Ottone Scammacca is a geographer and soil scientist working at the GeoRessources Laboratory, Université de Lorraine. He is currently completing his thesis on the development of a methodology for the assessment of gold mining risks at the territory level for land planning-purposes. His research interests concern as well soil ecosystem services, soil contamination, land reclamation and land-planning. He has been a researcher at the French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE) in soil science and cartography, developing a spatially explicit indicator approach for quantifying soil ecosystem services to support urban planning. He was educated in soil science at the AgroParisTech and in geography at the Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne where he studied the socio-environmental impacts of nickel mining in New Caledonia. He also has a degree in law and juridical sciences from Università Degli Studi Roma Tre (Italy).
Mining is the source and target of various positive and negative risks, that generally exceed the mine-site perimeter, and might impact the socio-ecological system where mining is performed. However current mandatory risk and impact assessment methodologies are often project-centered, performed on one project at a time and sometimes neglecting the cumulative dimension of risks, the great variability of mining activities and the socio-ecological vulnerability in which mining is performed.
Therefore, since a mining project should be considered as a matter of land-planning and territorial management rather than a simple industrial object, the current PhD (2017-2020) aims to develop a methodology that has the goal to propose and compare different mining development strategies for land-planning purposes, based on the risk assessment of given scenarios. The methodology is applied on the case of gold mining in French Guiana as a demonstrative example. In this French region in the Amazon, gold exploitation plays a critical role within territory dynamics, taking a great variety of forms in a very sensitive socio-ecological context. Furthermore, gold commodities are still underexploited, incresing public debates and the urgent needs for public authorities to develop future strategies that might integrate the development of gold mining activities at a regional level.