Peter A Allard School of Law

Joint graduate course "Heavy Metal" wins Killam Connection competition

Jun 6, 2022

A collaborative graduate course has received $25,000 to support invited speakers, public events and public scholarship related to the future of mining in a low-carbon economy.  

The Office of the Dean and Vice-Provost of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is pleased to announce the latest winner of the Killam Connection competition.

“Heavy Metal” is a new collaborative course, jointly sponsored by the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, the Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences, Peter A. Allard School of Law, and the Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering.

The interdisciplinary course will examine the role of mining and mineral resources in the transition towards clean, renewable energy systems – and has received funding from the Killam Connection program, an initiative through UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies The course was selected from among 21 proposals for an innovative and interdisciplinary graduate course in the 2021-22 competition.

The faculty members behind the course, Dr. Nadja Kunz, Dr. Carol Liao, Dr. Allison Macfarlane, Dr. Philippe Tortell, and Dr. Scott Dunbar, will be given $25,000 to help with all aspects of the course including invited speakers, public events, and public scholarship outputs by graduate students. 

“Heavy Metal” will examine the transition to green technologies and renewable energy systems through the lens of mineral resources and mining. Topics will include the global supply/demand forecast for mineral resources, social and environmental impacts across the mining life cycle (from mineral exploration to mine closure), metals recycling and recovery, and legal and policy frameworks for mineral governance both internationally and in Canada, with a particular focus on Indigenous sovereignty issues. Students will also learn about options for responsible sourcing and community-led mining.

Through exposure to these topics and collaborative group projects, students will gain a deeper understanding of the factors shaping and constraining progress towards socially and environmentally responsible mineral resource use and production systems. Students will also be exposed to diverse viewpoints through guest lectures and collaborative teamwork.

Public scholarship will be a key component, providing students with opportunities to learn how to communicate effectively through op-eds and policy briefs.

    About the Killam Connection program

    Every year, the Killam Connection program provides up to $25,000 to enable UBC faculty to host an innovative and interdisciplinary research forum and graduate course focused around a theme of general interest and public importance, and including a series of invited scholars. The purpose of this grant is to provide an opportunity for faculty and graduate students to engage with leading scholars on matters of importance, and for students to gain experience developing and possibly implementing scholarly projects oriented to a public impact.

    Learn more about previous Killam Connection recipients and their work on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

    Course Information for UBC Students

    Graduate students can register for “Heavy Metal” using the course codes below, and can look forward to public programming, events and speakers addressing the social and environmental impacts of mining.


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