On November 4, 2015, Tetra Tech Proteus received the 2015 Bentley Be Inspired Award for the Innovation in Mining Category at the Bentley Year in Infrastructure Conference in London. The Be Inspired Awards recognize innovative practices in infrastructure project design, engineering, construction, and operations around the world. The program is open to all users of Bentley software.

Tetra Tech was honored for our work on Greenland Minerals & Energy LTD’s Kvanefjeld Rare Earth Uranium Project in Narsaq, Greenland. Our team used Bentley 3D modeling programs as part of a project feasibility study, which included multidisciplinary engineering and design, capital cost estimation, and implementation planning assistance for the project. Tetra Tech’s use of technology improved collaboration among the team and helped minimize cost, reduce risk, secure community acceptance, and minimize the environmental impact of the new proposed mine. It also allowed for the project to be critiqued at the very early phases, when changes are significantly cheaper.

Our Australia-based project team has built a significant catalog of mining and minerals processing component models over their 18 years of using Bentley 3D modeling programs. We leveraged that catalog to produce the new design quickly and efficiently. Our Canadian Arctic engineering team provided ongoing reviews of the design and 3D model and advice for addressing the site’s challenging terrain.

The proposed mine’s location in a remote area of Greenland with only one small nearby village necessitated design choices that would minimize construction requirements and effects on the residents. The cold climate presented challenges for construction and transportation within a limited seasonal window.

Tetra Tech provided a viable plant model rendered in the actual project site terrain by linking Google Earth into the 3D model. Our team shrank the plant’s expected footprint, which allowed for a modular, off-site construction approach. Prefabricated modules would be transported to the site, minimizing on-site construction requirements to compensate for a shorter cold-climate construction season and resulting in cost savings for our client.

To make this approach work, we had to demonstrate the feasibility of a road to the project site capable of transporting large prefabricated modules. Our design team, Arctic engineering specialists, and client used the 3D models to confirm the design will provide adequate access for operations, maintenance, and equipment installation. Reviews took place simultaneously from Australia and Canada.

These models also helped demonstrate the minimal visual and social impacts of the proposed mine, in addition to the economic benefits for the small community of Narsaq. Because the 3D models were linked with Google Earth, the community and government representatives were able to view a realistic image of the proposed project in the actual terrain. The project, located in the saddle of the mountains, would be barely visible from the edge of the village.

Tetra Tech is honored to be awarded for our work in mining and to be part of the outstanding group of Be Inspired Award recipients. We aim to use the newest technologies to improve our projects and help our clients achieve cost-effective solutions.