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TitleNACMMR energy supply sub-committee report for 1979
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorSage, R
SourceCanada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology, Energy Research Program Report ERP 80-4 (TR), 1980, 48 pages, Open
Access logo Open Access
PublisherEnergy, Mines and Resources Canada
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Released1980 01 01; 2017 06 06
NACMMR's (National Advisory Committee for Mining and Metallurgical Research) bi-annual review of CANMET's energy supply R & D was held in October 1979. A sub-committee of 16 senior executives from industry and provincial government in a two-day meeting studied current and planned work, discussed details with CANMET staff, and made recommendations for the future. CANMET's energy supply R & D includes oil sands mining and uranium reserve assessment, but this review concentrated largely on coal, from reserve assessment through mining to preparation. Oil sands mining was considered /1 only briefly and uranium assessment not at all. (Oil sands, heavy oil, uranium and coal processing and utilization R & D fall into other CANMET sub-programs and have been separately reviewed by NACMMR. General recommendations are concerned with the expected massive increase in coal production and use, reflecting its importance as a major indigenous energy source, and particularly with the disproportionately low level federal funding of coal R & D is necessary; current federal spending of $3 r million per year is but a small fraction of direct federal revenues from coal production, and should be at least tripled by 1985. Coal directly contributes to solving two of Canada's most pressing problems: balance-of-payments (coal exports are currently worth $500 million annually); and energy self-sufficiency. Often coal can substitute for oil as a fuel, and be converted into liquids or gases. Recent events worldwide, and particularly in the Middle East, have emphasized the vulnerability of North America generally to an interruption of oil supplies. Expanded use of coal would place Canada in a much more secure energy supply position. R & D is needed in mining technology. CANMET is doing valuable work in specific aspects of mining, but in the long term a broader study of which mining systems are most appropriate in different regions of Canada will be invaluable to the coal industry. Coal transportation R & D must be emphasized, because high freight costs, aggravated by such technical difficulties as spontaneous combustion and handling frozen coal, are the biggest single factor inhibiting increased export and domestic use of Canadian coal. Preparation techniques should be developed to give the highest value product for rail transport, and such alternatives as pipelining must be encouraged. More coal-related R & D is needed in the Maritimes. Coal's immediate potential in contributing to energy self-sufficiency is greatest in the Maritimes, but the difficulties of production - largely from undersea mines - and of removing sulphur before use are significant. Cooperation between R & D agencies in Canada must be fostered. In particular, the Alberta-based Coal Mining Research Centre (CMRC) and CANMET must continue in their existing harmonious relationships, and prevent duplicating work or facilities. Increased R & D effort will require additional skilled personnel. The availability of trained researchers must be ensured. 14 7 NACMMR's own contribution to CANMET's efforts would be enhanced by h replacing the current energy sub-committees - supply z processing and I - utilization - by one each for coal, oil sands/heavy oils, and nuclear P, energy. The new sub-committees would consider all aspects of their commodities, from resource assessment through to end use. Better use of members' talents and time would result from this change. Contracting-out procedures should be streamlined. Contract R & D is a useful mechanism, currently hindered by the bureaucracy involved. Streamlined procedures are needed, particularly when the contractor is not benefiting financially, as is often the case in CANMET's cost-shared contracts. Specific recommendations are made by project. CANMET's existing energy supply projects are largely endorsed, but such safety-related projects as fire and explosion R & D are emphasized in importance, and coal resource/ reserve assessment, though nationally significant, is not rated as having a high demand on CANMET's R & D capabilities. Five new projects are recommended: - In situ Gasification Studies for off-shore Nova Scotia coal that cannot be mined; - Ash and Moisture Reduction in low-rank coals to improve marketability; - Dust Control in Coal Mines, because increased production will necessitate greater control of the working environment; - Improved Geophysical Logging for coal quality determination to maximize data obtained from Canada's extensive exploration drilling; - Mining Technology, to identify and begin demonstrating mining techniques most appropriate for Canada.

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