British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Teck's Coal business unit applied research and development program - a watershed approach Fraser, Carla; Pumphrey, John; Qualizza, Clara


Teck’s Coal business unit is embarking on a comprehensive, applied research and development (R&D) initiative that will provide information to support management decisions with respect to mine design changes that will support the objective of maintaining watershed function in perpetuity, at all of Teck’s coal mining operations. The program will involve laboratory, pilot, prototype and commercial scale studies to ensure that results of technology testing are demonstrated and that indicators of watershed function (hydrologic and biogeochemical, in the short term), are established and verified at the dump, mine, and watershed scales. Projects within the program will be undertaken at all of Teck’s operations in the Elk Valley of southeast B.C., and at our Cardinal River Operations in Alberta. The projects are being undertaken in partnership with a team of industry and University-based research scientists and engineers. The program is a multi-year initiative designed to actively support mine planning and closure planning decisions on an ongoing basis through a developed technology transfer process. The overall applied R&D program is being developed using the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Data Quality Objectives (DQO) process as a guide. The DQO process is used to develop performance and acceptance criteria (or data quality objectives) that clarify study objectives, define the appropriate type of data, and specify tolerable levels of potential decision errors that will be used as the basis for establishing the quality and quantity of data needed to support decisions (EPA QA/G-4 2006). Teck is employing the DQO process at various levels to assemble the research program and to clearly link the research to management decisions and mine planning activities. The applied R&D program is a multi-disciplinary program with a selenium (Se) and watershed focus. It integrates applied research in the areas of biogeochemistry, water balance (hydrology, hydrogeology), landform design and reclamation. Core questions within the program will integrate results to address the broader management decisions which will allow for maintenance of healthy watershed function.

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