From ore to ferroalloy at Niobec Mine: The role of the geologist in ISO 9002 implementation

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 90, No. 1007, 1997

Denis Villeneuve and Eddy Dénommé Niobec Inc., St-Honoré, Quebec

Niobec mine, a producer of pyrochlore concentrates since 1976, became a producer of ferroniobium in 1994 and achieved accreditation to the ISO 9002 standard in 1995. The goal of ISO 9002 is to ensure that the products supplied to clients regularly meet their specifications, through explicit work standards and procedures throughout the production process, from deposit appraisal to ferroniobium production. A key element of ISO 9002 implementation at Niobec consists of the quality control procedures applied to the raw materials: the ore fed to the mill and the pyrochlore concentrate fed to the reduction plant. These controls extend from exploration, deposit appraisal, mine planning and reserves estimation, mining, mineral processing and, finally, ferroniobium production. The implementation of ISO 9002 has allowed more efficient control of the quality of the final product sold to clients. It requires interactive team work, the role of the geologist being to relate all information pertaining to raw material and product quality to the geological framework of the deposits.
Keywords: Geology, Exploration, ISO 9002, Niobec Mine.