ESR11 – REE and other heavy metals in mining and milling wastes

ESR 11 - Andres Cardenas

The Early Stage Researcher for this research topic is Andres Cardenas.

In 2018, I graduated from the Industrial University of Santander (Colombia) with a bachelor’s degree in Geology, and in 2019, I graduated with an MSc in Geology and Environmental Management in Mineral Resources from the University of Huelva (Spain).

I have acquired knowledge and experience during my academic and professional life in the fields of water geochemistry, laboratory work, taking geological, geochemical, and chemical samples, data processing, and the use of chemical analysis techniques.

Complementing with this training, I acquired advanced knowledge in GIS, Autocad, geological modeling software, geochemical modeling in PHREEQC, programming languages such as C ++, Python, Java, and C.

During my Master's thesis, I examined and studied the chemical parameters (pH, Eh, T and DO), the water-rock interaction, the transport of heavy metals, the precipitation of mineral phases, and indices saturation at the head of the Odiel River (Located in the Iberian Pyrite Belt, Spain).

I have decided to join this project because carrying out research in the H2020 program of the European Commission allows me to grow both academically and professionally. Also, I could acquire new skills, knowledge, and tools that are necessary to solve problems related to this topic at a global level. This international professional experience adds great value to my career and gives me the possibility to help meet the needs of today’s society.

This Early Stage Researcher will be hosted in Instituto Superior Técnico and supervised by Isabel Dias and Rosa Marques.

The topic of this research relies in the quantification and behaviour of REE (and other trace elements) in surrounding water, stream sediments and soil systems within mining and milling wastes.

Then shall be identified whether or not REE and other heavy metals could be used as natural tracers in acid rock drainage at former U mine wastes. A better understanding of the geochemical and mineralogical processes involved in sequestering these elements in the mentioned systems is expected. 

Four secondments are planned:

  • Empresa de Desenvolvimiento Miniero (twice one month): field work and sampling; 
  • Universidad de Huelva (twice, one month): field work and sampling; 
  • Université Rennes 1 (twice, two months): REE and other trace elements analysis and modelling in waters; 
  • Synchrotron Soleil (one month): REE-surface interactions stream sediments and soils minerals (XAS).