“Monitoring and investigation of deep groundwater systems, such as the saline aquifers used by the potash industry for waste water management, can be a challenge,” said Al Shpyth, IMII executive director. “This project will provide new insights into the response of such deep aquifers to their continued use for waste water management.”
Grant Ferguson, associate professor in the U of S Department of Civil and Geological Engineering, is lead investigator of the project. He explained that deep injection of waste waters is necessary to protect the surface waters and shallow groundwater people depend upon.
“Deep” injection is very deep indeed¾typically well beneath the kilometre range where potash formations themselves are found. It is an effective strategy in terms of protecting the surface environment and contributes to sustainable resource development.”
Research at the U of S supports sustainable resource development by advancing knowledge with respect to the growth of mining and extraction processes, and understanding and minimizing the potential for environmental impacts from waste management activities.
Ferguson explained that the research will draw upon knowledge of deep geology from the petroleum industry to develop new ways of assessing deep groundwater systems related to mining. As a result, information gained could benefit other efforts to guide sustainable development in oil and gas and carbon sequestration.
The IMII is a unique industry-government-post-secondary institution education and research institution partnership jointly funded by industry and government. The Institute is a catalyst to developing industry-driven education and training programs to address labour force needs in the minerals sector, and conducting industry-driven research and development to address common needs with regards to safety, mining materials and the environment.
About the University of Saskatchewan
The University of Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s top 15 research-intensive universities, welcoming more than 20,000 Canadian and international students annually. Energy and mineral resources are among its signature areas of research strengths, emphasizing sustainable resource development and sound policy to meet society’s needs while conserving ecosystems and sharing benefits with all.
For more information, contact:
Al Shpyth, Executive Director
University of Saskatchewan
Jennifer Thoma, Media Relations Specialist