Volume 22 No. 9

October 17, 2017

Programs and Events

Evidence of Transboundary Mercury and other Pollutants in the Puyango-Tumbes River Basin, Ecuador-Peru

Bruce Marshall
Associate Researcher and Postdoctoral Fellow at Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia

12:30-1:45 pm
Thursday, October 19
Caseroom – Liu Institute

No RSVP required

In Portovelo in southern Ecuador, 87 gold processing centers along the Puyango-Tumbes River produce an estimated 6 tonnes of gold, using a combination of mercury amalgamation and/or cyanidation. At monitoring points immediately below the processing plants, high concentrations of total arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, cyanide and mercury were found in surface waters and bottom sediments of the Puyango-Tumbes River. The highest concentration of free cyanide was 13,560 times above the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) thresholds for the protection of aquatic life, and 1695 times over the 24-hour LC50 concentration of 40 μg/L for some fish species. The highest total mercury (THg) concentrations in sediments were found within a 40-kilometre stretch down river from the processing plants, with most concentrations above the CCME guideline of 0.5 mg/kg. Data from mercury isotopic analyses support the conclusion that mercury use during gold processing in Portovelo is the source of the mercury pollution that is found 160 kilometres downstream in the Tumbes Delta in Peru.

Dr. Bruce Gavin Marshall is an associate researcher and postdoctoral fellow at UBC’s Norman B Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering (NBKI). After completing his PhD in Brazil, where he investigated the autotrophic energy sources and mercury contamination of fish populations in an Amazonian blackwater river, he worked as an undergraduate professor and advisor at Amazonas State University (UEA) in the Department of Environmental Management, specifically with respect to water and mineral resources. Dr. Marshall also worked at Centro Universitário do Norte (UNINORTE – Laureate International Universities) in Manaus as an undergraduate professor in different departments, including Petroleum and Gas Technology, Environmental Engineering, Industrial Production and Geography. Currently, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Marcello Veiga at NBKI, Dr. Marshall’s post-doctoral research is investigating the bioavailability of mercury cyanide in aquatic environments, including whether this chemical complex bioaccumulates and biomagnifies in fish. Apart from research, Dr. Marshall is currently teaching two post-graduate classes at NBKI, including: Environmental Risk Assessment in Relation to Mining; and Mining and Society. Dr. Marshall was part of a large UNIDO study investigating heavy metal contamination of the Puyango-Tumbes River in Ecuador in relation to ASGM production in Portovelo-Zaruma, which found that pollution reaches 160 kilometres down river to the Tumbes Delta in Peru. Dr. Marshall has also conducted environmental risk assessments for large-scale gold mining companies in Colombia that are frequented by artisanal miners, whereby a co-existence model is promoted to ensure social, environmental and economic sustainability.

Gairdner Symposium

Date: Monday, October 23,  3:30– 6pm
Location: Life Sciences Centre, Lecture Theatre 2 (LSC 2), UBC, 2350 Health Sciences Mall

Hosted by Drs. Helen Burt and Michael Hayden, University of British Columbia

This free public lecture will feature:

1.Dr. Huda Zoghbi
Recipient of the 2017 Canada Gairdner International Award
“For the discovery of the genetic basis of Rett syndrome and its implications for autism spectrum disorders”
Professor, Baylor College of Medicine; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Director, Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, TX, USA

Presentation Title: Protein Levels and Neuropsychiatric Disorders: Insights and Opportunities

2. Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou
Recipient of the 2016 Canada Gairdner International Award
“For establishing and characterizing CRISPR-Cas bacterial immune defense system”
Associate Professor, Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences; Todd R. Klaenhammer Distinguished Scholar in Probiotics Research North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

Presentation Title: CRISPR-Cas systems: from adaptive immunity to genome editing machines

Please see  Vancouver Gairdner Symposium for more information.
Please see Gairdner Foundation for more information about the Gairdner Foundation.

For questions or more information please contact Seetha at skumaran@cmmt.ubc.ca

Mountain Hydro-geomorphic Processes in the Pacific Northwest: Glacier Response and Landsliding

We are fortunate to have Professor Erkan Istanbulluoglu visiting UBC from the distant State of Washington. He will be giving a special seminar on Monday, Oct. 16 in room 223 (Geography Building) at 2 pm. He will be speaking on

Mountain Hydro-geomorphic processes in the Pacific Northwest: Glacier response and landsliding

Erkan Istanbulluoglu received his PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at Utah State University in 2003, and his BS and MS degrees in Agricultural Engineering at Uludag University, Turkey, in 1996 and 1999 respectively. He completed a postdoc at MIT in CEE in 2005. Erkan served on the faculty of University of Nebraska, Lincoln (2005-2009) before joining the University of Washington in the fall of 2009 as an Assistant Professor. Erkan is promoted to Associate Professor in 2013.

Erkan's research is highly interdisciplinary and aims to improve the understanding and modeling of interactions among hydrologic, ecologic, and geomorphic processes in watersheds; their connections to society; and the impact of climate change on watershed response. He currently serves as an Associate Editor in Water Resources Research, and on the CUAHSI board of directors.

Networking - Pub Night - Supporting Mineral Education in BC

The Greater Vancouver Mining Women's Association (GVMWA) supports mineral education in BC, they subsidize transport of school groups to Britannia Mine and provide scholarships and awards to students in mining related fields. In order to continue this work they are hosting a Pub Night at Moose's Down Under on October 24th.  For more information, please see here.

Environmental Sciences Students' Association's event: The 3 Stages of Environmentalism

Please come and join ESSA for our beginning of the year keystone event, The Three Stages of Environmentalism! On October 21, 2017 at 7:30 pm, our four speakers, Grace Hermansen, Briony Penn, Joan Phillip, and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip will share their stories and experiences of activism and environmentalism in hopes of bridging the gap between age groups surrounding issues of environmental protection. This will be a memorable night focused on appreciating our lovely environment while also hearing inspiring stories of how our speakers are fighting to protect it.

We hope to see you there!

Link to Purchase tickets at the Telus Theatre in the Chan Centre: https://chancentre.com/events/three-stages-environmentalism/

SFU Earth Science Seminar Series

Melt Inclusions of Native-Silver and Native-Bismuth at Cobalt, Ontario.  Model for Native-Metal Enrichments Comparing Natural Samples with Experimental and In Situ Studes

Friday October 20th, 2017
SSB 7172
at 11:00am

Refreshments will be served (bring your own coffee mug!)

New University – Industry Liaison Office (UILO) contact

Mr. Ian Bell is the new Manager at the UILO responsible for all commercialization and knowledge transfer activities generated by the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. Ian was previously a manager at the UILO from 2006-2013 and has extensive commercialization and business development experience, having held positions with provincial government, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), academia, industry and as an independent consultant. Do not hesitate to reach out to Ian by email (ian.bell@uilo.ubc.ca) or phone (2-9395) to discuss any IP or industry-engagement questions, new inventions or ideas for new inventions.