Hale Barter is the luncheon speaker at this year’s El Día del Agua, the annual student research symposium of the UA’s Hydrology and Water Resources program. The event, which is now in its 24th year, will take place on April 9. Hale is a principal hydrologist with M&A who joined us in 1994. He not only leads our modeling group but he also currently serves as our CFO and a board member. The title of his talk is “Groundwater’s Integral Role in Mining.”
Groundwater is integral to most aspects of mining, from water supply and mine dewatering to post-closure water quality monitoring and contaminant remediation. The mining industry’s dependence on water — coupled with its potential to impact water resources — presents hydrologists with an extensive range of important roles to fill. The science is typically complex, the settings are often heterogeneous and uncertain, stakeholders can have competing agendas, and investigations sometimes unfold under challenging economic or political conditions.
If you are a hydrologist practicing in the Southwest U.S., you’ll probably find yourself working on a mining project at some point in your career. Although the mining industry can be cyclical, for most of the last decade it has been a major source of revenue and growth to groundwater consulting companies like M&A despite otherwise depressed economic conditions.
Mr. Barter will discuss the typical progression of a mining project, from pre-feasibility studies to planned closure, including the regulatory overlay that informs nearly all aspects of mining hydrology. He will address the challenges associated with developing defensible solutions with limited time and data in very complex settings. To illustrate these concepts, he will present a few examples in both North and South America where M&A has provided groundwater expertise.