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Exploring mine waters with autonomous vehicles

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Faculty/Lead unit

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Sara Couperthwaite
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


The typical hazardous nature of mine waters inhibits traditional sampling methods to be used in the assessment of mine pit lakes. An assessment of the water composition is required to make accurate assessments on environmental risk and thus management of the water body.

Research activities

An autonomous vehicle has been built by the research team that has the capability to take water samples at depths of 50m and is equipped with basic water chemistry in-situ monitoring tools and GPS. This research will requrie:

  • the collection of mine water samples using the autonomous vehicle
  • optimisation of the sampling mechanism/protocols
  • analysis of water samples
  • modelling the data to establish physio-chemical relationships


The main project aim is to gain an in-depth understanding of physio-chemical relationships in various mine wastewaters, which can then be used to develop statistical models that will enable autonomous sampling based on known triggers.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round


Contact the supervisor for more information.