ESR10 – Acid mine drainage: water/soil transfer

Picture of Cynthia Obregon

The Early Stage Reasercher (ESR) for this research topic is Cynthia Obregón.

I am a geologist from Colombia with a master’s degree in Sustainable Mining and Remediation Management. My research interests are related to environmental issues related to mining, contaminated mine water and mine closure.

I decided to join PANORAMA because the focus on elucidating the man-induced environmental dissemination of REE and the associated effects on environmental health appealed to me. The project has an interdisciplinary approach which is ideal in order to fully understand the environmental impacts of new emerging pollutants such as REE. Moreover, it incorporates field work, laboratory experiments and the opportunity to work and learn in high-level research centers.

Being part of the PANORAMA project would give the opportunity to contribute to science and enhance the knowledge of the impact of AMD on the environment and the effectiveness of the current remediation processes.

This Early Stage Researcher will be hosted in Instituto Superior Técnico and supervised by Isabel Prudêncio, Rosa Marques and Joao C. Waerenborgh.

The goal of this research topic is to evaluate the Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) impact on the environment and the effectiveness of current remediation processes. After establishing the natural background, the researcher will evaluate the contribution of AMD and mine wastes to the behaviour of REE in the fluvial system.

Eventually, this will help reaching a better understanding of preferential REE fixation mechanisms and of the complexity of hydrogeochemical processes controlling the REE distribution in the course of PTS constructed to remediate AMD. This will help identify strategies to prevent contamination through the real assessment of REE contents modifications in the environment. 

Five secondments are planned:

  • Empresa de Desenvolvimiento Miniero (twice, one month): field work and sampling; 
  • Universidad de Huelva (twice, two month): field work and laboratory experiments; 
  • Université Rennes 1 (two months): REE analysis in aqueous systems; 
  • Synchrotron Soleil (one month): REE-ochre-precipitates characterization using spectroscopy; 
  • SCK•CEN (two months): geochemical modelling.