Teck, UBC invest in tailings research acceleration pact

Miner Teck and the University of British Columbia (UBC) have together announced a C$4 million investment in a professorship that will advance research and education in mine tailings management safety and sustainability.

UBC is matching Teck’s $2 million endowment to fund lab-based research at undergraduate and graduate levels as well as a new professor to oversee the work. The latter will be based at UBC Applied Science’s Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering.

Once appointed, the processor will work across disciplines with industry experts and with leading consultancies to boost the capacity to exchange knowledge, new ideas and innovative approaches in the safe, responsible design, operation and closure of tailings storage facilities.

“The professorship will leverage UBC’s first-class facilities and highly specialized engineering expertise,” the school said, noting the search for that individual will begin this year.

“The [position] will also aim to strengthen the pipeline of highly skilled engineers to work in tailings management immediately after graduating.”

Through the endowment, the university said it will have the resources it needs to advance education and explore new solutions and technologies in tailings management for generations.

Teck CEO Jonathan Price said the project, part of a longstanding partnership between it and UBC, will enhance environmentally and socially responsible resource development through education and research.

“This investment will help to accelerate innovation in the mining sector, while supporting continued production of the critical materials needed for a modern, low-carbon world,” Price said.

UBC Applied Science dean James Olson added: “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. 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.”

Sources: teck.com, ubc.ca

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