Richard Chalkley

You can call me Richie! I was born in Germany, but raised primarily in Germany, the UK and the United States. After completing my BSc in Environmental Science at University of York and East Anglia, I decided to take up an MSc at the University of Manchester, undergoing a thesis studying macroalgae and mine waste interactions. I saw an opportunity down in Cornwall, and took it up immediately, as Cornwall is a fantastic area to live and study, especially when you have the opportunity to work with some of the best in the field at Camborne School of Mines.

My research interests is to see how many subsets of science I can use to decipher complex scientific problems. I believe that complex problems often need a multidisciplinary approach, and my problem I am trying to solve requires chemistry, biology, remote sensing, physics, social sciences, climate science, and a lot more. But my primary focus is using satellites to monitor waste that’s being emitted by mines. How much is being emitted? In what form? Can we use modern technology to help solve this (i.e. drones, satellites and new ground truthing technologies).

The best thing about living in Cornwall is the outstanding beauty, friendly people whom reside here, and of course the amazing beaches. It might be somewhat remote, but there’s never a boring moment here as there’s many adventures to be had! And of course, lots of mines with unusual but fascinating environments to be explored right at your doorstep.

Favourite mineral(s)? I think it has to be ferric oxyhydroxide. Though a mineral group, it’s main function when in the solid phase reminds me a lot of bitcoin and its offspring coins, known as ‘altcoins’. Whatever bitcoin does, the altcoins follow. The same can be said with ferric oxyhydroxide and metals from the mine waste, as when precipitated from mine waste it can act as a conveyor belt, or a storage unit for other metals. Metals that are being poured out of mines can attach to these minerals, replacing their hydroxyl group (-OH) within the formula, and are either transported along the river and deposited elsewhere, or they are deposited on the bottom of rivers and estuary’s and become stratified, either to be stored long term or reactivated due to mechanical movement or heavy rainfall (leading to pH change, sulphate concentration etc).


More Info and contact details below:


Richie Chalkley

Leave a Reply