THE DRIFT: Finding the value in a mine waste pile: Nadia Mykytczuk’s microbes could solve Canada’s industrial legacy issues – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – April 2, 2019)

Mykytczuk said Canada is behind other countries in making advances
in bioleaching and bio-mining because with the luxury of having
abundant space and mineral wealth, we feel addressing problems of
waste piles isn’t a priority.

To accelerate that research, Mykytczuk is proposing the development
of Canada’s first Centre for Mine Waste Biotechnology for Sudbury,
a research and commercialization hub to allow for solid and liquid
mine waste technology research to be taken from the lab and applied
in the field.

The tiny microbes that Nadia Mykytczuk cultivates in a Sudbury laboratory could have a huge impact in dealing with the legacy issues of mine waste.

The billions of dollars it will take to tackle the problem of treating these industrial legacy sites are not only a burden on governments, but the remediation poses a major headache for operating mines and the introduction of new development.

Laurentian University’s Mykytczuk, an environmental microbiologist at Vale Living with Lakes Centre, has been developing cost-effective, green alternatives to deal with these long-term challenges while finding ways of pulling value from the waste material.

“Industry, government and communities are recognizing that our legacy issues around mining are very costly,” said Mykytczuk, the NOHFC Industrial Chair in Biomining, Bioremediation and Science Communication at Laurentian.

“They affect social licence and the ability for companies to open new mines if they haven’t dealt with their old problems. “There’s a huge opportunity to not only clean up these sites but extract value at the same time.”

Mykytczuk works with a number of companies on remediation applications, such as Sudbury mining giants Vale and Glencore, but she’s garnered the most attention for her work with BacTech Environmental on a bioleaching project in Ecuador.

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