Charles Ramcharan

Associate Professor, School of the Environment

Laurentian University, Owner and CEO, Tunik Inc.

Why a career in mining?

I was born in Trinidad & Tobago, but grew up in Toronto, where I did all three of my postgraduate degrees at the University of Toronto (UofT). My research wasn’t about mining, but many of my mentors at UofT and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment were Ecologists who were deeply involved with studies of acid rain, metal contamination, long-range transport, and other consequences of industrial damage from mining. I didn’t join that effort until I was hired by Laurentian University in 2003 and I’m very glad I did! It’s fascinating to see how ecosystem functions were disrupted in different ways by industrial damage, but it’s also very heartening to know that those tragic times are largely gone, at least here in Sudbury.

Why do I love my job?

I get to help fix mining. There is absolutely no reason why the price for mining for metals has to include an ecologically blighted landscape. With good pre-mining data, careful contingency planning, and an adaptive approach to environmental management, companies can serve their corporate needs without major lasting damage, and with support from their local communities. Social licence to operate involves many aspects of building trust, but the most visible is avoiding environmental damage. I’m excited to now see the ideas, approaches, and concepts developed in Sudbury to fix environmental problems are now being packaged as solutions that can be exported to jurisdictions around the world that have similar problems.

Benefits to a career in mining:

Creating a green and sustainable future relies heavily on mined metals. Whether it’s building a new electrical grid, creating a more equitable water distribution system, or embedding smart technologies for improving efficiency, we will need more base and other precious metals. The opportunities run from science to social science, from entrepreneurship to accounting, and from engineering to law. Just as promising as creating a new mining model here in Canada, is the opportunity to nurture the same responsible mining model in other countries.