A Collaboration between Scotland and the Philippines
GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh with The University of the Philippines
The Philippines is one of the few megadiverse countries in the world. It was also the top Nickel exporter until 2016. Mine closures have occurred regularly since then, ordered by a government willing to address rising environmental concerns. Nickel mining areas in the country are commonly affected by intense erosion and siltation, leading to problems ranging from flooding to heavy metal contamination. However, very little is known about the processes that lead to sediment and metal dispersion in such environments. Furthermore, there are concerns that sudden mine closures may enhance the problem through the cessation of maintenance work within the mine, leading to uncontrolled slope degradation, in addition to economical shortfall at the local and national scale. In this research, we aim to identify the sources of sediment and pollutants and their relative importance, define whether their contribution is intensified by anthropogenic activity such as mining (or the cessation of), and inform the development of mitigation measures that may allow mining activities to be carried out in a sustainable way.
The project combines unique expertise: the Land Surface Dynamics group in Edinburgh combines field and modelling studies to assess erosion and sediment transport in mountain rivers, and the team at the University of the Philippines Diliman has extensive knowledge of the geology, environmental issues and political context in the country. Jointly funded by the British Council and the Philippine Government, this undertaking provides an ideal platform for knowledge exchange and paves the way for further collaboration between Scotland and the Philippines.