NERC supports a green future for Philippines mining

Abstract texture of oxidated copper in the copper mine

NERC and the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology have co-funded two further research projects on sustainable mineral production.

Each project will receive £1.2 million and 15 million Philippine peso over the next three years. The investments are part of NERC’s strategic research programme investments that aim to provide the environmental solutions needed to foster a productive, healthy and resilient environment.

A sustainable future

Beth House, Head of Productive Environment at the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) said:

Developing a whole system view of sustainable mineral production, and discovering innovative solutions that have minimal impacts on the environment are both crucial to sustainably meeting the growing global demand for mineral resources used in green technologies such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, and carbon capture and storage.

NERC are committed to supporting research that improves interactions between economic and environmental systems.

UK and global benefits

A research team will investigate new sustainable technologies to limit the environmental hazards of mine tailings. The team will be led by Professor Gawen Jenkin at the University of Leicester, UK and Professor Carlo Arcilla from the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute.

Mine tailings are waste materials left over from minerals processing, often deposited behind constructed dams as tailings storage facilities. Their research will use emerging technology in geophysical tomography and remote sensing to monitor and understand tailings behaviour in 4D enabling real-time monitoring of tailings storage facilities.

They will also investigate new solvent methods to dissolving metals from modern and abandoned tailings, as well as rehabilitating land and allowing it to be reused for agriculture or wildlife.

Improving mining practice

Another team will evaluate legacy mining impacts and sustainable mining futures in the Philippines. This will be led by Dr Richard Williams at the University of Glasgow, UK and Dr Decibel Faustino-Eskava at the University of the Philippines Los Banos.

Their project will result in development of a catchment-based approach in developing policies and strategies to manage mineralised watersheds.

Dr Enrico Paringit, Executive Director at the Department of Science and Technology at the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology (DOST-PCIEERD) said:

The extractive industry remains one of the biggest contributors to the economy in many parts of the world. Through active collaboration, we expect research efforts to shed light on the impacts of mining activities to the environment and find viable solutions and alternatives as we march forward to sustainability goals.

Further information

This is the second funding update on the sustainable mineral resources in the Philippines. The first phase was announced in May 2021: NERC invests in sustainable future for Philippine minerals.

Top image:  Credit: Dmitry_Chulov, Getty Images

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