YANFUL, Ernest

Professor and Chair
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Associate Director of the Geotechnical Research Centre

P.Eng.
B.Sc (Hons) (Kumasi, Ghana) 1979
M.A.Sc. (Windsor) 1982
Ph.D. (UWO) 1986


DR YANFUL'S research interests are in the general areas of geoenvironmental and geotechnical engineering. The main fields of expertise are barrier (cover and liner) design and fundamental understanding of soil/rock/mineral interactions with pollutants and aggressive fluids.

Dr. Yanful has been conducting applied research to develop innovative technologies for waste management for the mining industry in the last 13 years. His major contribution has been in the area of developing and optimizing soil cover designs for preventing or controlling acidic drainage in waste rock and tailings from mining and milling of metal and uranium ores. In the last three years, he has embarked on frontier research in the fundamental understanding of the environmental factors and processes involved in the flooding of sulphide-bearing mine tailings. An important focus has been the wind-induced resuspension of the flooded tailings and consequent oxidation and pollutant release. This research has received nearly $750,000 of funding from seven Canadian mining companies and NSERC. The research has involved seven graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow supervised either by Dr. Yanful and/or co-supervised by five other professors in the Faculty of Engineering. The work has generated some 15 technical articles over the last three years. The research will, in the long term, develop an innovative method for predicting the optimum depth of water cover necessary to prevent resuspension. The potential socio-economic impact is huge, as it would allow mining companies to select the appropriate height of dams for long-term tailings storage.

Over the years, Dr. Yanful has also undertaken research that has led to the development of innovative methods for measuring oxygen diffusion in soils, especially cover soils used for mitigating acid drainage in mine waste. Consulting companies and other researchers are currently using the methods. Present, the Geotechnical Research Centre also provides commercial soil testing services for clients using these methods.

Dr. Yanful’s research on barrier-fluid interactions has facilitated the design of waste containment ponds and the prediction of the long-term performance of such ponds. This work has included an investigation of the impact of acid mine drainage on the integrity of soil-bentonite liners and integrity of bentonite liner, as it interacts with industrial wastewater.

KEYWORDS: acid rock drainage; geoenvironmental engineering; sulphide-bearing waste; waste containment barriers, liquid pollutants, mine tailings, landfills.

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Contact Info

Western Engineering

Spencer Engineering Building,
Room number 3006
Telephone: 519-661-4069
Fax: 519-661-3779
E-mail: eyanful@eng.uwo.ca