Supporting tailings monitoring with Cambio

Over the past few years, the ICMM has engaged with vendors and research institutions to understand systems and technology capable of supporting responsible tailings management. Click here to read the summary report produced by ICMM. One of the platforms leading in this field is BGC’s enterprise software platform, CambioTM.

The Cambio platform allows mine developers and operators to see potential problem areas before they result in serious, costly consequences. Cambio combines a cloud-based centralized knowledge base, industry leading field data collection tools and state of the art visualization to support safe tailings management and inform decisions throughout tailings facility lifecycle. Cambio directly supports TSF monitoring through integration of remote sensing (lidar, InSAR, satellite) monitoring data with in-situ (live and manual) instrumentation, lab testing data, field observations, and action tracking. Cambio is currently in use supporting day to day operations at numerous active mine sites.

  • Cambio improves understanding of the facility by bringing all data into a centralized, geospatial view.
  • Cambio reduces risk and improves accountability by making the reporting more effective and transparent.
  • 2D map based and 3D interactive collaborative environments.

Employee Spotlight – Kerri Bascom

Kerri Bascom was born and raised in the Bahamas. Growing up surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean Kerri has always been fascinated by the dynamic nature of coastal and riverine environments and its ability to transform the surrounding landscape. In high school she participated in the Technical Cadets Corps Program which provided a pathway to encourage students to move into the technical sector. With support from a number of people along the way, this program help set her on the path to a scholarship at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario where she completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Civil Engineering. The move from the sunny Bahamas to Eastern Canada was a huge change for her as she got to experience a true Canadian winter for the first time. Despite the cold weather, after completing her undergraduate and graduate studies, she decided to make Canada her permanent home and started her career with BGC directly out of school and is currently working towards her permanent residency.

How long have you been with BGC and what do you do here?
I’ve been with BGC for 1 year and 2 months and am currently part of the Surface Water & Pipeline teams as a Junior Civil Engineer.

How would you describe your job to a class of Kindergartners?
I work in a team which focuses on making sure that the structures we put in place years ago are ok to use now and potentially in the future.

What is your favourite thing about working at BGC?
The company culture. BGC really feels like a community. Besides connecting at work, I’ve had the opportunity to hang out outside of the office with my coworkers through activities like book club and that helps build the sense of community we have here.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to new hires at BGC?
Don’t hesitate to reach out. Nobody knows everything so when you don’t know the answer to something, reach out and ask. When I first started here at BGC I was hesitant to reach out for help but I’ve quickly realized that seeking others’ perspective and hearing about their approach to solve a problem has really helped me do my job better.

If you could switch jobs with someone in BGC, who would it be and why?
Someone from our Data Sciences team. In university I had the chance to learn a bit about coding and really enjoyed it. The opportunity to use scripting programs like Python has always interested me.

If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing, what would it be?
Time, sometimes I feel like there’s not enough time in the day to do all the things I want to do. And this is not a matter of being overworked; I really would love more time to explore other activities and interests that I haven’t had the chance to yet like obstacle course racing.

What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
When I first moved to Canada my friends took me to try deep fried ice cream. I was confused at first, how is it possible to deep fry ice cream? It’s now become one of my favourite deserts.

What fictional place would you like to visit?
I’m a proud to say I’m a nerd and I love anime. I’d love to visit the Avatar universe specifically from The Legend of Korra.

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?
Tightrope by Janelle Monae. I also really love soca music.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t doubt yourself. You might not be right but don’t second guess every decision you make. Trust your gut and make an effort to be more decisive

Recent additions to #OneTeamOneBGC

We’re excited to announce a few of our recent new additions to the team here at BGC. These new team members help strengthen the breadth and depth of services and experience we offer our clients.

BGC recently welcomed two new senior members to our team, Dan Parker and Julio Portocarrero.

Dan Parker, P.Geo.
Senior Geoscientist
Halifax, NS

Dan graduated from Dalhousie University in 2000 and moved to Calgary where he worked for over 18 years in various technical, project management, and leadership roles, predominately focused on geoscience challenges within the resource sector. His work experience across the mining and pipeline sectors has taken him from the Canadian Arctic to the Middle East and from the Rockies to Kenya, providing him with tremendous professional and personal growth opportunities. Always having a desire to return to the east coast, he and his family returned to Halifax in 2018 when his twin girls started school, enabling Dan to reconnect with family, friends, and learn the local market. After 3 years as the Business Development and Geoscience Lead for an international firm based in Halifax, he is excited to be joining BGC and brings a unique combination of strong client relations, project management, technical capabilities, and business acumen skills to our projects and operation. When not at work, Dan spends time with family and friends, playing and coaching various sports, listening to music (hopefully attending soon!), and is currently the President for Geoscientists Nova Scotia.

Julio Portocarrero, M.Eng., P.Eng.
Senior Hydrotechnical Engineer
Vancouver, BC

Born and raised in Peru, Julio started his career in the construction and mining sectors before moving to consulting in 2010, where he worked as a water resources and hydrotechnical engineer for a number of large, multidisciplinary mining projects across Peru and Chile. In 2013 he moved to Vancouver where he provided his technical expertise on mining projects across North and South America and Europe. Julio specializes in the design of hydraulic structures, development of surface water management plans and baseline hydrology studies, hydrological and hydraulic modeling, water balance modelling, and dam breach and inundation assessments. He completed a master’s degree in Hydrotechnical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, and he is registered both as a Professional Engineer in British Columbia and with the Peruvian Engineers Association. When not at work, Julio spends time exploring the West Coast of BC with his family and catching a soccer (football!) game with friends.

As BGC’s team continues to grow, we’re also happy to welcome a few other new employees to the company.

Top row from L to R

Aaron Brisbin, M.Eng., P.Eng.
Hydrotechnical Engineer
Vancouver, BC

Justin Kline, P.Eng., M. Eng.
Geological Engineer
Vancouver, BC

Colin Lussier Purdy, M.Sc., P.Geo.
Toronto, ON

Sebastian Martijena
Water Resources Specialist
Vancouver, BC

Bottom row from L to R

Timothy Morton, M.A.Sc., P.Eng.
Geotechnical Engineer
Halifax, NS

Hazel Wong, M.Eng., P.Geo.
Engineering Geologist
Kamloops, BC

Corey Scheip, M.S., P.G.
Golden, CO

Employee Spotlight – Hanchen Hou

Welcome to the first post of our Employee Spotlight series! Every month you’ll get a chance to meet a member of our #OneTeamOneBGC. First up, Hanchen Hou.

Hanchen moved from China to Canada in 2011 to attend university on a scholarship. He first lived in Ottawa and spent time at Algonquin College to work on his English language skills and then went to the University of Ottawa. Wanting to further his studies in computer sciences, he decided to make the move across the country and enrolled at Okanagan College in Kelowna where he spent three years before finally landing in Vancouver and transferring to the University of British Columbia. After completing a co-op and graduating, he started his job here at BGC. Hanchen has had a particularly interesting start to his professional career as he started at BGC pretty much right around the time the COVID-19 pandemic began!

How long have you been with BGC and what do you do here?
I have been working here for 1 year and 8 months as a Software Developer mainly focused on front end and currently working on Cambio.

How would you describe your job to a class of Kindergartners?
My work is focused on geohazards. I help figure out how we can identify a geohazard and then how we can avoid them.

What is your favourite thing about working at BGC?
The working environment at BGC is great. In my sub-team, which is 7 developers, we are very connected and we work together to help each other with problems and share ideas. Our connectivity and how we work together really helps make our jobs less stressful.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to new hires at BGC?
When I started, I was worried that I’d need to be a geotechnical expert and would need to know all these things about groundwater and geology. I realized that I didn’t need to worry about that and just focus on doing a good job as a Software Developer. I would encourage new hires to focus on doing well in their job and, over time, you’ll learn more about the other areas of BGC.

If you could switch jobs with someone in BGC, who would it be and why?
I would switch jobs with my product owner. I want to be closer to the engineers we work with so I can have a better understanding of what exactly they need and want from the software we develop. I feel like I can learn a lot of things from the engineers at BGC.

If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing, what would it be?
Ideas! I would be able to come up with creative ways to solve any problem in both my personal and work life.

What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
Since I’m originally from China, I am not familiar with Mexican food. The first time I ordered a burrito, they asked if I wanted a jalapeno. I had no idea what that was so I just said yes. By the second bite of my burrito I was sweating as I’m not good with spicy food! I will never eat a jalapeno again.

What fictional place would you like to visit?

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?
Nightwish – Last of the Wilds

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I can’t think of a specific piece of advice but I’d generally say that the encouragement my parents have given me. When I was considering moving to Canada they said “go for it” and encouraged me to experience things outside of home country.

Interested in joining our team? We currently have openings across around Software team including Full Stack Software Developers, Mobile App Developer and Test Automation Developer. Check out our Careers section for more information and to apply today!

BGC project takes home Award of Merit at the 2021 ACEC-BC Awards for Engineering Excellence

Nominated in the Soft Engineering category for our Integrated Provincial Flood and Steep Creek Assessments project, BGC was proudly awarded the 2021 Award of Merit at the April 29th ACEC-BC virtual gala. The Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia annually recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of consulting engineering companies across BC at their Awards of Engineering Excellence. We are proud to be among the 6 nominees in the Soft Engineering category this year and thrilled to have won the Award of Merit.

A winning project

Many communities in British Columbia and beyond have long histories of living with geohazards, which have led to economic loss, interruption of transportation corridors and sometimes loss of life. Despite the high cost of responding to such disasters, siloed local funding structures, knowledge gaps, and divisions of government responsibility have created challenges for pro-active risk management that, if resolved, could transform how we reduce risk in places where people live and work.

Over the past three years, BGC has been working with local governments and partners to assess geohazards across 300,000 km2 of BC. By integrating knowledge, tools, multiple funding sources, and approaches across jurisdictions, our goal is to create a stronger path to risk reduction than any single authority could accomplish in isolation. Our integrated flood and steep creek assessments, delivered via Cambio™ and through the efforts of over 60 team members, helped support proactive geohazard risk management in southern BC communities.

We prioritize hazards areas using the principles of risk assessment, considering how often a damaging event can occur and what the likely damage would be. To support a long-term vision for natural hazard risk reduction planning, implementation and monitoring, BGC also completes detailed follow-up assessments. This work is backed by our unique web-based solution, Cambio™, that provides data organization, prioritization analysis, results communication and on-going geohazard management.

With over 10,000 prioritized geohazard areas and hazard susceptibility modelling completed across tens of thousands of watersheds, this work is BC’s most extensive flood and steep creek geohazards assessment to date. Our study results and supporting software will help government partners tasked with long-term geohazard risk-informed development planning, bylaw enforcement, flood resiliency and emergency response planning.

Achieving a five-fold reduction in pipeline failures caused by geohazards.

About 74 times every year, geohazards such as landslides, debris flows, rockfalls, earthquakes and flooding rupture pipelines around the world. About 16 of these failures occur every year in North America, which is equivalent to an average historical failure rate of about 0.02 failures per 1,000 km of pipeline per year or about two failures per year for every 100,000 km of operating pipe (IPC2016-64085).

Over the past few decades, pipeline failure rates by more frequent causes (third party impacts, corrosion, and material defects) have declined by a factor of two or more, while the frequency of geohazard-related failures has not changed significantly. BGC Engineering and our clients are working to remedy this. In 2015, we set a goal of reducing the global rate of pipeline failures caused by geohazards by more than 10% by 2025. To achieve this, we need to prevent about seven high consequence failures every year through the implementation of rigorous and systematic geohazard management programs.

Geohazard inventories for approximately 335,000 km of pipelines are currently hosted in Cambio. When over 90% of identified geohazard sites on a pipeline have been inspected in the field by a geohazard specialist, and have been assigned a probability of failure, a recommended management action, and an action timing, we refer to that pipeline as having been “baselined”. Baselined pipes have advanced through the risk management process to the point that a reduction in uncertainty and risk can be realized. About 140,000 km of pipelines within the Cambio geohazard management system have been baselined.

Geohazard inventories for approximately 335,000 km of pipelines are currently hosted in Cambio.

BGC’s geohazard management program begins with the development of a detailed inventory of credible geohazards, followed by baseline characterization of the sites in the field. Our Cambio software is used for data collection and storage, site-specific annual probability of failure estimation, and tracking of recommendations for additional assessment, monitoring or mitigation.

Over the past three years, we have measured a five-fold reduction in failure rates on the baselined pipelines. Running 3-year average failure rates for baselined pipelines are currently 0.004 failures per 1,000 km per year compared to the industry average of 0.02.

This reduction has been achieved by helping pipeline operators focus their monitoring, maintenance and mitigation efforts at high probability of failure geohazard sites so that geohazard threats can be proactively addressed before failure occurs. We are incredibly encouraged by these results but recognize that ongoing diligence is required to sustain these trends.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about our geohazard services and our Cambio geohazard management software, we look forward to hearing from you.

Sarah Newton, P.Eng.
Geological Engineer