MIRARCO, Mining Innovation, a research arm of Laurentian University, recently sent a research team to Peru to initiate the first phase of a new collaboration with Universidad Nacional de Moquegua (UNAM) and CORE Foundation. The project aims to better understand the mining and other anthropogenic impacts in the Coralaque River watershed and work to develop treatment solutions and a remediation plan to improve the water quality throughout the watershed. In spite of pandemic-related challenges, it was imperative that the project got underway in order to help the local Peruvian communities that have been living in a state of emergency due to concerns about water quality in the area.
The research team that travelled to Peru included MIRARCO’s President and CEO, Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk, Laurentian University emeritus professor, Dr. Charles Ramcharan, and MSc. student Lianne Girard. The team successfully completed the initial investigation phase that included challenging fieldwork, working throughout the entire watershed of the Coralaque river, from the high altitude mine areas (4800 meters above sea level) to the lowlands where the Tambo River reaches the Pacific ocean. A total of 17 sites were sampled overcoming treacherous roads and rapidly shifting weather conditions, from rain and snow to very dry conditions. Some members of the team will remain in Peru for another week to prepare all of the samples for further analyses. Other project researchers include Dr. Graeme Spiers and Dr. Peter Beckett who will be leading different phases of this operation.
New collaboration opportunities with several Peruvian universities were first initiated by Laurentian University’s Goodman School of Mines in 2019. This project, which is led by MIRARCO and UNAM, is the first of several collaborative efforts both Laurentian University and MIRARCO will be participating in. The successful commencement of this venture would not have been possible if not for the support of UNAM faculty and staff, Core Foundation, and several regional environmental research groups. Endeavors such as this one require support not only from partner universities but also regional and national entities in Peru. During their time in Peru, Dr. Mykytczuk and the team met with the governor of Moquegua to share information, request additional support, and build partnerships across sectors.