MSc Thesis: Low-temperature geothermal resources in abandoned mines of the Canadian Shield: A case study in the Chapais and Chibougamau area, Québec, Canada

Andrea Morgan successfully defends her master's thesis


REYKJAVIK, AUGUST 3 – After conducting studies is Quebec, Andrea Morgan successfully defended her thesis where she analyzed the geothermal potential of inundated mines in conjunction with a heat pump system through the use of numerical modeling. Andrea’s work was supervised by Jasmin Raymond from Institut national de la recherche scientifique and advised by Juliet Newson from Reykjavík University. 

The site selected was the Copper Rand mine and is located in the northern part of Quebec, near the former mining center of Chapais and Chibougamau. The reason a heat pump system was proposed in this area is because a heat pump system relies more heavily on flow rate than geothermal gradient, and in this case, the gradient is only 7 degrees C per kilometer, but there are high flow rates.

The numerical model Andrea created used fluid flow and heat transfer as input variables to simulate water extraction from the mine’s main vertical shaft as well as reinjection into an abandoned mine located 2.5 kilometers away. Using this model Andrea found that over 25 years 1.32E8 MJ of thermal energy could be extracted from the Copper Rand mine, which would translate to a thermal power output of 4.35MW.

The main obstacle Andrea identified was the hydraulic head build up at the reinjection site. To solve this, she considered the possibility of using more than one of the numerous abandoned mines in the region. Andrea went further and conducted energy balance calculations on the rest of the region’s 24 flooded mines to estimate the energy contained. These preliminary calculations could spearhead another study that more thoroughly assess the potential of these sites, as Andrea did for the Copper Rand mine. To read more about Andrea's work, click on the following link.

Congratulations, Andrea on an excellent thesis!


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