Harvesting geothermal energy from active mines of Canada; a field study
CIM Vancouver 2016
Dr Seyed Ali Ghoreishi-Madiseh (Research Associate - McGill University), NA leyla Amiri (PhD student - McGill University), Prof Ferri Hassani (Webster Chair in Mining Engineering - McGill University)
Abundant mine waters of underground mines offer considerable amounts of geothermal heat that can replace fossil fuels at mine sites. The few existing mine geothermal projects use the waters accumulated in the underground galleries of abandoned mines. However, the authors believe that actives mines are much more suitable to host geothermal systems for number of reasons.
This study aims to assess the potential geothermal energy available at eight underground mines in Ontario, Canada. These mines have been visited by McGill’s research group to observe the operations and collect in-situ data.
It was found that the total potential heat gain from eight active mines in Ontario is 8,070 kW with 5010 GPM of water flow. This available energy can provide heating for 26,710 average Canadian houses. Additionally, it is shown that by replacing natural gas heaters with geothermal ones, total of $440,000 can be saved per year. More importantly, the carbon footprint of these mining operations can be reduced by 7,275 tonnes/year, equivalent to 712,952 trees. The results predict that more benefits lie in replacing electric heaters with geothermal systems ($904,000/year of savings in energy cost and 9,907 tonnes/year of reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to 970,833 trees).