Canadian Consulting Engineer

UBC enhances tailings management education for engineers

March 6, 2023

The search for a professor begins this year.

Tailings facility

Tailings facility at Highland Valley Copper operation. Photo courtesy Teck.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) and mining company Teck Resources are investing $4 million to support a new tailings management professorship, which will teach the subject at undergraduate and graduate levels and prepare engineers to contribute to the industry immediately after graduating.

As the management of tailings—which are produced after metals and minerals are separated from ore—is crucial to responsible mining, the endowment is intended to enhance safety and sustainability through lab-based research and education. The professorship will be funded through the annual interest earned from the endowment, so as to ensure stable and dependable funding.

Working across disciplines with industry experts and consultancies, the appointed professor will build greater capacity to exchange knowledge, new ideas and innovative approaches in the safe and responsible design, operation and closure of tailings facilities (example pictured).

Teck is providing $2 million, to be matched by UBC. The new position will be housed within the UBC Faculty of Applied Science’s Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering. UBC will begin the search for the professor this year.


“There is a global shortage of educators in this field,” says James Olson, dean of UBC’s faculty of applied science. “We can better educate tomorrow’s engineers to bring about more environmentally sustainable tailings solutions.”


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