The mining industry largely concerns itself with the inanimate resources of nature: rocks, metals and chemicals. However, there is an increasing interest in how living organisms – small, singlecelled microbes – can breathe life into the mining cycle and limit its environmental impacts.
Monique Haakensen sees a lot of microbes in her role as president and principal scientist at Contango Strategies. Using DNA-sequencing technology, the company provides a microbial community profiling service which identifies the microbiological population at mining projects and provides lab results, guidance on remediation strategies or even suggestions on which living plants will add to an ecosystem to help microbes thrive. And according to Haakensen, microbes are finally getting the respect they deserve for their role in remediation.
“Until this type of technology came about, it was a guesstimate, and because of that there have historically been a lot of failures in passive water treatment because they were not based on informed decisions,” said Haakensen. Continue Reading →