Global Acid Rock Drainage

Areas of Study: Environment and Community

Qualifies for CMS

Premium Peer-Reviewed

Qualifies for Certification

This course deals with the prediction, prevention, and management of drainage produced from sulphide mineral oxidation, often termed "acid rock drainage" (ARD), "saline drainage", "acid mine drainage" or "acid and metalliferous drainage", "mining influenced water", and "neutral mine drainage". This course also addresses metal leaching caused by sulphide mineral oxidation. *** This is a premium course which has been peer-reviewed by a committee appointed by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME).

Enroll for Access to All Online Courses

Enrollees have access to all self-paced online courses.

Certification available for Not Available
  • Audience Level:
  • Professional
  • Enrollment:
  • Required
  • Duration:
  • 35 hours

Course Summary

Introduction

Acid drainage is one of the most serious and potentially enduring environmental problems for the mining industry. Left unchecked, it can result in such long-term water quality impacts that it could well be this industry’s most harmful legacy. Effectively dealing with acid drainage is a formidable challenge for which no global solutions currently exist.

This course deals with the prediction, prevention, and management of drainage produced from sulphide mineral oxidation. It also addresses metal leaching caused by sulphide mineral oxidation. While focused on mining, the technology described will be helpful to those practitioners that encounter sulphide minerals in other activities (e.g. rock cuts, excavations, and tunnels). Some of the approaches in this course are also relevant to issues arising from reactive non-sulphide minerals.

This course is drawn from the GARD Guide, developed by The International Network for Acid Prevention (INAP), which is a reference document for stakeholders involved in sulphide mineral oxidation and related waste management issues. The GARD Guide has been prepared as a road map through the process of evaluating, planning, design, and management of ARD over the life cycle of mining.

This course is intended as a state-of-practice summary of the best practices and technology to assist mine operators, excavators, and regulators to address issues related to sulphide mineral oxidation. It will be of interest to:

  • mining and mining service companies;
  • governments (national regulatory or land management agencies, IFC, World Bank, regional development agencies, etc);
  • consultants;
  • researchers/educators/academia; and
  • community/communities of interest, such as: bankers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and indigenous peoples.

Course Content

The principle topics covered by this course include:

  • GARD and the ARD Process
  • Defining the Framework and the Problem
  • Prediction
  • Prevention and Mitigation
  • Drainage Treatment
  • Monitoring
  • ARD Management and Assessment
The course comprises 32 learning sessions, each of average 60 minutes duration, supported by numerous figures, tables, examples and appendices, plus seven interactive reviews that confirm the viewer's achievement of learning objectives. The total duration of the course is approximately 35 hours.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss acid rock drainage and the relevant processes and definitions.
  • Discuss the societal framework for development and operation of mines, and the ARD-specific implications of the framework.
  • Understand and apply the principles and objectives for prevention and mitigation of ARD.
  • Understand and apply the principles and objectives of mine drainage treatment, and the various treatment technologies available.
  • Develop a site-specific monitoring approach for assessing contamination, effects, and impacts of different forms of acid drainage.
  • Develop a site-specific plan for management and control of acid drainage.

Recommended Background

  • A science or engineering degree with a reasonable background in chemistry and the basics of engineering, albeit with no specific knowledge of acid rock drainage.

The International Network for Acid Prevention

The International Network for Acid Prevention is an organization of international mining companies dedicated to reducing liabilities associated with sulphide mine materials.

Acid drainage is one of the most serious and potentially enduring environmental problems for the mining industry. Left unchecked, it can result in such long-term water quality impacts that it could well be this industry's most harmful legacy. Effectively dealing with acid drainage is a formidable challenge for which no global solutions currently exist.

INAP Members are mining companies who work collaboratively to address acid drainage. At the time the course Global Acid Rock Drainage was developed, these companies consisted of:

  • Anglo American plc
  • Antofagasta Minerals
  • Barrick Gold corp
  • BHP Billiton plc
  • Freeport McMoRan
  • Kinross
  • Lihir Gold ltd
  • Rio Tinto ltd
  • Vale Inco
  • Xstrata plc

INAP works via a Board made up of Senior Managers elected by the member companies. The Board of Directors is responsible for providing the leadership and support necessary for INAP to meet its objectives. The main activities of INAP are directed by an Operating Committee (OpCom) appointed from member companies. The OpCom directs activities and ensures that INAP's priorities are met.