PUBLIC TALK: Mining Waste Environments: globally significant and growing biogeochemical hotspots
|Mining Waste Environments: globally significant and growing biogeochemical hotspots
A public lecture by Professor Lesley A. Warren, Director, Lassonde Institute of Mining, University of Toronto and UWA Institute of Advanced Studies Visiting Fellow.
Globally, extractive industries are estimated to produce 7.2 billion tons of waste and use 7-9 billion cubic metres of water; creating one of the fastest growing and least well studied biogeochemical contexts on the planet. Tailings, containing reactive sulfur, iron, nitrogen and carbon compounds, represent the largest global mining environmental liability. Currently, it is difficult for mines to design tailings impoundments or develop effective management and reclamation approaches, because the microbial processes that generate impacts remain a black box. However, as mining landscapes continue to grow world-wide, the fundamental lessons learned in these contexts are also required to better inform our understanding of global biogeochemical cycling.
In this lecture, Professor Warren will present results from both metal and oil sands mining contexts, where we have begun to address this knowledge gap through the joint application of genomics and geochemistry. Research to date provides fascinating glimpses of extensive and often surprising biogeochemical cycling within these environments, as well as distinctive microbial communities that interactively shape biogeochemical outcomes.
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