Environmental Study of Ore Chimney Waste Rock Begins

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Andrew Hicks analysing groundwater samples around the Ore Chimney waste rock pile

Andrew Hicks analysing groundwater samples around the Ore Chimney waste rock pile


Professor Richard Amos and summer student Andrew Hicks have recently begun an assessment of the environmental impact of the waste rock pile at the Ore Chimney Gold Mine. Gold was discovered on the site, located near Kaladar, Ontario, in 1902 and although significant development was undertaken until the 1930’s, little gold was ever recovered. However, in the process a large waste rock pile was produced that can potentially impact the groundwater and surface water in the area. When sulfide minerals in waste rock are exposed to air, oxidation of the minerals can lead to leaching of acidic water with high sulphate and metal concentrations.

Andrew is a first year student in the Environmental Science program with a concentration in earth sciences and was awarded a Dean’s Summer Research Internship. “Working as a research intern during the summer has been a great experience. Performing hands-on tasks and assisting with valuable data collection has helped me develop and improve vital skills as well as thoroughly enjoy my summer” said Mr. Hicks. Andrew and Professor Amos have visited the Ore Chimney site on several occasions throughout the summer to install groundwater sampling wells and analyse groundwater and surface water samples.

The study of the Ore Chimney waste rock has been undertaken in cooperation with the current property owners to meet their environmental obligations. The Department of Earth Sciences has used the site for many years for the second year Field Geology course and the Institute of Environmental Science will begin to use the site for the Environmental Field Methods course this year.