Three US universities launch Tailings Center of Excellence

The front of the mine tailings pile at the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund Site in Yavapai County. (Image by University of Arizona Superfund Research Center).

The University of Arizona, Colorado State University and the Colorado School of Mines just launched the Tailings Center of Excellence, a learning space focused on educating engineers on responsible and sustainable mine waste management and advancing research-backed best practices.

The universities have been involved in mine site projects that employ digital technologies, the industrial internet of things and artificial intelligence

The universities believe their respective departments of mines and engineering are prepared for the task because, for years now, they have been involved in projects that employ digital technologies, the industrial internet of things and artificial intelligence to study and improve different processes at a number of mine sites.

Among other tasks, the projects involve providing mine operators with real-time insight regarding water quality, seepage and mechanical stability of tailings storage facilities.

Based on the knowledge gathered over the years, the new Center’s educational offerings will include online and in-person short courses and workshops, interuniversity certificates and both undergraduate and graduate outreach. The universities will also leverage industry partnerships to keep pace with real-world needs.

In parallel, the Tailings Center of Excellence will coordinate closely with the Tailings and Waste Engineering Center, a newly established consortium of faculty from Georgia Tech, UC Berkeley, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Colorado State University.

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