PhD Position: Cycling of elements in flooded abandoned ore mines in Quebec (Canada)

Research project on the structural and hydrothermal evolution of gold mineralization at the Casa Berardi mine, Abitibi, Québec

Fully-funded PhD position in hydrogeochemistry at UQAM (Québec, Montréal)

Project description

In the province of Quebec (Canada), many ore mines have been exploited to extract minerals. After exploitation the mines are abandoned and become flooded with groundwater. These heavily disturbed subsurface habitats host a whole new microbial community, which will colonize these abandoned and isolated sites, adapt and evolve. In such closed environments, organisms can only rely on recycling elements already present and have to locally adjust to elevated concentrations of heavy metals and organic contaminants (e.g., fuel leaking from the tank of abandoned machinery).

The goal of this PhD project is to understand the cycling of elements and biogeochemical processes occurring in abandoned ore mine ecosystems in relation to depth and the presence of contaminants.

This thesis will rely on concentration measurements and multi-element isotopic approaches such as compound-specific isotope analysis of organic and inorganic compounds. The project includes analytical method development, laboratory and field work. The chosen candidate will work in close collaboration with two other PhD students and with a team of professional divers.

The PhD position is based at UQAM under the supervision of Prof. V. Ponsin (Earth Sciences Department, and co-supervision of Prof. C. Lazar (Biology Department, The PhD candidate will be a member of the research centre Geotop ( which provides a highly comprehensive and dynamic work environment by offering many possibilities to access funding, equipment and methods, courses and seminars on Earth's dynamics.


  • Establishing and leading sampling protocols,
  • Planning dives in close collaboration with divers,
  • Analytical method development, if needed,
  • Sample analysis,
  • Data analysis and presentation and publication of the scientific results.


  • MSc in environmental chemistry, environmental sciences, hydrology, earth sciences or a closely related field,
  • Enthusiastic and committed candidates who enjoy working as part of a larger team,
  • Experience in hydrochemistry, field-based and lab-based studies. A working knowledge of stable isotope analysis and principles is an additional asset,
  • Very good English writing and communication skills with partners of an interdisciplinary team,
  • A valid driver's license is required,
  • French is an asset but not essential.

Start date: As soon as possible
Fixed term: 4 years
Salary: 21,000 CAD/year for 4 years. For international students, the international differential charges part of the tuition are waived.
Place of work: Montréal, Québec, Canada

Applications should include a concise statement describing the motivation to work on this research project, copies of your academic qualifications (including academic transcripts) and names of two referees. The application should be submitted as one single pdf file to

Deadline for the application is set to May 13, 2022.

Applications from under-represented groups, including women, minorities, and Indigenous people, are strongly encouraged.

posted: 12 April 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.