Megan Cole


Expertise: Sustainable development indicators and policy; sustainability and the mining industry; water inequality and water-use efficiency; quantitative analysis; spatial mapping in GIS

Dr Megan Cole is a Research Fellow at the Future Water Institute and the Minerals to Metals Initiative at UCT. She has a DPhil from the University of Oxford (Sustainability Science), a MScEng from the University of the Witwatersrand (Rock Engineering) and a BScHons from the University of Cape Town (Geology). Prior to her DPhil she worked in the mining industry, working as a geologist, geotechnical engineer and research manager for Anglo Platinum, and she worked on climate change strategy and research in developing countries at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford. Her DPhil research downscaled the planetary boundaries and ‘safe and just space’ framework (or ‘doughnut’) to the national and provincial levels for the first time, explored the challenges of disaggregating national environmental and social data for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to sub-national levels, and analysed water inequality and water-use efficiency at the local level, making recommendations on SDG 6 indicators. Her post-doctoral research explored new territory in operationalising the SDGs in the mining industry by mapping and measuring the socio-economic vulnerability of all mining communities across South Africa. This included classifying types of mining communities, and a case study on gold mining. Her current research includes developing a National Mine Closure Risk and Opportunity Framework and Atlas; assessing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks in the mining industry; analysing coal mine closure, community vulnerability and local governance in the context of the just transition in South Africa; and measuring the social impact of mining company spend on local socio-economic development projects.