Category: Latin America

POWER OUTAGE IN PUERTO RICO CAUSED BY HURRICANE FIONA 9/26/22

POWER OUTAGE IN PUERTO RICO CAUSED BY HURRICANE FIONA

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associate Tilottama Ghosh writes about how the September 15th, power supply was ‘normal’ in Puerto Rico. Then increasing cloud cover was seen September 16th onwards, till Hurricane Fiona made landfall on September 18th. The cloud cover remained heavy till September 21st making it difficult to get a ‘clear’ view of the power outage. September 26, 2022.

Lithium mining’s water use sparks bitter conflicts and novel chemistry 9/13/2022

Lithium mining’s water use sparks bitter conflicts and novel chemistry

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jessica Smith is featured on this podcast exploring the impact of the world’s hunger for lithium-ion batteries, an important tool in the fight against climate change. Mining of lithium used to manufacture batteries in electric cars comes with a cost to the local environment and access to water. September 13, 2022.

Perceptions and realities of mercury contamination in a Peruvian artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) community 8/22/2022

Perceptions and realities of mercury contamination in a Peruvian artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) community

Rolando Quispe Aquino, Payne Institute Research Associate Aaron Malone, Faculty Fellow Nicole M. Smith, and Fredy Fortunato García Zúñiga write about how artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is the leading global source of mercury pollution. Efforts to reduce or eliminate mercury use in ASGM have produced limited results, in part because they do not engage the complex socio-technical nature of mercury issues in ASGM. The paper takes a multidisciplinary approach to understand the mercury issue with a socio-technical lens, pairing sampling of mercury in soils with surveys of miners’ and residents’ perceptions of mercury pollution and its dispersion.  August 22, 2022.  

CUBAN FUEL DEPOT FIRE CAUSES ENERGY CRISIS 8/11/2022

CUBAN FUEL DEPOT FIRE CAUSES ENERGY CRISIS

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student researcher Elijah Mt.Castle uses satellite imagery to look at how a fuel storage depot in Matanzas, Cuba burned for 5 days. The fire destroyed 4 crude oil tankers in the port which made up 40% of the country’s reserves. The oil in Matanzas is mainly used for generating electricity. The country has already been experiencing blackouts in the last months and shortages on gasoline and other items. August 11, 2022.

CHINESE FISHING FLEET RETURNS YEARLY TO ARGENTINA 6/7/2022

CHINESE FISHING FLEET RETURNS YEARLY TO ARGENTINA

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle writes about a Chinese fishing fleet has returned to the waters around Argentina. This fleet has returned year after year to fish outside of Argentina’s economic exclusion zone (EEZ). The coastal waters inside of the EEZ are biodiverse and home to the second largest squid fishery in the world. Around half of the world’s shortfin squid is caught within Argentina’s waters. The shortfin squid market can generate upwards of $2.4 billion dollars a year. While legal to fish outside of the 200-mile EEZ, portions of the fishing fleet will fish illegally within Argentina’s EEZ.  June 7, 2022. 

Four Mines faculty members named Fulbright Scholars 6/6/2022

Four Mines faculty members named Fulbright Scholars

Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Neal Sullivan and Marte Gutierrez were named Fulbright Scholars for the coming year.  Dr. Gutierrez’s award will take him to the University of Chile, where he will conduct research with faculty there on the impacts of climate change on landslides, rockfalls and mudflows in Chile. The research will identify localities in Chile and provide mitigation solutions for amplified geological hazard potential from climate change. Dr. Sullivan will be spending seven months at the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. The work he plans to conduct there will be similar to what he and his team work on at the Colorado Fuel Cell Center: developing next-generation materials for “green” hydrogen production. WASM’s work is supported by Western Australian companies, including Fortescue Metals Group, which has pledged to become Asia’s supplier of carbon-free green hydrogen over the coming decades.  June 6, 2022.

Mines launches new research center with Peruvian partner university 5/24/2022

Mines launches new research center with Peruvian partner university

The Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Paul Santi, Director of the Mines Institute for Initiatives in Latin America, is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo (UNT), located in Trujillo on the Pacific coast of northwest Peru.  This new collaboration agreement on May 9 to establish the Center for Research in Sustainable Resources (Centro para Investigación en Recursos Sostenibles) and to begin the first phase of collaborative research projects involving research teams and students based in the U.S. and in Peru.  May 24, 2022.

Water Security Issues for Lithium Mining in Chile 5/17/2022

Water Security Issues for Lithium Mining in Chile

Payne Institute Communications Associate Eleanor Igwe writes about how due to lithium’s central role in electric vehicle batteries, its demand is predicted to continue a steep rise and likely reach the level of two to four million metric tons by 2030. In addition to the stresses this will put on mining production and the environment – issues of water security are likely to become a key challenge.  May 17, 2022.  

Scientists in Antarctica discover a vast, salty groundwater system under the ice sheet – with implications for sea level rise 5/5/2022

Scientists in Antarctica discover a vast, salty groundwater system under the ice sheet – with implications for sea level rise

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Matthew Siegfried‘s research is featured in this article about how a new discovery deep beneath one of Antarctica’s rivers of ice could change scientists’ understanding of how the ice flows, with important implications for estimating future sea level rise.  Glacier scientists Matthew Siegfried from Colorado School of Mines, Chloe Gustafson from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and their colleagues spent 61 days living in tents on an Antarctic ice stream to collect data about the land under half a mile of ice beneath their feet. They explain what the team discovered and what it says about the behavior of ice sheets in a warming world.  May 5, 2022.

Multiple streams framework and mineral royalties: The 2005 mining tax reform in Chile 4/23/2022

Multiple streams framework and mineral royalties: The 2005 mining tax reform in Chile

Emilio Castillo and Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Kathleen Hancock write about how in economic theories, institutional change usually occurs in response to changes in relative prices. Mineral policies in mining countries frequently follow this behavior, modifying their tax systems as metal prices change. Nonetheless, Chile presents a deviation from common behavior with a mining tax reform that took place before a major increase in mineral commodity prices and when market analysts and political leaders expected prices to remain relatively constant.  April 23, 2022.