Innovation in Mine Water Management: Remote, Real-time Sensors for Water Quality Monitoring

CIM Vancouver 2016
Dr Philippa Huntsman-Mapila (CanmetMINING, Natural Resources Canada), Mr Dennis Nazarenko (Business Development Manager - LOOKNorth ), Mr Michael Flynn (Canada Mining Innovation Council )
Water quality monitoring is an integral component of environmental management programs for mining operations. Currently, most water quality monitoring is conducted by way of “grab” sampling, whereby personnel are deployed to collect field samples that are subsequently transported to a laboratory for analysis.
Remote, real-time water quality monitoring presents several opportunities for improving on this approach. Operational costs can be reduced, transport / contamination errors can be minimized, and health and safety risks can be mitigated, particularly when personnel are required to collect samples in remote locations. Crucially, remote, real-time water quality monitoring enables a significantly greater temporal representation of water quality, as opposed to the “snapshot” that grab sampling provides.

The Canada Mining Innovation Council has conducted several studies on the state of remote, real-time water quality monitoring as it relates to the mining business. Technology and performance gaps have been identified. Technical specifications and requirements for the “ideal” sensor package have been developed. Technology readiness levels (TRLs) for various technology clusters have been assessed.

This paper presents the results of these studies. Approaches to coordinate and facilitate the development of sensor platforms that meet mining industry needs are discussed.
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