PhD position in Mining Engineering - IV-248/21

Updated: 11 days ago
Deadline: 01 Jan 2022

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About the position

We are looking for a PhD candidate in mining method selection for Deep Sea Mining operations. The appointment has a duration of three years with the possibility of one additional year of compulsory work (a decision of 3 or 4 years is made in connection with the recommendation and offer, after assessment of whether compulsory work is suitable for the relevant candidate). The appointment is financed by NTNU through its call for interdisciplinary research collaboration in sustainability.

The position is embedded into the Mineral production group at Department of Geoscience and Petroleum (IGP), NTNU Campus Trondheim and attached to an interdisciplinary research project: TripleDeep – The Deep Dilemmas: Deep Sea Mining for the new Deep Transition.

The Mineral Production and HSE Research Group at IGP covers the whole mining value chain from resource geology and exploration to final products. It contributes to research and higher education within NTNUs Strategic Focus Area on the ocean.

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree. The position is connected to the PhD program at the Faculty of Engineering Science.

The candidate will be supervised by project leader associate professor Steinar Ellefmo.



Project description

The deep ocean floor contains vast deposits of minerals that are necessary in renewable energy technologies. These minerals are expected to be in high demand due to the de-carbonization of the global economy and the transition to a net-zero economy. But while the “blue minerals” may hold the key to a greener future, mining the deep seas raises many questions and dilemmas. Can the minerals be mined without causing massive and irreparable harm to the unique ecology of the deep oceans? Who will be allowed to exploit these minerals, and on what conditions? How can conflicts over rich deposits be avoided? What rules and incentives are needed to attract responsible investors that can pay for the development of the necessary technology? Is it worthwhile to destroy unique and largely unknown habitats in the deep seas in order to address the climate crisis?

The primary objective of the TripleDeep project is to investigate whether Deep Sea Mining can provide a new source of critically important minerals in a sustainable manner. To do so we must address significant knowledge gaps about the political, economic, technological and ecological dimensions of deep sea mining, and particularly how they interact with each other. The TripleDeep project group consist of an inter-disciplinary team, bringing together historians, marine biologists, economists and engineers.

The PhD position Deep Sea Mining Method Selection in the presence of Ecosystem Uncertainty will on the dilemma of whether to produce or preserve and how a deposit with certain geological and ecological characteristics and properties could be mined to minimize the environmental impact. The aim is to develop a multidimensional framework for mining methods selection.

You will report to Head of Department.

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