World-First Technology to Improve Groundwater Monitoring

About the project

NERA is supporting the commercialisation of Australian technology through a world-first field trial of CSIRO's Vesi™ technology. Vesi™ is an advanced groundwater monitoring system, featuring revolutionary patented sensor technologies, capable of delivering continuous real-time data for multiple chemical and physical parameters. Through this demonstration project, this technology has the potential to dramatically improve the accuracy of groundwater monitoring activities.

Effective groundwater management is vital for helping the energy sector operate safely, efficiently and meet government regulations. It is also crucial for protecting the environment and local communities.

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 Vesi™ sensors will be deployed in monitor wells at the Four Mile ISR Mine in South Australia to prove their applicability and effectiveness as an alternative to manual groundwater sampling and analysis.

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. Internationally, no known embedded, automated groundwater monitoring system exists for ISR operations.


“Quite simply we see this as an opportunity to create a true step-change in groundwater monitoring, to reduce our costs and increase productivity while improving environmental outcomes”

Kathryn Levingstone, HSSE, Regulatory and Compliance Superintendent, Heathgate Resources

Impact

This first field trial of Vesi™ in groundwater wells will determine its commercial suitability in ISR mining conditions. The project will allow for more efficient, effective, economical and timely approaches to groundwater compliance monitoring in harsh environmental conditions. Once proven, this robust technology is likely to be applicable for monitoring beyond ISR operations, such as monitoring for acid-mine drainage or in high saline environments.

If successful, Vesi™ 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.

CSIRO are actively seeking partners with water quality monitoring problems to participate in a commercialisation grant and significantly subsidised field trials in 2021. Click here to find out more about participating as a trial partner.


“What makes this project really exciting to be involved in is that it is Australian research and Australian manufacturing combining to tackle a national challenge”

Dr Kathie McGregor, Director, Active Integrated Matter Future Science Platform, CSIRO

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 is underway

Start: July 2018

End: June 2022

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