Christoph Wels


Ph.D., Geological Sciences, University of British Columbia, 1995
Fellowship, Environmental & Soil Chemistry, Syracuse University, New York, 1990-1991
M.Sc., Watershed Ecosystem Studies, Trent University, Ontario, 1989
B.Sc., Hydrology, Trent University (Freiburg University), 1985

Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers
Canadian Institute of Mining
International Mine Water Association

Licensed Geologist/Hydrogeologist, Washington State



1999 to present
Principal, Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. (Canada and USA)
Responsible for the development of a hydrogeological division in an international consulting firm including development of a client base, procurement and management of large contracts (>US$750,000) and training of junior and intermediate staff.

Directly responsible for a wide range of hydrogeological projects for the mining industry, including design & implementation of comprehensive site investigations and monitoring plans to assess impacts on groundwater resources; development of groundwater flow and solute transport models (FE & FD) to study current impacts and to evaluate the effectiveness of remedial activities; study of all aspects waste rock hydrology including physical characterization, field monitoring and numerical modeling of key processes (infiltration, internal air flow and seepage); design of engineered covers for waste rock and tailings using numerical modeling and field trials.

Directly responsible for hydrogeological studies in the field of environmental and geotechnical engineering including numerical modeling of contaminant migration, design and implementation of groundwater control & capture systems, design of depressurization systems; field monitoring and numerical modeling of water movement in the vadose zone (unsaturated flow).

Served as a third-party reviewer of pre-feasibility investigations and permitting documents on behalf of government agencies, mining companies and other consulting firms. Project sites with active involvement include Canada, USA, Germany, France, Australia, and Indonesia.

Dr. Wels is also currently the chief editor of HYDROMINE (, the most comprehensive website of hydrogeological information related to mining.
1995 to 1999
Senior Hydrogeologist, Robertson GeoConsultants Inc.
Responsible for hydro(geo)logical investigations at mine sites related to groundwater management and contaminant control. Project duties include: site visits, design of monitoring wells, data collection & interpretation, flow & transport modelling for contaminant control design, project management.
Hydrogeologist, Chalk River Laboratories, AECL, Ontario
Responsible for research project to study geochemical processes during seepage of groundwater into lakes. Tasks included construction & maintenance of a laboratory seepage facility, measurements of groundwater influx into lakes, and interstitial pore-water sampling in lakes.
Hydrochemist, Freiburg Municipality, Germany
Responsible for design and management of surface water quality study in the municipality of Freiburg (FRG). Tasks included set-up of a water chemistry laboratory, planning and implementation for a monitoring network for surface water, and chemical analyses with QA/QC of water quality data.

Woodcutters Mine,Northern Territories, Australia (2000 - present) for Normandy PPTY

  • Hydrogeological field investigation (drilling) and design of a groundwater monitoring program
  • Development of a groundwater flow and transport model to assess reflooding of open pit and post-closure groundwater quality
  • Development of a 2D seepage model to determine fate of seepage from waste rock pile

Cleveland Dam, North Vancouver, Canada (2001) for EBA Engineering Ltd.
  • Development of a groundwater flow model (using FEFLOW) to assess alternative depressurization options for a confined aquifer connected to the Capilano reservoir (drinking water supply for Vancouver)
  • Calibration of groundwater flow model using data from a four-week pump test
Grasberg Mine, Irian Jaya, Indonesia, (1999 - present) for Freeport Indonesia.
  • Review of hydrogeological studies (groundwater flow & transport model, waste rock seepage) carried out for environmental permitting
  • Modeling of air flow and ARD production within waste rock piles
Questa Mine Tailings Impoundments,Questa, New Mexico, U.S.A. (1997-1998) for Molycorp Inc.
  • Modeling of infiltration through soil covers into tailings (using SOILCOVER) to assess alternative designs of a soil cover for final closure of the tailings facility
  • Modeling of seepage (using SEEP/W) through tailings to predict the rate of dewatering of tailings over time
  • Development of a Closure Plan for Tailings Facility
  • Design, Instrumentation and Monitoring of Test Plots to measure the performance of storage covers
Questa Mine Site,Questa, New Mexico, U.S.A. (1999-present) for Molycorp Inc.
  • Physical waste rock investigation including in-situ dump monitoring, test pitting & laboratory analyses
  • Design and Implementation of Infiltration Test Plot Study
  • Coordination of Field Characterization Studies for Design of Closeout Plan for Mine Site

Warrego Tailings Impoundment, Tennant Creek, Northwest Territories, Australia (1999-present) for Normandy PPTY.
  • Assessment of past and current impacts of tailings seepage on groundwater
  • Calibration of groundwaterflow and transport model to predict future impacts on groundwater & design of closure alternatives
  • Development of a Closure Strategy for Warrego tailings impoundments
Culmitzsch Tailings Impoundment, Seelingstadt, Germany (1998-present) for Wismut GmbH
  • Design of remedial strategies for large uranium tailings impoundment
  • Modeling consolidation of fine tailings under self-weight and proposed cover placement
  • Assessment of long-term seepage from tailings impoundment
Fullerton Lumber Site,North Vancouver, B.C., Canada (1997-present) for Concert Properties Ltd.
  • Conceptual design of a hydraulic barrier system at an industrial site containing hydrocarbon contamination
  • Design and supervision of aquifer pumping tests
  • Development of a 3D groundwater flow model to evaluate performance of proposed hydraulic barrier system for final design
  • Installation of Hydraulic Barrier System (Waterloo Barrier Wall plus Extraction Wells)
  • On-going site monitoring and maintenance
Faro Mine Complex,Yukon, Canada (1996-97) for Anvil Range Mining Corp.
  • Development of integrated closure plan for extensive mining complex (3 open pits, waste rock, tailings)
  • Modeling of seepage from flooded open pit through fractured bedrock
  • Development of a 3D groundwater model to assess seepage from tailings facility into alluvial aquifer
  • Design and installation of a monitoring network of piezometers
  • Project Management (budget in excess of $250,000)
Lac de Gras Mining Development Area,NWT, Canada (1995-96) for BHP Diamonds Inc.
  • Development of 3-D groundwater flow model to evaluate the impact of open pit mining on regional groundwater regime at depth in fractured bedrock
  • Management of a team of 3 modelers
  • Liaison with client during model development and review process
Helmsdorf Tailings Impoundment,Seelingstadt, Germany (1995-96) for Wismut GmbH
  • Design of remedial strategies for large uranium tailings impoundment
  • Modeling consolidation of fine tailings under self-weight and proposed cover placement
  • Assessment of long-term seepage from tailings impoundment
Mydlovary Tailings Impoundment,Tschek Republic (1996) for DSR GmbH
  • Modeling of infiltration through various designs of soil cover using unsaturated flow model SWMS_2D
Mine de Noailhac- St. Salvy, France (1995) for Metaleurop S.A.
  • Development of a three-dimensional flow and transport model to evaluate seepage of contaminants from an inactive tailings impoundment


Various technical papers and conference proceedings.