Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) with the Research Institute on Mines and the Environment (RIME), Québec, Canada
A Review on Applications of Time‑Lapse Electrical Resistivity Tomography over the Last 30 Years: Perspectives for Mining Waste Monitoring
Adrien Dimech, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn‑Noranda, Québec, J9X 5E4, Canada and Research Institute of Mines and Environment, Québec, Canada; Lizhen Cheng, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn‑Noranda, Québec, J9X 5E4, Canada and Research Institute of Mines and Environment, Québec, Canada; Michel Chouteau, Polytechnique Montréal, Montréal, Québec, H3T 1J4, Canada and Research Institute of Mines and Environment, Québec, Canada; Jonathan Chambers, British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, United Kingdom; Sebastian Uhlemann, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, 94720, United States; Paul Wilkinson4, Philip Meldrum, British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, United Kingdom; Benjamin Mary, University of Padua, Department of Geosciences, Padua, 35122, Italy; Gabriel Fabien‑Ouellet, Polytechnique Montréal, Montréal, Québec, H3T 1J4, Canada.
Mining operations generate large amounts of wastes which are usually stored into largescale storage facilities which pose major environmental concerns. They must be properly monitored to manage the risk of catastrophic failures and to control the generation of contaminated drainage. In this context, non-invasive monitoring techniques such as time-lapse electrical resistivity tomography (TL-ERT) are promising since they provide large-scale subsurface information that complements surface observations and traditional monitoring tools, based on point measurements. This study proposes an overview of TL-ERT applications and developments over the last 30 years, which helps to better understand the current state of research on TL-ERT for various applications. Several recent case studies are discussed to identify promising applications for geoelectrical monitoring for (i) improved metal extraction, (ii) economical wastes mapping, (iii) contaminated drainage characterization, (iv) geotechnical stability monitoring and (v) geochemical stability monitoring. Reference libraries have also been created and made available online to facilitate future research on mining wastes using TL-ERT. The review considers recent advances in instrumentation, data acquisition, processing and interpretation for long-term monitoring. It also draws future research perspectives and promising avenues which could help to address some of the potential challenges that could emerge from a broader adoption of TL-ERT monitoring for mine waste rock piles (WRP) and tailings storage facility (TSF) monitoring.
Adrien Dimech is a PhD student in applied geophysics at Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) with the Research Institute on Mines and the Environment (RIME). His main research interests are applications of electrical methods to groundwater, water flow and near-surface geotechnical/engineering problems, with a specific focus on mining environment and mining waste characterization and monitoring. He is the main researcher of several research projects on time-lapse electrical resistivity tomography monitoring of mining wastes with Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium and Canadian Malartic Mine, two major mines in Québec. In 2020 and 2021, he received several excellence scholarships from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, the Canadian Exploration Geophysical Society, the UQAT Foundation and the Quebec government, including the prestigious Merit scholarship program for foreign students and the Quebec Geophysics Pioneers Scholarship.