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PhD Project: Predicting and navigating future discord between gold mining and other livelihoods in Guyana's rainforest
Global demand for precious metals is increasingly driving rates of resource extraction and land-use change, threatening sustainable development. Among the most prized metals, gold has risen in value by 360% over the past decade. Non-industrial artisanal small-scale gold mining is now expanding rapidly in many developing nations, most commonly in areas where local communities rely on the intact ecosystems for their livelihood, such as in the highly biodiverse Guyanese rainforests.
As Guyana’s government seeks to transition the country into a ‘green economy’ based on sustainable development over the next 15 years, increasing deforestation and mercury pollution from gold mining are becoming a national concern. Will’s PhD project is a partnership between the DICE research centre and Conservation International Guyana (CIG).
The co-developed research will feed directly into CIG’s work on mining. As such, the project has high impact potential as Guyana needs to benefit from its mineral wealth, but faces huge obstacles to do so. A key element of Will's work includes identifying areas of potential future mining-related activities and conflicts.
Will Hayes is a member of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology.
Global Challenges Doctoral Centre (GCDC) at University of Kent