Revolutionizing the Use and Management of Water in Mining Regions
Worldwide, the growth of mining is increasingly constrained by water issues: lack of water, too much water, or community opposition because of water-related risks. Roughly two-thirds of the world’s largest mines are in countries where water is scarce and where mines must compete with surrounding water users.
Flooding events have proven equally costly, with some mining regions facing billion-dollar production losses and considerable social and environmental impacts. Future changes in climate are only expected to intensify water-related risks.
Dr. Nadja Kunz, Canada Research Chair in Mine Water Management and Stewardship, is revolutionizing the use and management of water in mining projects to reduce risks for businesses, the environment and society. She is looking to advance mine water optimization models to measure risk in the context of uncertainties (such as climate variability) and complex trade-offs (such as the water-energy nexus).
Kunz and her research team are also trying to develop new approaches to mitigate the cumulative effects of mining on regional water resources. Cumulative effects refer to the combined impacts of multiple mining sites on society, the economy and the environment.
Kunz’s long-term goal is to design mining projects that will leave a positive legacy in their host communities and support sustainable water management outcomes in Canada and globally. Ultimately, her research may also support decision-making by business, government and society.