Could Sudbury’s mine waste feed the steel industry? – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – April 9, 2024)

Biomining company sees tonnes of iron waiting to be extracted from Sudbury tailings

A biomining company that’s rooting around Sudbury’s mine tailings insists there are multiple metal and commodity products waiting to be extracted. Toronto’s BacTech Environmental is filing a patent application for its unique and innovative bioleaching process that recovers valuable metals from mine waste while also cleaning up toxic industrial environments.

BacTech’s process has demonstrated it’s already capable of recovering nickel, copper and cobalt from mine tailings, but now there’s the potential to pull the iron out of the pile while also making a fertilizer product.

Bioleaching is a globally well-known biotechnology that was developed 40 years ago. Companies like BacTech have been fine-tuning its process, using Sudbury as a testing ground in co-operation with MIRARCO, a Sudbury mining innovation centre, and local nickel mining giant Vale.

The bioleaching process involves using naturally occurring and harmless bacteria to target certain ores and contain other substances that are harmful to humans.

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