Center for Mining Sustainability, A Partnership with Arequipa

The Universidad Nacional de San Agustín (UNSA) in Arequipa, Peru, and Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, USA, have developed a partnership to tackle one of the most important societal and environmental issues facing southern Peru – how to manage mining of natural resources in a manner that is sustainable, supports the local economies, and minimizes environmental impacts.

Much of the mining in the region is done at the Artisanal and Small-scale level, which suffers from dangerous conditions, high environmental impacts, and limited resources to address problems. The Center for Mining Sustainability was launched in March 2019, with multiple projects aimed at protecting water resources, improving mine safety, reducing risk from geologic hazards, and improving mining processes. The Center leverages the institution-level faculty, student, and infrastructure commitment of UNSA’s school of Mining Engineering, Geology and Geophysics; School of Processing Engineering, and others as well as the combined strengths of research faculty and infrastructure from Colorado School of Mines departments of Chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Geology and Geological Engineering, Geophysics, Mining Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

THE CHALLENGES AHEAD

Mining in the Arequipa region, at Artisanal and Small Scales, faces many complex social, economical and environmental challenges. Among them:

  • Unique pressures and economic limitations inherent with Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining
  • Degradation of water resources due to mine runoff, changing sediment loads, and contamination by chemicals
  • Exposure of mining personnel and nearby residents to dangerous chemicals from mineral extraction
  • Market-force issues that resist change to safer chemical extraction methods
  • Hazardous mining conditions, due to inadequate ventilation and mine stability problems
  • Safe storage and long-term disposal and management of mine tailings
  • Landslide, debris flow, and erosion hazards in mining areas or caused by mining
  • Predictive methods and ore characterization to ensure future resources and continued thriving communities

These technical, social, and environmental challenges are intricately connected and require innovative, multi-disciplinary approaches for effective change. To be truly effective, solutions must anticipate future needs and drivers, reduce unfavorable consequences, and integrate with the unique social systems that define the region. The Center for Mining Sustainability will apply data-driven, interdisciplinary science, technology, and innovation to help chart a new course toward a sustainable future.

CENTER VISION

To provide research-driven solutions for mining issues to benefit the Arequipa region and to be applied at all scales of mining worldwide. We will become an international benchmark for research in sustainable mining.

Center Mission

To develop a long-term collaboration that will build research capacity, train scientists, and solve key mining, environmental, and societal problems

ABOUT UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE SAN AGUSTÍN

The National University of San Agustín de Arequipa was founded on Nov. 11, 1828 as a public university in Arequipa, Peru. Its mission is to train high-quality professionals to be competitive, capable of being agents of change and development in society, and excellent researchers capable of solving the problems that impact the environment of the region and Peru.

ABOUT COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES

Colorado School of Mines is known globally for the quality of its distinctive graduates, the success of its alumni and its unique expertise in topics related to earth, energy and the environment.

The first Colorado School of Mines Board of Trustees meeting was held in 1879, the first formal commencement for two graduates was held in 1883, the first international student graduated in 1889, and the first female student graduated in 1898.

Courses offered to students during the early years of Colorado School of Mines included chemistry, metallurgy, mineralogy, mining engineering, geology, botany, math and drawing. The focus of the early academic programs was on gold and silver, and the assaying of those minerals. As the institution grew, its mission expanded to focus specifically on understanding the Earth, harnessing energy and sustaining the environment.

Mines produces industry-ready scientists and engineers known for their work ethic, problem-solving ability and teamwork focus. Mines graduates are in great demand by companies and government entities around the world and are involved in solving major technical and societal challenges of our times.

CENTER DIRECTORS

Paul Santi
Professor, Colorado School of Mines
Co-Director – Center for Mining Sustainability
E-mail: psanti@mines.edu

Henry Gustavo Polanco Cornejo
Dean, School of Process Engineering, UNSA
Co-Director – Center for Mining Sustainability
E-mail: hpolancoc@unsa.edu.pe

 

CONTACT

Paul Santi

Professor, Colorado School of Mines
Co-Director – Center for Mining Sustainability

psanti@mines.edu

Henry Gustavo Polanco Cornejo

Dean, School of Process Engineering, UNSA
Co-Director – Center for Mining Sustainability

hpolancoc@unsa.edu.pe