, particularly video-based software was crucial in keeping our workforce visually connected during the pandemic, as were the regular health and wellbeing checks on the team by management.These practices carry on today, enabling employees to perform their roles from home when they need and are able to.

While flexible work arrangements are not always achievable for our site-based employees, we have developed a state-of-the-art Southern Operations Accommodation Village to support employees to reduce their travel time to and from site, lessening employee fatigue both at work and when they return home to their families.

Reducing Carbon 

How carbon traps heat from the sun in the atmosphere

Many companies are talking about reducing carbon footprints and achieving net zero emissions, but what exactly does the term ‘net zero’ mean?

Net zero means achieving a balance between the carbon released into the atmosphere and the carbon removed from it. Net zero occurs when the amount of carbon we add to the atmosphere is no more than the amount removed. This can be achieved through a combination of emission reduction and emission removal.

The carbon we are referring to is carbon dioxide or CO2, which is made up of one atom of carbon and two atoms of oxygen. Carbon dioxide is released when humans or animals exhale and when materials are burned or decomposed. CO2 is beneficial because plants use it during photosynthesis to make food.

The emission of CO2 and consumption of CO2 is called the carbon cycle. When more CO2 is emitted than consumed, it results in a change in the earth’s atmosphere: the more CO2, the more heat is retained through a phenomenon called the ‘greenhouse effect’ resulting in increasing temperatures and climate change. Climate change causes fluctuations in weather patterns such as storms, wildfires, and droughts which affect people, plants and animals’ ability to thrive.

Electric vehicle charging

In 2021, Canada’s largest carbon footprint sources were the oil and gas sector (28%) and the transportation sector (22%). So, how can we reduce carbon emissions?

One big step is moving away from internal combustion engines that use and burn gasoline to power vehicles and replacing them with electric vehicles (EVs). This would reduce our reliance on the oil and gas sector and the number of vehicles emitting CO2.

As part of Canada’s climate plans and targets, the federal government has laid out a roadmap to reduce emissions and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. As part of this plan, automakers will be required to sell only zero-emission vehicles in Canada: at least 20% of zero-emission vehicles by 2026, 60% percent by 2030, and 100% by 2035.

Our Eagle’s Nest Project contains the high-grade nickel needed for the batteries that go into EVs. There are multiple EV battery factories planned to be built in Canada over the next few years and we have an opportunity to create a local supply of nickel for use in these batteries mined sustainably in partnership with local communities. We are also looking into implementing sustainable and electric technologies at our mine site to further reduce CO2 emissions as we aim to be a net zero operation.

Nicola Forrest Visits Canada 

Nicola Forrest at Esker Site

In August, Nicola Forrest AO, Tattarang Director and Co-Chair of the Minderoo Foundation, travelled from Australia to visit our sites and the communities of Webequie and Marten Falls First Nations.

Wyloo is a company in the Tattarang portfolio and we are thankful to have hosted Nicola for her first visit to Canada.

It was an exciting time to exchange stories and knowledge and to show the work we are doing at Esker Site and our Eagle’s Nest Project.

Special thanks to the communities of Webequie and Marten Falls who graciously welcomed our team with their hospitality and delicious feasts! We ate bannock, fried fish, and moose stew.

“Nicola’s visit to the Ring of Fire reinforced her commitment to supporting us in the sustainable development of the Eagle’s Nest Project, in collaboration with local communities. It was a great opportunity for our team to showcase the progress we’ve made. She was so engaging with our teams and local community members and we look forward to welcoming her back again.”
– Wyloo Canada CEO, Kristan Straub

Protecting the Peatlands 

Peat moss

The region we work in contains areas of swampy terrain, which is characterized by a material called peat. Peat plays a significant role in climate change, so it is important that we carry out development in a responsible way to protect the peatlands.

What is peat?

Peat is soil that builds up in wet environments and is made of partly decomposed moss, leaves, trees, plants and lichen. These wet environments do not contain oxygen so decomposers such as bacteria, insects and fungi cannot survive, which prevent the plant material from fully decomposing. This material accumulates over many years: as new peat is formed, older peat gets pushed down deeper to create a thick layer of peat.

Why is peat important?

Peatlands store vast amounts of carbon. Given that the plant material trapped by peat does not decompose, it does not release carbon dioxide (CO2). Instead, the peat traps the carbon, preventing it from being released into the environment. Read our story on Reducing Carbon and the affects carbon has on the climate.

Peatlands are also an important habitat for caribou, birds, and other mammals. Reindeer moss, a lichen that grows in the peatlands, serves as a food source for caribou.

What are we doing to protect the peat?

We actively protect the peat by minimizing disturbance during our exploration programs and other site activities. We use indirect methods such as electromagnetic and magnetic testing for metals, which do not disturb the peat.

Exploration drilling takes place either in the winter when the ground is frozen or in the summer when we build log platforms that sit on top of the peat. When our drilling programs are complete, we leave the site clean and free to return to its natural state or rehabilitate certain areas by planting trees where there is insufficient growth.

For our Eagle’s Nest Project, the current design covers a small surface footprint of around one square kilometre planned mostly on esker rather than on peat. Ore will be extracted underground and we will also be one of the first mines to store 100% of our tailings completely underground. This will minimize our impact on the environment and to the surrounding peat.

We are constantly looking for ways to advance responsible development and will continue to implement industry-leading processes and technologies for the sustainable development of our mine.

Replanting vegetation on drill pads

We are now Wyloo!

Eagle’s Nest Project Esker Site, Northern Ontario

Same company, new name

We are excited to announce that our name has changed from Ring of Fire Metals to Wyloo. 

Earlier this year, our parent company Wyloo Metals acquired a nickel producer in Australia, Mincor Resources. Following this acquisition, the decision was made to unify all three companies – Wyloo Metals, Mincor Resources and Ring of Fire Metals – under the name Wyloo.

While our name has changed, we remain the same team here in Canada, with the same priorities and commitments: to develop the Eagle’s Nest Project sustainably in partnership with local communities.

As a unified company, our portfolio now includes two nickel mine operations in the Kambalda region of Western Australia: the Cassini mine and Northern Operations. There are around 300 employees who work at our Kambalda sites and we are happy to welcome our Australian teammates to the Wyloo family as we grow on a global scale!

Kambalda Southern Operations Accommodation Village, Western Australia

Kambalda Cassini Mine, Western Australia

We will draw upon the experience, resources and knowledge gained from our operations in Australia as we progress with development of our Eagle’s Nest Project. Importantly, we are building this project with First Nation communities through a co-leadership approach by forming genuine partnerships and mutual collaboration. Our commitment is to provide training and employment and award $100 million in contracts to Indigenous-led businesses as we move forward with development in the region.

As we continue to run programs at our Esker Site, which sits on top of our Eagle’s Nest deposit, be sure to connect with our team if you have any questions or would like more information on the work we are doing in the region.

CONTACT US:
info@wyloorof.com

807-285-4808, Toll Free: 1-855-966-7668

Employee Spotlight

Name: Lindberg Baxter
Community: Marten Falls/Fort Albany
Job Position: Field Assistant

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR ROLE LOOK LIKE?

It depends on the season or what programs we have planned. My tasks can include line cutting, geophysics survey work, moving core, packing trails, or cleaning up site.

WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING AT ESKER?

It’s a blast!  We work with fun people – we’re basically family. We’re always laughing and having a good time while working hard. Also, freezing and roasting depending on the time of year.

HOW IS WORKING 2 WEEKS ON + 2 WEEKS OFF?

It’s good! You get used to people cooking for you so when you go home you don’t want to cook. It teaches you how to manage your time when you’re at home. Sometimes it’s hard because you miss out on things back home, but the work is rewarding.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU’VE LEARNED SINCE STARTING WORK AT ROF METALS?

I’ve learned that I like to work hard and see my completed work after I’m done. I find value in working hard – it’s fun and I’ve learned to enjoy working with people and by myself. It’s grounding.

This job has changed my life – I’ve learned how to be responsible, independent and how to be myself. Also, that you sweat A LOT haha.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE ESKER MEAL?

It’s a tie between Cory’s ribs with mashed potatoes, gravy, fries and broccoli with cheese or his cream cheese chicken and rice.