Development of a Mass Balance Approach to Monitor Thiosalt and Understanding Environmental Risks Associated with Sulfur Species in Receivers

Ecoreg Solutions was a part of the 28th Annual BC MEND Metal Leaching/Acid Rock Drainage Workshop held in December 2021.

When analyzing for thiosalts, we thought we were comparing the same parameter across facilities and that by measuring them, we were obtaining actionable information and monitoring for potential aquatic risks. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about the discrepancies and differences between analytical methods and the need for standardization through our participation in the Mine Wastewater Solutions research project.

As part of the project, Ecoreg collected samples for years in both the tailings pond, and receivers at Hudbay’s Flin Flon operations. The results of this work supported the paper “Development of Robust and Cost-Effective Mass Balance Approaches to Monitor Thiosalt Risks for the Mining Industry” by Martin et. al. (2020). Further to this work, Ecoreg has been able to model the reactive sulfur pool over time, which has led to Saskatchewan regulators adopting the mass balance methods as opposed to measuring thiosalt in a lab. The research and Ecoreg’s modeling has highlighted the gaps in our understanding around thiosalts, sulfur speciation, toxicity and the role that microbes play in this.

It is not everyday that we get to see applied research taken up by regulators so quickly! But with Hudbay’s proactive support, the entire Mine Wastewater Solutions research team, and the foresight of Saskatchewan regulators who adopted it, it is very gratifying to see this taken up.

Ecoreg continues to conduct research and develop monitoring tools to further understand real sulfur related environmental risks in aquatic systems and the mechanisms that drive them.

Here is a summary of the the research completed thus far:

Please wait while flipbook is loading. For more related info, FAQs and issues please refer to DearFlip WordPress Flipbook Plugin Help documentation.

Share this post