The Geo-Environmental and Resources Research Center (CIGAR) is one of the research centres at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Porto – FEUP (Portugal). It was created in 2003 with funding provided by FCT (Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation) with the objective of formalizing and framing research previously carried out within the Mining Engineering Department and other institutions taking advantage of the construction of a new campus for the whole Faculty. The total number of researchers with Ph.D. degrees increased from 12 in 2003 to 20 in 2010.
Our research is focused in two main areas: Geo-Environment and Geo-Resources. The Geo-Environmental area specializes in the remediation of soils and groundwater not only in fundamental concepts but also in the application of new technologies in the field. It also encompasses all the essential phases of remediation: site investigations, conceptual site models, environmental risk assessments, and fundamental and applied research concerning physical, chemical, thermal and biological treatment technologies and its application to specific sites.
Multi-disciplinary approaches are used that involve the incorporation of basic sciences and technologies such as geo-physics, geo-chemistry, geo-statistics, chemodynamics, chemical technology, physics and micro-biology, besides advanced fields of applied mathematics such as signal treatment and modelling of distributed parameter systems.
The Geo-Resources field research has mainly focused on ore processing, specifically in the area of phenomenological modelling and simulation of unit operations using dynamic population balances. This general approach was recently applied to jigging. Another field of research was the “Non Linear Dynamics of Discrete Systems of Hauling and Transport” as the unit operations involved in mineral exploitation differ radically from those generally found in process engineering due to the fact that they have an intrinsic discrete character. This is also an area where new research was undertaken to develop a comprehensive model of this type of process.
At present moment the Research Centre has three different laboratories specifically used for its own research. It also uses six other laboratories depending from the Mining Department.
The Scientific Coordinator is directly elected by all the Researchers with Ph.D. for a period of three years. The Main researchers are appointed by general consensus in a general meeting specially organized for that purpose.
For supporting the management activities the Research Centre uses the Economic and Financing Services of the Engineering Faculty, through a special division created for that purpose – Division for Project Accounting. For general purpose services it also uses the general office of the Mining Department. The Centre also uses the Documentation and Information Services of the Faculty, specially the modern and well supplied Library as well as the informatics support and networks existing in the campus.