Asarco metallurgist passionate about sustainable mining

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Dr. Krishna Parameswaran


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By Alison Stanton

Nugget

Dr. Krishna Parameswaran, the Director of Environmental Services and Compliance Assurance at ASARCO LLC (Asarco) in Tucson, first became interested in metals when he was a high school student in Bombay, India.

“I grew up near the sea, and something that really interested me in my chemistry classes was learning that sea water contains metals, and that many things can dissolve in sea water. For example, when you pass an electrical current through sea water you can extract minerals—that really fascinated me.”

When he enrolled in college, Parameswaran decided to pursue his interests in metals. He earned a Bachelor of Technology degree in metallurgical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, in 1968 and a Master of Science degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1971 before graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy in metallurgy from Pennsylvania State University in 1974.

“Metallurgy is the science and production of metals through the mining and processing of fine metals,” he said, adding that it also entails extraction, recycling and the physical properties of metals.

“It is kind of a wide field, and so metallurgical engineering then is the engineering part of it.”

Referring to Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate,” when his character was told that plastics would be a key industry, Parameswaran said he just felt that metals were the trend.

“And things have just fallen into place,” he said.

During his career, Parameswaran has worked for two companies. After graduating from Pennsylvania State University, he worked for Arthur D. Little, an international management consulting firm. There, he did work on environmental and pollution controls, some of which involved the copper industry. This, he said, laid the foundation for his work at Asarco.

When he began at Asarco 32 years ago, Parameswaran started working as a Senior Research Engineer, and he also supported the environmental department. Through his current role, he assists with operations at Asarco’s five facilities, including four in Arizona and one in Texas, working with the oversight of environmental permits, compliance issues, and coordinating environmental activities among the facilities, and managing the company’s compliance and system audit programs.

Through his in-depth knowledge of the regulations and how they can impact an individual facility, Parameswaran said he feels he truly knows the process and can explain what it all means to regulators.

“I get a great deal of satisfaction knowing that I’m doing some good,” he said. “I feel like I’m bringing some value to the organization, and that is really important.”

Sustainability is another of Parameswaran’s passions, he said. For more than a decade he has been interested in the subject, and in June 2005, he coauthored a book entitled “Sustainable Mining Practices: A Global Perspective.”

“Basically, sustainability to me means balancing the environmental, social and economic components,” he said.

“Unless they all come into place, we will not have a viable industry, and if we don’t have a viable industry, then there will be no jobs. Striking a balance is very important.”

Over the years, Parameswaran said he has noticed some changes in the industry and the public’s perception about what they do.

“The general feeling sometimes is that our credibility is being questioned, but the professionals in the field are truly interested in protecting the public health and the environment. There has been a great deal of progress on this.”

In addition to getting a lot of satisfaction from his work, Parameswaran said he truly enjoys working with his colleagues and co-workers.

“I work with some great people, and it is a pleasure to work with them,” he said.

Parameswaran’s colleagues and co-workers share these same feelings about him and his commitment to his work.

“The mining industry in Arizona is facing increasingly stringent regulations on the state and national level,” said Kelly Norton, President of Arizona Mining Association.

“Dr. Parameswaran has been a critical member of the executive team in helping the association strategize on a way forward  in dealing with these issues,” she added.

“For over 30 years Dr. Parameswaran has been instrumental in providing Asarco with guidance and advice regarding our operations, environmental regulations and compliance,” said Thomas L. Aldrich, Vice President of Environmental Affairs.

“He has become a world renown expert in sustainable mining practices and has presented papers and authored books on the subject.  He is well respected in the industry and within Asarco.  He truly is an Asarco treasure.”

noticed some changes in the industry and the public’s perception about what they do.

“The general feeling sometimes is that our credibility is being questioned, but the professionals in the field are truly interested in protecting the public health and the environment. There has been a great deal of progress on this.”

In addition to getting a lot of satisfaction from his work, Parameswaran said he truly enjoys working with his colleagues and co-workers.

“I work with some great people, and it is a pleasure to work with them,” he said.

Parameswaran’s colleagues and co-workers share these same feelings about him and his commitment to his work.

“The mining industry in Arizona is facing increasingly stringent regulations on the state and national level,” said Kelly Norton, President of Arizona Mining Association.

“Dr. Parameswaran has been a critical member of the executive team in helping the association strategize on a way forward  in dealing with these issues,” she added.

“For over 30 years Dr. Parameswaran has been instrumental in providing Asarco with guidance and advice regarding our operations, environmental regulations and compliance,” said Thomas L. Aldrich, Vice President of Environmental Affairs.

“He has become a world renown expert in sustainable mining practices and has presented papers and authored books on the subject.  He is well respected in the industry and within Asarco.  He truly is an Asarco treasure.”

Courtney (305 Posts)


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