Lesley 150x150

Lesley Warren
Director Lassonde Institute of Mining
University of Toronto

What can we expect to learn from your contribution at Water in Mining 2020?
I’ll be sharing how what may seem unlikely research areas (ie metagenomics, biogeochemical modeling) is pivotal in unlocking new innovative tools for smarter water stewardship for current and legacy issues as well as for closure planning.

What do you see as the impending challenges for water and environmental professionals in the mining industry?
Growing tailings and wastewater issues – growing risk and liabilities associated with uncertainties in water management, treatment and closure scenarios. Knowledge gaps of underlying causes and root problems resulting in a lack of tools enabling adaptive, smart management – current reliance on static, heavily chemical and energy intensive approaches that are commonly not 100% effective and are reactive rather than proactive unsustainable requirements for water given globally increasing demands on available water supplies (global demand for water is increasing; by 2030 the demand is expected to be 40% higher than current supply). Climate change driven changes in water quantity and delivery creating uncertainty in water management and decreasing performance. Social license and shareholder and public acceptance of mining projects is directly linked to environmental and water management – the industry needs to get in front of these issues by showing leadership and commitment to improving on past performance.

Which industry innovations are you most excited about at the moment?
Culture shift in realizing that step change is required to drive resiliency for the industry as they come up against grand challenges of water-tailings, energy and social license-governance, requires collaborative approaches and broader engagement across life cycle conversation and connection within companies to improve value proposition and decrease waste for overall performance.

Why would you recommend the event to colleagues? Why do you think it’s an important meeting?
There will be a wide range of participants within the mining and supporting industries – this enables thoughtful conversations about: (1) what are the pinch points in short term and long term horizons; (2) how to drive creation and development of innovative solutions that enable the step change required for the industry to improve adapatibility and resiliency; (3) how to build the right teams (across industry, suppliers, universities, NGOs) that can drive effective solution generation; it also enables connections and opportunities to build networks and expand ideas of industry’s challenges, needs and interests.