Sudbury’s Bio-Mine up for $1-million prize – by Ben Leeson (Sudbury Star – March 1, 2017)

Yet another right-here-in-Sudbury story is unfolding before our eyes, and on March 5, in front of some 400 mining company executives, government officials and other heavy hitters at the finale of #DisruptMining, a high-stakes mining innovation contest, in Toronto.

Bio-Mine Ltd., a Sudbury-based company, is one of five finalists getting reading to pitch their “game-changing environmental technology” at the Shark Tank-style event, with $1 million on the line.

“You couldn’t ask for that kind of earshot marketing,” said Bio-Mine CEO Kurtis Vanwallegham, who founded the company along with Dr. Vasu Appanna. “It would have taken us a year, two years, to do that, so just the fact that many decision-makers in the recovery and remediation sector are sitting in that room is key. Obviously, we’re there to win, and a million-dollar injection would be a springboard for us, but the most important part for us is actually the crowd itself in one room, getting that many people.”

Microorganisms are already being used to recover metals or remove or neutralize pollutants, but Bio-Mine’s “bio-intelligent, augmenting consortium of organisms” touted as a huge improvement over anything currently being used, with potential to drive the recovery and remediation sector towards the elusive zero-footprint goal.

“Bio-Mine is about to change the entire industry, because the technology that we’re going to release is in the category of dynamic biotechnology,” Vanwallegham said. “The technology being used in bio-mining are static bacteria. These bacteria are only capable of one function and they only function in one very specific environment, with one very specific food source, so they’re very mediocre at best.

The industry, to try and get a lower footprint, they’ve been adding species after species after species of these one-trick ponies, so instead of one, we know there are 30 of them and they’ve been trying to work to recover these metals and help treat ore.”

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