BGC Engineering’s ADA platform brings $900m mine remediation project to life, in 3D

BGC Engineering Inc. (BGC) and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) recently used BGC’s Ada Platform (“Ada”) to provide residents with a 3D view of remediation work underway at the now closed Giant Mine near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

Ada is a mixed reality software platform that allows stakeholders to view a project environment before, during and after construction through 3D holographic models. Ada is usable on the Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first self-contained wearable holographic computer, and combines terrain and survey data, engineering designs, and real-time computer graphics. It enables experts and community members to walk around and interact with a virtual version of a project from any angle or point in time.

“At BGC, we are committed to innovation and pushing the boundaries of modern-day applied earth science,” said Matt Lato, Senior Geotechnical Engineer, BGC Engineering. “With Ada, we worked directly with CIRNAC and the local community to foster better understanding and collaboration for an important environmental project. We are excited about the possibilities Ada offers to help companies and communities have meaningful and mutually beneficial discussions on major mining, infrastructure and remediation projects.”

Giant Mine is an abandoned gold mine with a legacy of environmental concerns. One of the most notable issues is 237,000 tons of arsenic trioxide waste stored underground. The Giant Mine Remediation Project is a 10-year, $900 million cleanup focused on managing the arsenic trioxide waste and remediating the entire site.

As the mine is more than 600 metres deep and five kilometres long with a labyrinth of underground passages, it was difficult for CIRNAC to demonstrate the scope of the remediation project and describe how the team is working to protect the environment. By using Ada at community meetings, BGC and CIRNAC were able to help residents better understand the complexities of this project.

“At CIRNAC, we were challenged with communicating and demonstrating the ongoing work and eventual impact of the remediation project for community members using complex 2D maps, drawings and schematics, so we were excited to hear about BGC’s Ada Platform,” said Chris MacInnis, Engineering Manager, CIRNAC. “With Ada, community members were able to ‘see’ the remediation work happening 600 metres below ground in a simple, lifelike 3D environment and easily understand how the arsenic trioxide was being contained.”

BGC named this platform after Ada Lovelace, a visionary who saw the potential of modern-day computing. Similarly, with Ada, BGC is realizing the potential of mixed reality for the future of applied earth sciences.

“It's amazing to see how BGC's innovative Ada Platform has leveraged Microsoft HoloLens technology to bring complex infrastructure projects to life in a way that simplifies, captures attention and creates better understanding,” said Mark Speaker, Industry Solutions Executive, Microsoft Canada. "At Microsoft, we believe that mixed reality has the potential to transform the way people communicate, collaborate and explore. Like BGC, we're excited about the opportunities that mixed reality brings to the future of mining."

To date, BGC has completed over 25 projects for clients with Ada across various sectors, including mining, transportation and utilities, with many more in the pipeline.