Gloire Aganze Baciyunjuze (PhD Student)

Research Interests

My interests are broad and straddle land-based mining and deep-sea mining. I also have considerable technical experience in Au/Sn exploration and extraction, as well the harvesting of manganese nodules found in the Clarion Clipperton Zone in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the west coast of Mexico).

More specifically, I look at:

  • Trace metal geochemistry of deep-sea sediments
  • Heavy metal distribution and bioavailability into the water column and within the sediments.
  • Toxicity risk of metal exposure/co-exposure to microbial communities.

Project and Background

I am currently working on deep-sea mining where I am particularly looking at the biogeochemical impacts of manganese nodule mining: pre-syn-, and post collector trials.

This research has been motivated by the fact that the ore grades of land-based mines are decreasing, the global population is growing, and at the same time, there is a growth in global consumption and rapid development of metal-dependent technologies (including green energy technologies) that are driving up future market forecasts. Growing up as a child laborer, I have witnessed unsafe and slavery-like conditions people are forced to work under in the mineral mines of the Congo.

Although no form of commercial deep-sea mining has taken place so far, it is anticipated mining the seafloor will have a variety of potential impacts on microbial and animal communities in the pelagic zone and on the seafloor. These include the release of potentially toxic compounds in the water column by the Discharge and Collector plumes which will travel across the seabed and spread several kilometers away from the mining site. Moreover, where the seafloor is being mined, surface sediments will undergo compaction due to the weight of collector vehicles, which will squeeze the pore water out of sediments reducing the pore space and changing the structure of sediments through the exchange reactions of metal ions between sediment layers. Therefore, no commercial mining will take place until we fully comprehend how these minerals can be extracted with the least harm possible to reach a sustainable outcome.

It is intended that this study will help more particularly policy formulators (International Seabed Authority) and different contractors in their efforts to assess the environmental impacts of seabed mining, to adapt technologies to minimize potential environmental harm and develop exploitation regulations.

The research is being conducted within the framework of the MiningImpact2 project, whose major goal is to develop a comprehensive monitoring program of the Pre-prototype nodule collector system Patania II in the German (BGR) and the Belgian (GSR) contract areas located in the CCZ.

Preliminary data were collected by MI work groups during IP21 Cruise onboard the ISLAND PRIDE in 2021. Centrifuged sediments samples, filter samples, and sediments core are currently being worked on. The lab based-side includes full digestion and elementals composition using ICP-OES and ICP-MS. Diffusion experiments and microbial investigations will follow.

An upcoming cruise (SO295) is scheduled for the end of this year (2022) for post-trial data collection in the German and a Belgian contract area. 

I first ushered in my Deep-sea mining research experience during the NORI-D-6A cruise in 2019 as a trainee, under the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and Metal company (former DeepGreen fellowship in both Lyndsey Harris’s biological lab and Warwick Miller’s geological lab, onboard the Maersk Launcher research vessel. During the cruise I learned how to perform box coring and gravity coring operations, including but not limited to removal of nodule layers, nodule description, Box cone Geotech tests, water, sediment samples and fauna sampling, etc. As I became more animated with seabed mining, this experience has proven to be a remarkable add-on point in my career, allowing me to foster my understanding of mineral exploration in different types of environments for the benefit of mankind as a whole. 

Prior to starting my PhD, I carried out geological surveys, thin section microscopy, assessment of environmental hazards, and other research which aimed to overcome a wide range of hypotheses and controversial discussions between scientists on the Itombwe Synclinorium (in DR Congo) and the diversity of exploitable mineral resources in Tshondo and Bugoy deposits, while teaching undergraduate students in different universities across Congo and Nairobi.  I also have a lot of industry experience. I have worked as an exploration and mine geologist with different companies such as Banro Corporation, SMB Mining, etc.

Ongoing projects

  1. Biogeochemical impacts of manganese nodule mining: pre-syn-, and post collector trials (2021-2023)
  2. Geological, Geophysical, and Geotechnical investigations of the subsurface conditions for Engineering purposes. A comparative study between Bukavu (DRC) and Nairobi (Kenya). (Jan 2019- June 2022)

Publications and reports 

  • Aganze, B.G., Masirika, M.L., Ganza, B.G., and Wazi, N.R. (under review): Petrographic, Kinematic, and Geomorphological Analyses of the Itombwe Synclinorium Formations Exposed at Tshondo and Bugoy (South-Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo). Springer, International Journal of Earth Sciences.
  • Aganze, B.G., Waswa, A.K., and Olaka, A. L. (under review): Slope Stability Analysis in the Neoproterozoic Terrains of South-Kivu Using Tectostructural and Geotechnical Parameters. Springer, Environmental Earth Sciences.
  • Aganze, B.G., Aksanti, K.O., Ntalemwa, B. W. (2018) : Etude des formations géologiques de la carrière de Muganzo (Katana), Bukavu, R.D. Congo Geo-Eco-Trop., Rapport, 41, 2, n.s:171-187.
  • Aganze, B.G., Akilimali, M.S, Agisshe M.N., and Byoshi, M. (2015): Geology of Twangiza. Mining exploration reports, Banro Corp, 15(2):250-255.
  • Aganze, B.G. (2013). Summary of seismic and geomorphological activities in South-Kivu, Université Officielle de Bukavu, Report, 13(1):48.

Conferences Presentations

  • Aganze, B.G., Nakhale, S.M. Geology, geochemistry and geochronology of Neoproterozoic Au/Sn Mineralization: A comparative studies between Rwanda and DR. Congo. Implications for future Exploration Targeting; Mining conference 2021, Kigali, Rwanda.
  • Aganze, B.G., Identification of Mass Movements Using the CTBTO IMS Data: Seismo-Acoustic Technology; CTBTO Science and Technology Conference-SnT 2019, Austria, Vienna. 
  • Aganze, B.G., Nachishali, N.J. Current implications of Climate and Paleoclimate on Natural Hazards in South-Kivu: Challenges and Perspectives; Day of Earth Sciences in Africa and Middle East-DESAME 2016, BEGE-DRC, Bukavu, D.R Congo- Marrakech, Morocco.
  • Aganze, B.G. Environmental impacts of Artisanal Small-scale Mining (ASM) in South-Kivu: Assessment and mitigation; Day of Earth Sciences in Africa and Middle East-DESAME 2015, BEGE-DRC, Bukavu, D.R Congo.