Imperial College London

New research project awarded funds to deliver sustainable mining


Members of the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at a mine site, with backs to camera in high-vis vest they look out to open cut mine in distance, with blue sky above

Members of the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at a mine site

ESE researcher Dr Pablo Brito-Parada among grant awardees to develop greener mining in the Philippines.

A partnership and project development project co-led by ESE’s Dr Pablo Brito-Parada has been selected as one of five projects to receive funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology (DOST-PCIEERD).

The project, “SAGES: Systems approach for greener, eco-efficient and sustainable mineral resource management”, aims to develop greener mineral resource management in the Philippines and build a research programme to improve the sustainability of mining in the country. The project is co-led with Dr Arnel Beltran of De La Salle University (DLSU) in the Philippines and involves a multidisciplinary team from both Imperial College and DLSU, as well as from the Natural History Museum, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, and Central Mindanao University.

Profile photo of Dr Pablo Brito-Parada, looking at the cameraDr Brito-Parada (pictured left) says: “The SAGES project aims to provide a unifying framework that will support the Philippine mining sector in its transition into an economically sustainable, socially responsible and environmentally sensitive industry. This requires a robust systems approach able to satisfy multiple conflicting criteria.”

The Philippines is rich in minerals such as gold, nickel and copper, which are commonly used in green technology, and are therefore seeing increased global demand.

"Mining is essential to provide the metals required for the green energy transition...this must be done in a sustainable manner"

Dr Brito-Parada added: "Mining is essential to provide the metals required for the green energy transition, from electric vehicles to wind turbines. This must be done in a sustainable manner, identifying opportunities to implement circular flows at the mine site level that enhance mineral extraction, reduce mineral losses to mining waste and mitigate the environmental impacts related to mine waste disposal.”

In a laboratory, a PhD student's gloved hands rest on the side of a bowl filled with grey slurry, part of a machine that separates minerals
A PhD student from the Advanced Mineral Processing Research Group works in the lab

SAGES will develop a circular economy mining framework to address mine waste (including waste left over from extraction, polluted soils, and mine drainage systems). Transforming de-commissioned and legacy mine sites into the mines of the future and turning mine waste into secondary resources has a host of potential benefits for stakeholders, host communities, and the environment. This is the focus of the strategic large grant proposal for the second stage of funding, on which the SAGES team is currently working.



Victoria Murphy

Victoria Murphy
Institute of Global Health Innovation

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Sustainability, Environment, Engineering-Earth-Sci-and-Eng
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