World-First Technology to Improve Groundwater Monitoring

About the project

NERA is supporting the commercialisation of Australian technology through a world-first field trial. CSIRO's SENSEI™ technology has the potential to dramatically improve the accuracy of groundwater monitoring activities relating to in-situ recovery (ISR) operations. SENSEI™ is a real-time groundwater monitoring sensor, hardware and software system that is cost-effective, low-maintenance and stable in low pH conditions.

Currently, regulatory groundwater monitoring at the four ISR operations across South Australia is a costly and labour-intensive activity, with results typically delayed by weeks or even months. This project aims to meet industry needs to improve the timeliness (i.e. real time) and efficiency of operational groundwater monitoring, while moving towards automation.

To achieve this, a total of 26 SENSEI™ sensors will be deployed in monitor wells at the Four Mile ISR mine in order to prove their applicability and effectiveness as an alternative to manual groundwater sampling and analysis.

Impact

Internationally, no known embedded, automated groundwater monitoring system exists for ISR operations. This first field trial of SENSEI™ in groundwater wells will determine its commercial suitability in ISR mining conditions. Furthermore, this robust technology is likely to be applicable for groundwater monitoring beyond ISR operations, such as monitoring for acid-mine drainage or in high saline environments.

The project will allow for more efficient, effective, economical and timely approaches to groundwater compliance monitoring in harsh environmental conditions.

If successful, SENSEI™ will be a world-first commercial solution for groundwater monitoring in low pH environments, offering a leading example of integrating smart technologies into mining operations. The trial will also assist in establishing a new standard in best-practice groundwater monitoring, enabling ISR operations around the world to make data-based decisions to mitigate groundwater impacts.

Project Members

Project members are working in close consultation with key South Australian (Department for Energy and Mining, Environment Protection Authority and Department for Environment and Water) and Commonwealth Regulatory bodies (Department of the Environment and Energy).

Project Timeframe

Current Status: Project has commenced

Start: July 2018

End: December 2019

Project Funding

Total Project Cost: $330,000.00

NERA: $150,000.00

Heathgate Resources: $170,000.00

Boss Resources: $10,000.00

*Funding excludes GST