Jyoti Ahuja and Frances Wall joined the ReSToRE 2 Summer School organised by the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG) and International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) from July 4-8th, 2022, at University College Dublin. Led by Geertje Schuitema, this summer school brought together some 50 participants and 10 lecturers to tackle challenges at the interface of earth and social sciences. This created an assembly of people born in about 30 different countries with an amazing diversity of backgrounds.
Five challenges were set for participant sub-groups: Just transitions, Action leadership to improve the image of mining, Community interactions, Artisanal and small scale mining and our Met4Tech-related challenge of Circular economy. Each challenge was presented by a summer school guest, including guests from two of the sponsors: First Quantum Minerals Ltd and Freeport-McMoran. Our Circular Economy challenge was introduced by Edmund Nickless of International Union of Geological Sciences (thank you Edmund)!
Having been set their challenges, the summer school participants, mostly early career researchers and company professionals, worked in groups of 10 to prepare some kind of presentation or proposal in regard to their challenge. The groups led themselves (excellently) but worked with guidance from two lecturers. Each lecturer gave a talk during the week, and we enjoyed a series of excellent lectures both from colleagues well known to us like Gavin Mudd and John Thompson and new contacts including Judy Muthuri from Nottingham University who talked about artisanal and small scale mining, Bunting Williams from Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone (who turned out to be a good friend of Kelvin Anderson who did his PhD at Camborne School of Mines a few years ago), and Aparajita Banerjee who gave a really interesting talk about just transitions for peat-producing communities in Ireland. Frances gave a fascinating ‘view from the front’ of the circular economy and Jyoti gave a talk on the role of the law in shaping a circular economy, using EV battery regulation as an example. As the only lawyer at the summer school Jyoti’s talk was particularly well-received by the participants.
Our CE challenge group contained expertise in agriculture, as well as life cycle assessment, mining in Papua New Guinea and Algeria, exploration in Finland and resources in Namibia, and chose to look at using CE to make deeper and more positive links between an agricultural and a mining community. This produced some excellent insights and ideas for their proposal. It also led us to an interesting observation that although we use the Ellen McArthur butterfly to illustrate CE, there are no links between the left hand bio side of CE and the right hand materials side. How odd!
The mix of disciplines, backgrounds and experience; the enthusiasm of the participants and many lively discussions with the other lecturers all made this a fascinating, thought-provoking and fun week. We hope we enthused / interested some more people about CE and hope we see our awesome team again in the future. Our thanks indeed to organising committee and sponsors who made the summer school possible.
Read more at: https://www.icrag-centre.org/restore/
More about the speakers: https://www.icrag-centre.org/restore/restorespeakers/