Postdoc in water and climate risk mitigation for the mining sector


Mining companies and their investors face a range of business risks stemming from water issues, while mining projects can pose risks on water systems in ways that affect surrounding communities and the environment. This research develops new tools and frameworks to improve water management and ultimately reduce water-related risks from the perspective of mining companies. The work will include the advancement of water risk assessment tools for the mining sector, development of new approaches for water balance and climate modelling, and an examination of response options for mitigating local-level water risks. At two case study sites, alternative response options will be analyzed through a unique combination of multi-criteria decision analysis and hydro-economic analysis. The work will also investigate approaches for improving the resilience of mine water systems to future climate variability.

The three-year research project is being completed through the Mitacs Accelerate program in partnership with a major global mining company. The project is led and supervised by Dr. Nadja Kunz (Assistant Professor; Canada Research Chair in Mine Water Management and Stewardship) and Dr. John Steen (Associate Professor) from The University of British Columbia. The project also involves two PhD students and one MASc student.


We are currently recruiting a Postdoctoral fellow (yearly appointments, renewable for up to 2.5 years in total) who will be responsible for the following tasks:

  1. Literature review to investigate how climate resilience has been defined and conceptualized in other sectors outside of mining (e.g. hydropower, nuclear, urban water);
  2. Assess the vulnerability of Vale’s Canadian operations to future climate extremes;
  3. Refine water-balance models for two case study sites, in collaboration with a graduate student
  4. Assess the local level vulnerability of these two case study sites to climate variability;
  5. Investigate opportunities and practical strategies for improving water system design to enhance climate resilience;
  6. Support graduate students in research relating to Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and Hydro-economic analysis;
  7. Provide mentorship and guidance to graduate students working on the project;
  8. Support project management with the industry partner; and
  9. Undertake field-work to the case study operations as required.



The ideal candidate will have skills /experience/interests in some of the following:

  • Quantitative modelling skills and data analytics;
  • Experience with field-based research and data collection;
  • Excellent written/oral communication skills, and research and organizational skills;
  • Demonstrated ability, or an interest in building, skills in student supervision and management;
  • Ability to work well independently and in a collegial team environment;
  • Experience with water balance software such as Goldsim and/or climate change models is a particular advantage;
  • Previous experience with the mining/resource extraction sector is an advantage, but not required.

If you are interested to apply, please email the following files by May 10th, 2021 to Alice Guimaraes at 

  • Cover letter outlining your interests in and fit for the role, as well as your desired start date.

  • CV

Reference Number

Please mention reference number GPS-55065 in all your correspondence about this Postdoctoral Fellow position.

This position will be supervised by

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