Keynote Speakers

R.M. Hardy Keynote Address by Jocelyn Hayley

Permafrost Thaw in a Changing Climate;
a Geotechnical Perspective

Jocelyn L. Hayley
Department of Civil Engineering,
University of Calgary,
Calgary, AB

Thawing of once frozen permafrost, is irrevocably altering the landscape of our Canadian North.  As the once stable ground shifts and moves, overlying infrastructure is subject to damage; imminently threatening our ability to connect communities, provide stable housing, and protect our Arctic.  Amplified temperature rise, accompanied by volatile weather patterns, impacts the fragile permafrost ecosystem adding uncertainty to our social, economic, and environmental future. This presentation explores the intersection of permafrost science, geotechnical engineering, and climate change.

Reflecting on Canadian contributions to permafrost engineering, including the pioneering work of R. M. Hardy, we will touch on the fundamentals of permafrost behaviour.  As our landscape is altered by climate, our approach to understanding the Arctic also continues to evolve and recent case histories help us understand the current state of practice in permafrost geotechnical engineering: the innovations; the challenges; and the opportunities.  Formation of extended and inclusive communities of practice and co-development of knowledge set the scene for a vibrant future as we continue to explore forward-looking climate adaptation and continued sustainability in our Canadian North.

Jocelyn L. Hayley, P.Eng., Ph.D., FEIC, is a Professor (Geotechnical) and Head in the Department of Civil Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Alberta and did a postdoctoral fellowship at the prestigious Norwegian Geotechnical Institute in Oslo, Norway. After spending some time in the industry and consulting on various projects, Dr. Hayley joined the University of Calgary in 2001. In 2018, she became Head of the Department of Civil Engineering following 3 years as Senior Associate Dean (Research) in the Schulich School of Engineering. She has been involved in the geotechnical and gas hydrate communities at the local, national and international levels, contributing in various ways. Notably, she is the founder of the cYGEC conference series,  was the Associate Editor for the Canadian Geotechnical Journal, a member of the Education Committee for the Canadian Geotechnical Society, and a frequent speaker at the Gordon Research conference series on Gas Hydrates.

She has won multiple SSE Teaching Awards, received the Stermac Award, was named Calgary’s Top 40 under 40 and received the Trailblazer Award from Women Engineering the Future.  In 2017, APEGA recognized her contributions towards diversity with the Champion of Women in Engineering and Geoscience Award and the Engineering Institute of Canada recognized her career contributions with Fellowship in the EIC.  Jocelyn remains a strong advocate of equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM and beyond and enjoys challenging audiences to use diversity, in all its forms, to inspire creativity and innovation.  She has an ever-evolving group of research students from around the world that explore the geomechanics of gas hydrates, gassy soils, and permafrost sediments to understand geohazards arising from climate change and energy production. 

CGS Colloquium 2022 by Nicholas Beier

Towards Improved Management and Closure of Mine Waste Structures


Nicholas Beier, PhD, PEng
Associate Professor (Geoenvironmental)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Alberta.

Mining industries in Canada and abroad have shareholder, regulator, and community obligations to ensure the successful closure of their mine waste structures, including tailings storage facilities (TSF). In Alberta, TSFs should be transformed into post-mining landforms that are maintenance free with equivalent land capability to pre-mining conditions, in line with accepted sustainability principles. Therefore, the design, construction, and operation of TSFs should incorporate closure and post-closure considerations at all stages of the TSF lifecycle to achieve the desired closure goals. Designing with closure in mind implies that the long-term geotechnical behaviour and performance of the tailings deposits and their embankments are understood and incorporated
into the facility design, ideally from its conception through to closure. Challenges may arise with limited information available at the early stages of TSF design and with uncertainty around how these structures will perform over long periods of time.

The Colloquium will discuss methodologies to inform closure design, improve long-term performance, and assess long-term risk as TSFs transition into closure landforms. The integration of closure considerations into mining and waste management plans will be demonstrated with examples of numerical simulation approaches. Novel approaches to characterize and subsequently evaluate the geotechnical performance of treated tailings for their impact on
successful TSF closure will also be presented. To close the knowledge gap surrounding the decommissioning of tailings dams, a Generalized Failure Modes Effects Analysis (G-FMEA) framework and case study will be presented, which provides a methodology for assessing the long-term risks associated with tailings dams. To support risk management decisions, examples of numerical modeling approaches for seepage analyses and landscape evolution modeling for geomorphic stability will demonstrate how uncertainty in long-term behaviour could be reduced.

Dr. Nicholas Beier is an Associate Professor of Geoenvironmental Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta. His research interests include freeze-thaw dynamics of mining wastes, frozen ground engineering, waste management in cold regions, modeling and characterizing the engineering behavior of oil sand tailings, tailings dewatering technology development and simulation modeling for evaluation of mine waste management technologies. He also conducts research into the long-term management and closure of mine waste structures.

He is the Principal Investigator of the Oil Sands Tailings Research Facility, a co-Principal Investigator of the NSERC Strategic Network (TERRE NET) and a Theme Leader in Phase III of the NSERC/COSIA Industrial Research Chair in Oil Sands Tailings Geotechnique. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Beier amassed over 15 years of industrial engineering experience, including acting as a Technical Advisor for Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA).