PhD: The environmental trade-offs of mining in a biodiversity hotspot
My project is entitled ‘the environmental trade-offs of mining in a biodiversity hotspot’. The biodiversity hotspot in question is Madagascar, a country renowned for it’s biological diversity but which is also home to a wealth of natural resources including gold, ilmenite, ruby, sapphires, tourmaline and quartz. Despite an abundance of natural resources Madagascar remains one of the poorest countries in the world and it’s government and citizens are committed to rapid development. This project will investigate the potential of mining to contribute towards sustainable development, with a focus on artisanal, small-scale mining.
I will begin by assessing the net environmental impacts of different types of mining using remote sensing, ecosystem services models and pre-existing datasets. This information will be weighed against the development benefits to assess which trajectory involving mining (e.g. continued proliferation of artisanal mines in protected areas, strict control and regulation of mining sector including in protected areas) can yield the greatest development gains at the smallest environmental cost.
See the below infographic for more information about Katie’s exciting research. This was created by Katie during an Infographics training course delivered by Infohackit and organised by Envision.