"We like to think of ourselves as providing Environmental Intelligence to help our clients solve more challenging environmental projects."

Bruce Rodgers & Sarah Barabash


June 07, 2023

Can you give an overview of Ecometrix?

BR: Ecometrix was established in 2004. We hire a diversity of technical expertise in areas such as geochemistry, hydrogeology, engineering, ecology, and risk assessment. We like to get involved in more complex projects, and the projects we are most proud of tend to involve a combination of each of those technical disciplines. The solution typically lies at the interface between our diversity of expertise. We like to think of ourselves as providing Environmental Intelligence to help our clients solve more challenging environmental projects.

What are some of the complexities mining projects in Ontario face today that could benefit from a multidisciplinary approach?

BR: Most environmental issues in the mining sector span many disciplines. Recently, Ecometrix was part of a consortium that did the environmental assessment in support of the licensing for the Marathon mining project. Although a portion of our work was related to geochemistry, you cannot understand the geochemistry and how it fits into an environmental assessment without understanding the aquatic biology as well. Conventional wisdom is to manage towards a water- or effluent quality objective, but we know that you need to also understand toxicology and biology to really put things into perspective. The success of the Marathon project required the integration of diverse expertise, an understanding of how a regulator, mine manager, and the community would view it, and clear and transparent communication to ensure common understanding by a diverse audience.

What are some of the biggest environmental risks mining companies in Ontario face today, and how would Ecometrix recommend they manage those risks?

SB: From a feasibility perspective, there is oftentimes too much focus on the engineering portions of the project, and not enough credence on the collection of environmental data at an early stage. Collecting information at the start of the project allows you to look at your waste and water management in different ways, and it provides you with more options than if you wait until operation or closure to start thinking about those aspects. Many clients are starting to look at their projects in a more holistic manner, considering the full mine life cycle and thinking about closure and end land use after closure from day one.

What are some of the most exciting scientific breakthroughs in academia today that could ultimately cross that chasm and be applied in industry?

SB: Commingling is an exciting innovation - trying to understand how to harness both the geotechnical stability of waste rock and the geochemical stability of tailings, especially with the new GISTM standard and the focus on physical stability. Reactive transport modelling is also very innovative in terms of how we are seeing chemistry evolve in waste rock and tailings facilities and determining when and how to bring on water treatment. Previously, there was more focus on physical failure of tailings facilities, whereas now, there is significant focus on chemical failure as well.

To what extent is Ecometrix leveraging technology and software to better predict and analyze mining environments, scenarios, and the impact that they have?

SB: Ecometrix has developed a number of software products to support the mining industry, the two most significant ones being MineMod and IMPACT. MineMod is a software that looks at all operations on a mine site from a geochemical and water balance perspective. When we know the mass loadings of the various chemical constituents going into the environment, we can then apply our IMPACT software, which looks at how that constituent moves through environmental media to assess exposure and risk. Created to improve the decision-making process for mine managers, these tools help forecast and manage the initial feasibility study, environmental assessment, construction, operation, closure, and rehabilitation of a mine.

What is Ecometrix’ competitive advantage?

BR: Our real competitive advantage we have lies in our people because we have a group of highly skilled, talented, and passionate experts who are focused on solving client problems and trying to make a difference. That defines who we are as a company.


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