PAMANA: Philippine Mining at the National to Catchment Scale - from Legacy Impacts to Sustainable Futures

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Geographical & Earth Sciences


As the world moves towards low carbon emissions, the need for mining is as great as it has ever been. The contemporary paradigm is 'sustainable mining' that is profitable but protects environments, ecosystems and humans. The Philippines is a mineral-rich nation with a legacy and significant potential for future mining. The move towards sustainable mining in the Philippines requires novel and effective baselining and monitoring of contaminant histories, an understanding of the fate, transport and impacts of the contaminants, and methods for remediating and recovering resources from legacy mining areas and for promoting ecosystem and landscape recovery. In this project, we address all of these needs by adopting a catchment-based approach to evaluate legacy impacts and sustainable mining futures in the Philippines. We do so because all mining takes place in and affects mineralised river systems. Building on existing UK-Philippines collaborative research and our NERC DOST-PCIEERD funded Partnership and Project Development (PPD) grant, this project aims to realise a combined geomorphological- and biogeochemical-based approach to establish new baseline, environmental impact monitoring and numerical modelling approaches to determine resource potential and remediate, rehabilitate and manage catchments affected by legacy, contemporary and future mining. We will achieve this aim by addressing the following objectives: (1) Demonstrate and develop novel technologies and analytical approaches to establish baseline water and ecological quality in Philippine river catchments, and to monitor and evaluate the impact of future mines and sustainable mining practice; (2) Quantify the environmental impacts of contaminated sediment from legacy and contemporary mining in an exemplar Philippine catchment; (3) Develop and verify a 3D numerical model of how mine contaminated waste has moved through Philippine river catchments over centennial time scales and to predict future patterns of contamination under different climate change and management scenarios; (4) Determine the environmental impacts, risks and resource and remediation potential of Philippine mine tailings dams; (5) Propose a catchment-based approach in developing policies and strategies to manage mineralised watersheds in the Philippines and identify the best practices, challenges, and lessons learnt in managing mining catchments for sustainable implementation to other tropical nations. As an exemplar of a tropical, mineralised nation with a rich biodiversity, the development of sustainable mining in the Philippines will be of global relevance to achieving similar outcomes elsewhere.


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