The International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) and University of Saskatchewan (U of S) are teaming up to advance knowledge of deep groundwater systems.
“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.