IOC Geohazard Risk Management System

CLIENT: Rio Tinto/Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC)

LOCATION: Quebec and Labrador, Canada

BGC Engineering Inc. (BGC) developed a Geohazard Risk Management System for the QNS&L Railway which runs from Sept Îles, Québec to Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It is used to assess and manage the relative risk of loss of life due to a train derailment resulting from geohazard events on 250 miles of railway. The system includes a geohazard events database, geohazard inventory and risk ratings for over 4000 site inspections of 900 identified geohazards, and reporting functions to facilitate communication of risk.BGC’s experience in lidar change detection along linear infrastructure was applied to the QNS&L Railway to supplement the site inspection program and assist in the characterization of geohazards. The system includes real-time monitoring of geohazard trigger conditions linked to response protocols and communication systems and is hosted in an internet-accessible database and map interface with multiple map overlays types such as orthophotos, 1 m contours, and LiDAR hillshade models.

The geohazard risk assessment methodology is rooted in risk-based tools developed by BGC since the 1990s and has been modified to meet client needs. For IOC that meant introducing a semi-quantitative approach and a user-specific performance failure criterion. The system relies on field-based site characterization, analysis of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional remote sensing data, and expert opinion. The output of the risk evaluation methodology is a risk rating for each credible geohazard affecting the railway that is used to support informed decision-making for annual inspections, remediation projects, and optimization of maintenance and more detailed monitoring efforts.