AI at Wheal Jane

The Wheal Jane treatment scheme in Cornwall pumps water from an abandoned metal mine to stop uncontrolled surface discharges and remove contaminants such as arsenic, cadmium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury and zinc.

In an average year, 5,600,000 cubic metres of water are treated, removing 430 tonnes of metals. The very high flows that have to be pumped from the Wheal Jane mine to control water levels require significant power and chemical dosing to ensure the treated mine water is safe to be discharged into the adjacent watercourse. The Coal Authority, through our delivery and operational partners, are working with an Artificial Intelligence company that specialises in data-driven solutions in the environmental sector to look at ways to optimise this process.

By utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyse historical data from the Wheal Jane site, we are developing predictive models aimed at enhancing the precision of chemical dosing. Preliminary calculations indicate good potential for cost savings and a decrease in CO2 emissions, although the specific savings will become clear once live data has run through the model over an extended period.