We’re looking for a PhD student to join our group to work on a project to help assess the distribution and fate of metals in marine sediments adjacent to a large lead and zinc smelter in South Australia. The project will develop an industrial-ecological (systems) model of the dynamics of metal contamination marine sediments, incorporating both the receiving marine ecological system and smelter operations. Ultimately, the goal of the work is to develop new remediation options, where legacy metals in sediments are treated as a recoverable resource, with economic value.

Ideally, we’re looking for someone with an environmental or chemical engineering (or science) background who is interested in marine pollution issues and environmental remediation. The person will need to have good numerical skills and, ideally, will have some experience with systems dynamic modelling.

The student will join a project which is currently mapping the spatial extent and concentration of metals in marine sediments.  Using these data from environmental sampling (sediment coring) and field experiments  to determine current/historical levels of metal contamination, the project will model metal flows and effects in the marine ecosystem of Port Pirie. Thus, field work to collect this data is underway but there will be opportunities to be involved in future field collections and chemical analysis of samples, potentially focussing on the resource recovery value of rare earth elements. The PhD student will also need to work closely with metallurgists at the smelter to incorporate current smelter operations into models and with the environmental scientists there to use their (extensive) environmental emission monitoring data. We expect the student will spend some time based at the smelter, about 300km north of Adelaide.

Support for the overall project is being provided by the industry partners but the PhD student will need to apply for a scholarship to cover tuition fees and living expenses. Although Dr Styan is an academic at University College London, he is also an adjunct at UniSA and the broader research team who will be on the supervisory panel are based at UniSA. Consequently, the most obvious option is for the student to apply for a PhD scholarship to enrol at UniSA (see UniSA scholarships web page or our ‘Working with us‘ page).

More information can be found in this project overview (Port Pirie Sediment Remediation PhD Project Outline) or by contacting Craig via email.