Funded PhD Opportunity: Remote sensing of mine areas and their expansion over time exploring geographical constraints to critical metal supplies

The modern world is becoming increasingly dependent on the supply of finite metal resources that are used in
electronic devices, electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies. These metals are also strategically
important for the Australian and global economies. But they must be mined from somewhere, and at some cost. For
some metals like cadmium, selenium and tellurium that are targeted in this project, we know little about the
geographical factors that may be affecting their supply, and hence the successful candidate will explore:

(1) The mapping of metal mine areas in satellite imagery to understand what areal footprint is likely to emerge this
century, and

(2) Modelling growth in mine areas in future and understanding how the future frontier of mining will be affected by
surrounding human and environmental factors.

This multidisciplinary PhD project will assess how the future need for metals can be balanced with the needs of the
many populations and environments affected by mining.

We would encourage students with a first class Honours or Masters research degree or equivalent in remote sensing
and data science to apply. Skills or experience in GIS and spatial coding applications such as Google Earth Engine will
be highly valued. It would also be advantageous to have a background or interest in industrial ecology,
environmental modelling, sustainable mining, environmental geography. The applicant will receive a full stipend
(living allowance) of $32,400 per year (increased annually). All costs of the PhD project are covered by funds from a
DECRA Project (this includes funding to support international conference presentations and collaborations). The PhD
will be supervised by Dr. Tim Werner and Prof. David Phillips. To express interest please send a cover letter, CV and academic transcript to or contact for more information. Applications will be assessed on an ongoing basis.

  • The University of Melbourne
  • School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • PhD and Postdoc Positions
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