The Institute of Science, Technology and Policy at ETH Zurich is dedicated to supporting public policy-making processes by educating future policy analysts and decision-makers, supporting innovative trans-disciplinary research collaborations, and promoting exchange between scientists, policy-makers, and society. We are offering a
PhD Position at Swiss Minerals Observatory: Impact of mining on water resources
The successful candidate will develop a quantitative approach, which allows modelling hydrological transport processes at the catchment scale and in river corridors at a more local scale. This doctoral project includes development and testing of components of a distributed hydrological model that can simulate at the catchment scale in a spatially explicit way both conservative and non-conservative tracer dynamics by combining hydrological and geochemical process models. This will allow the quantification of the impact of mining operations through a spatially distributed simulation of the effect of mine-related water abstraction on catchment water resources and of the mobilisation and transport of pollutants across the river basin. The main application of the developed model will focus on copper mining in Zambia. Fieldwork in Zambia and Burkina Faso will support this doctoral project, the goal of which is also to develop transferrable modelling tools. In this respect, the observatory project context may allow testing the tools in the Bolivian case study on lithium mining. The developed modelling framework will finally allow a comparative assessment between the impact of mining on water resources and that of alternative economic development pathways such as expanding agriculture or tourism.
We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled candidate with environmental / engineering background, with a focus on hydrological modelling and transport processes.The project is embedded in a larger context requiring interdisciplinary interests and competences.