Australian universities, mining majors partner on project to reduce risk of tailings dam failures

Aerial view, tailings dam. Stock image.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Applied Science and Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.A and TECK.B, NYSE: TECK) (“Teck”) announced on Monday a C$4 million ($2.9m) investment into a new professorship focused on enhancing safety and sustainability in mine tailings management.

Teck’s C$2 million ($1.47m) endowment will be matched by UBC to fund a new professor and lab-based research focused on tailings management at undergraduate and graduate levels.

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The new professor position will be housed within UBC Applied Science’s Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering – a globally recognized leader in research into tailings management.

Working across different disciplines with industry experts and consultancies, the appointed professor will build greater capacity to exchange knowledge, new ideas and innovative approaches in the safe and responsible design, operation and closure of tailings storage facilities, Teck said in a media release.

The professorship will also aim to strengthen the pipeline of highly skilled engineers to work in tailings management immediately after graduating. UBC’s search for an appropriate professor will begin this year.

“There is a global shortage of educators in this field, and an important opportunity to build capacity and knowledge retention around safe and responsible tailings management, James Olson, Dean, UBC Faculty of Applied Science said in the statement. “By partnering with Teck, we can accelerate our research in this area and better educate tomorrow’s engineers, to bring about more environmentally sustainable tailings solutions.”




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