Student studies northern mine tailings management 

mine columns

Ayesha Ahmed is a student research assistant, who is studying mine tailings management in a northern climate with the Northern Mine Remediation program.  

Ayesha is analyzing the impact that freeze-thaw cycles have on mine tailing oxidation in a saturated condition (meaning with variable water levels). She helped prepare a literature review in partnership with Natural Resources Canada and other YukonU researchers and analyzed several data from previous experiments. Her work helped to understand the use and application of saturated cover technology in the North. The report will be made public later this year. 

As a result of the literature review and following the first lab-scale experiment, a secondary lab-scale version of the project is currently underway. It consists of columns containing inert material (that will replace mine tailing) that will be put through simulated freeze and thaw cycles. Oxygen diffusion in the column will be performed by an innovative way under freezing condition. Ayesha will use specialized heat focus mechanisms with customized 3D printed parts to overcome water leakage problems that have occurred in previous sensor-based experiments. This type of research is very important in understanding the ways mine waste management systems interact with the environment in the North.