Geochemistry

Supporting your project's geochemical & water quality needs

An understanding of the processes and mechanisms that influence water flow and the composition of the geological materials involved in water-rock interactions is fundamental to the assessment and prediction of water quality. BGC integrates geochemistry in every avenue of our geotechnical and water resource services, which provide comprehensive and efficient solutions to our clients. Our team of hydrogeochemists has a diverse skillset to help clients address their geochemical needs across the mining and pipeline life cycles and to support the engineering of water management designs.

Environmental Geochemistry

BGC’s hydrogeochemists have expertise in aqueous geochemistry, acid rock drainage and metal leaching (ARD/ML), and neutral drainage theory and application. Leveraging these specialized skills, BGC provides the following range of services to clients, which integrate their needs with the evolving practice of geochemistry across the globe: 

  • Design and implementation of ARD/ML characterization and water quality monitoring programs  
  • Regulatory submission and permitting support 
  • Field-based monitoring and/or office-based support in construction and operations through to post-closure 
  • Development and implementation of Management Plans for mining  
  • Contaminant transport mapping  
  • Flow and load accretion studies.
Water Quality Modelling

Our hydrogeochemists work alongside BGC’s hydraulic and groundwater numerical modellers to develop geochemical source terms. These source terms are inputted into coupled water balance and water quality models (e.g., in GoldSimTM) for the prediction of chemical concentrations/loads associated with mine facilities and receiving environments. Simulated results are used in sitewide operational modelling/monitoring, design of water treatment or water management strategies, and development of site performance objectives. Consideration of non-conservative transport mechanisms may be incorporated through source term development, analytical calculations and/or externally modelled using geochemical software such as PHREEQC. 

Water Management Design

The management of contact water, through water control or treatment measures, is important for water resource protection and is part of BGC’s multi-disciplinary approach to providing our clients with effective design options and planning. Simulated results from water quality modelling guide the development and selection of water management designs, which integrate geotechnical, engineering, and water flow/chemistry design considerations and objectives. BGC has experience with designing and implementing water management structures using a variety of approaches and methods (e.g., perimeter ditch, interception trench, cut-off wall, pump-back seepage interception system, and encapsulated ARD/ML waste).  

Linear Infrastructure

Projects involving pipelines, roads, or railways differ from mining projects in their linear nature, with the potential to intersect a larger number of unique geologic lithologies than more centralized mining footprints, and most bedrock typically presents low to very low total sulphur percentages. BGC has developed a stepwise approach to conducting geochemical hazard assessments, and established criteria to evaluate ARD/ML potential and assign a geochemical hazard rating (from Very Low to High) across the linear alignment. The geochemical hazard rating is also associated with the field management plan to inform the construction crews on procedures to recognize/validate the geochemical hazard through grading/ditching, manage the spoils, and design mitigative measures to reduce the potential of these materials to produce ARD/ML conditions.

Related Projects

Key Contacts

Sharon Blackmore

Sharon Blackmore

Principal Hydrogeochemist, Geochemistry Team Lead