About The Author

Olivier Pourret received his PhD in Earth Sciences in 2006 from Université de Rennes 1 (France). He is now an associate professor of geochemistry at UniLaSalle, Beauvais (France) and co-head of the research group AGHYLE (Agroecology and Hydrogeochemistry). In 2013, Olivier Pourret received his Habilitation in Earth Sciences from Université Picardie Jules Verne (France). He is a Fellow member of the Society of Economic Geologists and member of the Geochemical Society, European Association of Geochemistry, American Geophysical Union and American Chemical Society. His research interests include trace metal fractionation and particularly critical elements (rare earth elements, cobalt, vanadium) in low-temperature aqueous systems, a better understanding of trace metal cycles in natural waters, and an improved knowledge of trace metals mobility from rock to soils and vegetation in the critical zone.

Acid Mine Drainage: A Huge Problem Around Abandoned Mines

Acid mine drainage (AMD) is an acidic mineral solution that flows out of a mine. The phenomenon in question is spontaneous and involves metal sulfides (type “M” Sx) with no economic value in mining. Indeed, during mining work (excavations and pumping), the chemical balance of these outcrops and deep deposits are disturbed by sudden changes

Rare Earth Elements From Manganese Oxide-Rich Sediments: Some New Evidence Of Extraction And Separation

As I wrote in one of my previous articles, the industry is becoming more and more demanding of many metals. The perceived supply risk for essential raw materials used in the growth of green energy and other state-of-the-art technologies provides the motivation for investigating new sources of these raw materials. Many are considered critical, given

Vanadium In Shallow Groundwaters: A Potentially Dangerous Pollutant?

Among the critical elements (Figure 1), vanadium (V) has been proposed to be a potentially dangerous pollutant, especially in the critical zone. The United States Environmental Protection Agency categorizes V in the priority list of environmental risk elements. Fixing the environmental concern of V can be controlled through an incomplete understanding of V biogeochemistry relative

The Mobility Of Copper And Cobalt In Metalliferous Ecosystems 

As I explained in my previous article on the environmental impact of the increasing demand for cobalt (Co), mineral resources have been exploited in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for thousands of years. Such exploitation results in abandoned metalliferous mine wastes with high concentrations of metals. It also results in the contamination of surrounding ecosystems. To

What Is The Answer To The Universe, Life, And Everything Else?

“The Answer to the Great Question… Of Life, the Universe and Everything… Is… Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm… “I checked it very thoroughly,” said the computer, “and that quite definitely is the answer.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy A question that you may ask yourself, and you may have

When Rock Meets Life

It all started in 2005 during a trip to the United States, where I went to a famous conference in geochemistry (Goldschmidt Conference, Moscow, Idaho). The following weeks I crossed the Rocky Mountains and visited many national parks, including Yellowstone Park. Of the many geological, geothermal, and volcanic curiosities in Yellowstone National Park, and outside

From Coal, A New Source Of Rare Earth Elements — But Also A New Identified Risk To The Population! 

Rare earth elements (REE) have become a highly valuable commodity due to their increased use in emerging technological applications. The future exploitation of areas with high REE content will play a strategic geopolitical role around the world, as shown in a previous article. The progressing activity in opening new mining areas will contribute to increased

Does Acid Mine Drainage From Coal Mining Contaminate Fertile Soils And Crops?

In several countries like China or Vietnam, open-pit coal mining is one of the major causes of pollution (freshwater, soil, or air). Indeed, overburden and acid mine drainage from coal mining contaminate soils and produce pollution and, thus, unproductive wastelands. Open-pit coal mining involves ore excavation, which releases large quantities of spoil. Subsequent pollution with

Will Increasing Demand For Cobalt Impact The Environment?

Consumption of many raw materials has steadily increased since World War II, and demand is expected to continue to grow in response to the burgeoning global population and economic growth, especially in emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China. We are also using a greater variety of metals than ever before. New technologies, such as those

New Rare Earth Elements Found In Amazon Estuary?

Nowadays, the industry is more and more demanding of many metals. Among these many metals are rare earth elements, and some of these elements (e.g., neodymium, Nd) are used in particular to produce powerful permanent magnets that are used in wind turbines, electric motors, etc. (Figure 1). Others, such as europium, are used as luminophores.