Development of an Automated System for Continuous Environmental Monitoring of Ground Water

Science Presentation | Kathie McGregor

Abstract

Effective groundwater management is vital for helping in situ recovery (ISR) and other mining sites operate safely, efficiently and meet government regulations. It is also crucial for protecting the environment and local communities. However, the current best-practice method for ISR operations relies upon a manual ‘pump and test’ method that has significant challenges. These include high installation and labour costs, high maintenance requirements, and lengthy processing times that delay corrective actions.There are no commercially available, low manitenance in-situ monitoring systems of solution chemistry that are suitable for deep ground water wells or mineral leaching processes.

The CSIRO-developed SENSEI™ system is an end-to-end sensor, hardware and software solution, featuring patented, solid-state electrochemical sensors for continuous measurement of multiple chemical properties. It can operate in remote and extreme conditions, including low pH conditions (acid) and ground water pressures of at least 20 bar. CSIRO began a 12-month field trial of SENSEI sensor packs at Heathgate Resources’ remote Four Mile West uranium mine in November 2018.  This talk will describe the development of the sensor materials, and the pathway from laboratory to commercial prototype and field trial demonstration.

 

Presenting Author

Kathie McGregor

Late Career Researcher
CSIRO – Mineral Resources

Kathie holds a PhD in electrochemistry/inorganic chemistry from the University of Melbourne, and has more than 20 years experience as a research leader at CSIRO. Her expertise in electrochemistry and high temperature chemistry has been applied in battery technology, light metal production, alloy design and sensor development, and she has led numerous R&D projects with Australian and international companies. Presently she co-ordinates a portfolio of strategic and commercial projects in mineral processing and metal production, and is responsible for driving the strategy of a CSIRO platform electrochemical sensor technology (Sensei™). Kathie is also the Acting Leader of the AIM FSP.

Additional Authors

  • Mikko Vepsalainen (CSIRO)
  • Miao Chen (CSIRO)
  • Daniella Caruso (CSIRO)
  • David Macedo (CSIRO)
  • Dylan Marley (CSIRO)
  • Tom Austin (CSIRO)
  • Tony Kilpatrick (CSIRO)
  • Avi Bendavid (CSIRO)