Prof. Colgan interviewed by CBC on global warming, mining and toxic threats
Lassonde Professor William Colgan was interviewed on Radio Canada International regarding his research on glaciers and global warming. He recently completed a study on the glacier in the region of the Kumtor Mine in Kyrgyzstan. This mine is owned and operated by Canada’s Centerra Gold.
Due to global warming, the melting ice from the glacier is forming a large glacial lake, filled with toxic materials from the mine. The concern is that with warming, the glaciers high in the mountains are melting quickly, not only causing continuing concern at the site of the mine but also creating a natural lake that has formed above the mine.
“Global warming is a double-edged sword. The retreat of glaciers is exposing new deposits and climate change is making the conditions in Arctic regions more hospitable. In that way, it’s helping foster this type of mining. But on the flip side climate change is making the geotechnical aspects of dealing with ice more difficult because it’s making a lot more meltwater and this extra water can make glaciers flow and slide faster,” said William Colgan in an interview with CBC.
Professor Colgan studied the Greenland ice sheet extensively and has noted that it is currently losing on average several thousand tonnes of ice per second (melting and calving), or anywhere from 150 to as high as 250 gigatons per year.
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Listen to the full interview with William Colgan.