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Sustainable development in the mining sector: the Government of Québec helps fund six projects headed by Polytechnique professors

September 4, 2020 - Source : NEWS

Five professors have earned funding totalling $2.2 million for their research projects – three of which will be undertaken as part of the RIME UQAT-Polytechnique program.

Recherche en développement durable dans le secteur minier.

(Photo : LaRonde mining complex - Mines Agnico Eagle) 

Funding for the six aforementioned projects comes from Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, as well as the prestigious Fonds de recherche du Québec - Nature et technologies (FRQNT), as part of the Programme de recherche en partenariat sur le développement durable du secteur minier. The latter program supports technological innovations and the perfecting of new processes to assist the mining industry to reach environmental and technical challenges inherent to Québec’s geological context. Projects shepherded by Polytechnique professors will be completed in partnership with organizations in the mining sector.

Assistant Professor Gabriel Fabien-Ouellet (Department of Civil, Geological, and Mining Engineering) was recently awarded $381,000 from the Québec government for a research project to optimize seismic wave imagery that among other things, will be used for mining exploration. Project partners include mining company Canadian Royalties, Laurentian University’s Mineral Exploration Research Centre, and the company Géophysque GPR International.

Assistant Professor Carlos Ovalle (also from the Department of Civil, Geological, and Mining Engineering), has received funding in the amount of $381,000 for a project that will develop hydro-geotechnical and operational criteria to improve the long-term stability of waste rock piles, and mining operations which seek to find value in waste rock. Agnico Eagle Mines, Canadian Malartic, IAMGOLD, and Rio Tinto Fer et Titane are the identified industrial partners for Professor Ovalle’s project.

Full Professor Michel Gamache (Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering), has not one, but two research projects that have received financial support. One project, focused on data analysis for the preventative and predictive maintenance of mining equipment has received $377,190 in funding. Partners for this project are Le Groupe MISA and Newtrax Technologies. Professor Gamache will also receive $381,800 for a different project that will optimize mining operations in real time; industrial partners for this project are once again Le Groupe MISA, as well as SimWell.

Assistant Professor Thomas Pabst (also from the Department of Civil, Geological, and Mining Engineering), received $381,000 from the Government of Québec for a research project that will manage and progressively reclaim acid-generating mining tailings storage facilities. Mining companies Agnico Eagle Mines, Canadian Malartic, IAMGOLD, Raglan Mine, and Newmont Goldcorp, as well as the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (Norway) are project partners.

Assistant Professor Samuel Yniesta (also from the Department of Civil, Geological, and Mining Engineering) has received $313,690 for a project focused on new geotechnical risk assessment and risk reduction approaches for reactive mining tailings stored on ground surfaces. This project’s industrial partners are Agnico Eagle Mines and Canadian Malartic Mines.

Projects to be undertaken at RIME UQAT-Polytechnique

The research projects headed by Professors Carlos Ovalle, Thomas Pabst, and Samuel Yniesta will be completed as part of the Research Institute of Mines and the Environment (RIME) UQAT-Polytechnique.

Established in 2013 by Polytechnique Montréal and the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), the Institute adheres to a research program that seeks to develop original, environmental, and practical solutions for a mine’s entire lifecycle, all while training highly-qualified labour for the future.

“Thanks to support from the FRQNT and RIME’s industrial partners, these very innovative projects can get underway, and address environmental issues crucial to sustainable development in mining operations,” comments Professor Thomas Pabst, the Scientific Director representing Polytechnique at RIME.

“These projects compliment each other, and also meet geotechnical and geochemical sustainability needs. Multi-disciplinarity is the key to the RIME’s projects, and enables us to offer practical solutions adapted to the challenges that we currently see on mining sites,” notes Pabst.

Professor Bruno Bussière (Scientific Director representing UQAT at RIME), himself has also received funding of $381,000 for a research project about the hydro-geotechnical behaviour of tailings ponds in Nordic climates. Of note is the fact that Professor Bussière earned his Mining Engineering degree (Po 91) from Polytechnique Montréal, where he also earned a Master’s degree in 1993, and his PhD in Hydrogeology and Mining Environment (also Polytechnique) in 1999.

In 2019, Polytechnique Montréal, UQAT, as well as mining companies Agnico Eagle Mines, Mine Canadian Malartic, IAMGOLD, Raglan Mines, Newmont-Goldcorp Mine Éléonore, and Rio Tinto fer et Titane renewed their commitments to the RIME research program, until 2026.

Learn more

Professor Gabriel Fabien-Ouellet – expertise 
Professor Michel Gamache – expertise 
Professor Carlos Ovalle – expertise
Professor Thomas Pabst – expertise
Professor Samuel Yniesta – expertise
Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering website
Department of Civil, Geological, and Mining Engineering website
RIME UQAT- Polytechnique website

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