Areas of Expertise
Nadja Kunz is Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Mine Water Management and Stewardship (NSERC, Tier 2), jointly appointed across the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA) and the Norman B Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering (NBK) at the University of British Columbia. The overarching goal of Nadja’s research program at UBC is to quantify and mitigate the risks associated with the mining sector’s use of water from the perspective of diverse actors including companies, investors, governments, Indigenous rights-holders and communities. Nadja adopts an interdisciplinary toolkit, ranging from the development of engineering and geospatial models to anticipate potential water-related risks, to qualitative field and interview research to identify the constraints and opportunities for transitioning the mining sector towards more sustainable water and waste management practices. Currently, she also leads the Water Stewardship Theme within UBC’s Bradshaw Research Initiative on Mining and Minerals (BRIMM), which convenes 16 faculty members and senior researchers from across 8 departments at UBC to resolve water challenges as they relate to the mining and extractives sector.
She obtained her PhD from the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) at The University of Queensland, Australia where she remains an Adjunct Fellow. She also spent two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Eawag Aquatic Research Institute in Switzerland. Nadja has a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor of Business Management (Dean’s Honour Roll), both from the University of Queensland.
Her current research focuses on the mining and extractives sector at two geographical scales of analysis: (1) within the mine lease, and (2) within mining regions. At the mine site level, Nadja develops novel engineering models to improve quantification of water risk, and investigates organizational constraints to implementing optimal system-level solutions. At the regional level, Nadja studies the evolving role of the mining sector in water stewardship and governance. She is especially interested in how mining can best contribute towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG6 which focuses on the provision of water and sanitation.
In addition to her academic credentials, Nadja maintains close links to practice. Prior to joining UBC, she consulted as a Water Specialist for the International Finance Corporation where she has provided technical expertise to a Voluntary Code of Practice on Water Management for the South Gobi Region in Mongolia. Currently, she is supporting the development of online educational material for IFC’s Disclosure to Development program. Since 2021, Nadja is a board member of Genome British Columbia, and she was previously Chair and UBC Representative of the Academic Advisory Board for the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI) (2017-19). In her early career, Nadja gained extensive operational experience in the mining, oil and gas sector within Australia, including at the Northparkes copper/gold mine, Yarwun Alumina Refinery and BP’s Bulwer Island refinery. She has also worked in corporate sustainability reporting for Rio Tinto and consulted for Anglo Gold Ashanti in South Africa.
In her spare time, Nadja is an avid outdoor enthusiast and particularly enjoys rock-climbing, mountaineering and skiing.
Campero, C., Harris, L.M., Kunz, N.C., (2021), De-politicizing seawater desalination: Environmental Impact Assessments in the Atacama mining Region, Chile, Environmental Science & Policy, vol.120, p.187-194. Available at: De-politicising seawater desalination: Environmental Impact Assessments in the Atacama mining Region, Chile
Fraser, J., Bat-Erdene, Z., Kunz, N.C. (2020). Social license needs business strategy, The Extractive Industries and Society. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2214790X20302756
Innis, S. and Kunz, N.C. (2020). The role of institutional mining investors in driving responsible tailings management, The Extractive Industries and Society, vol. 7, issue 4. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2214790X20302823
Kunz, N.C. (2020). Towards a broadened view of water security in mining regions. Water Security, vol 11. Available at: Towards a broadened view of water security in mining regions
Froese, S., Kunz, N.C., and M.V. Ramana (2020). Too Small to be Viable? The Potential Market for Small Modular Reactors in Mining and Remote Communities in Canada, Energy Policy, vol. 144. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111587
Dunbar, S.W., Fraser, J., Reynolds, A., Kunz, N.C. (2020), Mining needs new business models, The Extractive Industries and Society, vol 7, issue 2. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2019.07.007
Fraser, J., Kunz, N.C., and Batdorj, B. (2019), Can mineral exploration projects create and share value with communities? A case study from Mongolia, Resources Policy, vol. 63. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resourpol.2019.101455
Boldbaatar, D., Kunz, N.C., Werker, E. (2019) Improved resource governance through transparency: Evidence from Mongolia, The Extractive Industries and Society, vol. 6, issue 10. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2018.12.007
Pareja, C., Honey-Rosés, J., Kunz, N.C., Xavier, A., Fraser, J. (2018) What Participation? Distinguishing Water Monitoring Programs in Mining Regions Based on Community Participation, Water, vol.10, issue 10. Available at https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/10/10/1325.
Fraser, J.; Kunz, N.C. (2018) Water Stewardship: Attributes of Collaborative Partnerships between Mining Companies and Communities. Water, vol.10, issue 8. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/10/8/1081
Jiang, D.J., Fischer, M., Huang, Z., Kunz, N.C. (2018) Identifying drivers of China’s provincial wastewater reuse outcomes using Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The Journal of Industrial Ecology, vol. 22, issue 2, pp.369-376. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jiec.12584
Kunz, N.C., Kastelle, T., Moran C.J. (2017) Social network analysis reveals that communication gaps may prevent effective water management in the mining sector. The Journal of Cleaner Production, vol 148, p. 915-922. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095965261730197X
Kunz, N. C. (2016) Catchment-based water management in the mining industry: Challenges and solutions. The Extractive Industries and Society, vol 3, issue 4, p.972–977. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214790X16301927
Kunz, N.C., Fischer, M., Ingold, K., Hering, J. (2016) Drivers for and against municipal wastewater recycling: A review. Water Science and Technology, vol 73, issue 2, p.251-259. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26819379
Kunz, N.C. and Moran C.J. (2016) The utility of a systems approach for managing strategic water risks at a mine site level. Water Resources and Industry, vol. 13, p.1-6. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212371716300014
Kunz, N.C., Fischer, M., Ingold, K., Hering, J. (2015) Why do some water utilities recycle more than others? A Qualitative Comparative Analysis in New South Wales, Australia. Environmental Science and Technology. Available at: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b01827?journalCode=esthag
Moran, C.J., Lodhia, S., N.C. Kunz, and Huisingh, D. (2014) The sustainability agenda of the minerals and energy supply and demand network: an integrative analysis of ecological, ethical, economic, and technological dimensions: An Introduction. Journal of Cleaner Production, vol 84. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.09.038
Moran, C.J. and Kunz, N.C. (2014) Sustainability as it pertains to resources sector supply and demand for minerals and energy: A new interpretative perspective for assessing progress. Journal of Cleaner Production, vol 84. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.09.008
N.C. Kunz and Moran C.J. (2014) Sharing the benefits from water as a new approach to regional water targets for mining companies, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol 84. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.02.053
Kunz, N. C., Moran, C. J., Kastelle, T. (2013) Conceptualising “coupling” for sustainability implementation in the industrial sector: A review of the field and projection of future research opportunities, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol 53. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.03.040
Kunz, N. C., Moran, C. J., Kastelle, T. (2013) Implementing an integrated approach to water management by matching problem complexity with management responses: a case study of a mine site water committee, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol 52. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.03.018
Steen, J., Macaulay, S., Kunz, N., and Jackson, J. (2018) Understanding the innovation ecosystem in mining and what digital revolution means for it. In: Extracting Innovations: Mining, Energy, and Technological Change in the Digital Age. Edited By Martin J. Clifford, Robert K. Perrons, Saleem H. Ali, Tim A. Grice. CRC Press. Available at: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781351582643/chapters/10.1201%2Fb22353-9