Starving microorganisms capable of surviving in extreme conditions have already managed to “eat” a nail in just three days. In Chile, a scientist is testing “metal-eating” bacteria she hopes could help clean up the country’s highly-polluting mining industry.
In her laboratory in Antofagasta, an industrial town 1,100-kilometers north of Santiago, 33-year-old biotechnologist Nadac Reales has been carrying out tests with extremophiles—organisms that live in extreme environments.
Nadia Mykytczuk is the Interim CEO/President of MIRARCO, Laurentian University.
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg in Montréal two years ago, he promised to plant two billion trees by 2030 to help Canada meet its net-zero emissions goal.
Planting trees, however, is hard work. It takes money and planning. But a re-greening roadmap exists.
Sudbury, the largest city in Northern Ontario, transformed itself after decades of environmental devastation, brought on by the mining industry. Other communities and industries, like oil and gas, can replicate the city’s efforts to aid in global efforts to fight climate change.
A devastated landscape
For almost 100 years, Sudbury’s community and environment were blanketed in sulfur dioxide and metals released from the smelting of nickel ore.
Nadia Mykytczuk named to BacTech Environmental’s strategic advisory board
Laurentian University microbiologist Nadia Mykytczuk has been named to the strategic advisory board of BacTech Environmental, a Toronto ‘green’ mining technology company with ambitious plans to recover precious metals in South America.
For the past 15 years, Mykytczuk has worked in the field of mine waste microbiology and is considered an expert in biomining and bioremediation.
Her research at Laurentian, primarily focuses on cultivating microbes to break down toxic material at mine waste sites and harness them to extract precious metals.
SUDBURY — Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk has been named the interim president and CEO of MIRARCO in Sudbury.
MIRARCO is a mining research group that works to develop sustainable, long-term practices and technology for the industry. As interim CEO, Mykytczuk will provide support to the Goodman School of Mines at Laurentian University.
An environmental microbiologist, she received the Laurentian University Innovation Award in 2018, which is awarded to a researcher whose work has resulted in an innovative technology, process or product that benefits both the university community and society at large.
Laurentian is cutting environmental science, environmental studies, ecology and restoration biology programs as it works to balance its books
Sudbury has garnered a reputation around the world as a community that knows how to recover an environment degraded by mining and smelting operations. Most of that know-how was developed by Laurentian University researchers — expertise that will be lost as the university restructures, critics warn.
Laurentian is cutting environmental science, environmental studies, ecology and restoration biology programs – among many others – as part of a process to balance its books.
The university is insolvent, can’t pay its bills and has filed for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act as it restructures. So far, it has cut almost 200 jobs and 69 programs. Many, however, say cuts are a severe blow to the reputation of Sudbury as a leader in landscape revitalization.
Sudbury is known as the city of lakes and for its famous regreening programs, yet university is slashing expertise in those areas as it restructures
Among the programs closed in Laurentian University’s “restructuring” were environmental science, environmental studies, ecology and restoration biology.
In a city of lakes, where Sophie Mathur has galvanized global youth around the climate crisis, where the regreening of the region has reached near mythological status, an undergraduate student cannot enter into an environmental or ecology program at Laurentian University.
Think about that. Why were Laurentian’s environmental and ecology programs closed?
Insolvency proceeding put acclaimed biomining project and pilot plant on the brink of extinction
One of the world’s top experts in mine waste cleanup was one of the casualties of the massive and deep program and job cuts at Laurentian University this week.
Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk, highly regarded as a microbiologist in bioleaching and mine remediation, was among more than 100 faculty and staff who received virtual pink slips on April 16 as part of the ongoing insolvency proceedings at the Sudbury university.
Laurentian’s School of Environment and staff and faculty at its Vale Living with Lakes Centre took a major hit among the 58 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs cut.
One-on-one with Dr. Mike: A Q&A with microbiologist Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk
As part of Sudbury.com’s ongoing Discover Series, Dr. Mike Commito, Director of Applied Research & Innovation at Cambrian College, who is often referred to simply as Dr. Mike on campus, is sitting down with researchers and entrepreneurs in Sudbury to spotlight the innovative work they’re doing in our community and beyond.
This week, Dr. Mike had the chance to catch up with Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk on the shores of Ramsey Lake at the Vale Living with Lakes Centre at Laurentian University. Dr. Mykytczuk is a microbiologist who studies how bacteria live and adapt to extreme environments. She holds an Industrial Research Chair in Biomining, Bioremediation and Science Communication at Laurentian University.
When she’s not teaching, Dr. Mykytczuk spends most of her time investigating how bacteria can be used in the mining process. Based on her research, Dr. Myktytczuk believes there is a great opportunity for the mining industry in Canada not only to deploy bacteria in remediation efforts to break down tailings and minimize mine waste, but also to utilize this biomining technology as a catalyst during the extraction process.
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.
THE National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) proposed on Thursday to rehabilitate degraded mining sites by deploying microbes into the soil, a process called bioremediation.
“There are 50 active metallic mines that will surely become mined out or (contaminated with) mine tailings if there is no responsible mining. That means we will have more abandoned mines,” according to Dr. Nelly S. Aggangan, lead researcher of a study commissioned by the NRCP.
Ms. Aggangan was presenting her 2017 study, “Greening Mined-out Areas in the Philippines,” during the NRCP-Legislative Scientific Forum for Policy Development.
Nadia Mykytczuk, Industrial Research Chair in biomining, bioremediation and science communication at Laurentian University, spends a lot of time studying how micro-organisms like bacteria can be used to extract minerals and re-process legacy mine waste, all of which can reduce the environmental liabilities of mining.
As one of the few mining microbiologists focused on cold environments like Canada, she is working to create a Centre for Mine Waste Biotechnology that will nurture the next generation of scientists, companies and microbial mining tools.
CIM: What path led you to your current work at Laurentian University?
Mykytczuk: Very early on I was focused on how microbes work in various environments. While I was an undergrad at Carleton University, I got a co-op placement at the National Research Council looking at vaccine development for various pathogens; for my PhD at Laurentian, I looked at the adaptation of acid mine drainage (AMD) bacteria to acidic and cold environments.
In the decades-long efforts to regreen the Sudbury basin, Vale is reporting its Copper Cliff Tailings Project using biosolids is continuing to be successful. So successful, the groundbreaking project recently won an award and plans are in the works to apply it to other reclamation projects.
The Copper Cliff Tailings Project, a joint effort by Vale and Terrapure’s solutions division, Terratec Environmental, has been running for about five years and continues to show positive and even surprising results.
“We are doing this for two reasons: dust control and covering the area with vegetation for long-term closure plans,” said Glen Watson, superintendent of environment decommissioning and reclamation for Vale Canada. It recently won the Water Environment Association of Ontario’s 2018 Exemplary Biosolids Management Award.