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sector_ico_Mining_trans Mining

Field-applicable monitoring and process-control of industrial mine water treatment bioreactors

  • Project Leaders: Susan Baldwin, Stephane Brienne
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $399975
  • Program/Competition: User Partnership Program
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Fiscal Year: 2016
  • Status: Closed

Teck Resources Limited (Teck) is the second largest exporter of steelmaking coal in the world, producing large quantities of waste rock as byproduct. Teck has made strides to minimize the environmental impact of naturally occurring constituents such as selenium and nitrate from waste rock to accumulate in the watershed and affect aquatic life. However, biological treatments within bioreactors (vessels in which a chemical process is carried out), are challenging to optimize due to lack of understanding of microbial processes responsible for selenium and nitrate removal, posing a risk of undesirable reactor performance. This project kicks off a 5 year long collaboration between Teck, Tetra Tech, and UBC to use advanced microbiological data for developing field deployable monitoring and process control tools to diagnose bioreactor performance and optimize future operations. This study will identify the key components required to minimize the environmental risks of the naturally occurring constituents from waste rocks in steelmaking coal industry and to reduce the company’s operating expense at many mine locations in BC.