[Partner Content] Tech update: A tiny solution that could lighten the impact of mining; a new platform that encourages the hiring of Black professionals; and other news – by Janey Llewellin (Toronto Star – February 10, 2022)


As the production of electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines ramps up, so too does the demand for “green” minerals. (In fact, the World Bank predicts that production of such minerals as lithium, cobalt and graphite will increase by nearly 500 per cent by 2050.) Yet traditional means of extraction often exacts a heavy toll on the environment. To lighten the impact, some companies are turning to a tiny solution: microbes found underground.

A new initiative with Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is looking to identify helpful microbes that can replace the use of chemicals in mining and site remediation. The project aims to build a repository of microbes and geochemical data by extracting the DNA from more than 15,000 mining sites.

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New project promotes using microbes in mining – by Olivia Johnson (CIM Magazine – February 1, 2022)


The database of microbes and geochemical data will be used to build new and sustainable technology in the mining industry

On Feb. 1, Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, an organization that focuses on accelerating digital technology innovation, launched the Mining Microbiome Analysis Platform (MMAP) project. The project will build a repository of microbes and geochemical data, using samples collected from more than 15,000 mining sites.

MMAP is led by Teck Resources in partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC), BGC Engineering, Koonkie Canada, Rio Tinto, Genome BC, Allonnia, Microsoft and the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI). Over the next two years, the online platform will extract DNA from mining-site samples and identify microbes that can be used to implement microbial-based resource extraction and new mine-site bioremediation processes.

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Scientists want to engineer bacteria to sustainability mine rare earths – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud (Mining.com – November 21, 2021)


A new study published in Nature Communications describes a proof of principle for engineering a bacterium, Gluconobacter oxydans, that takes a first step towards meeting skyrocketing rare earth element demand in a way that matches the cost and efficiency of traditional thermochemical extraction and refinement methods and is clean enough to meet US environmental standards.

“We’re trying to come up with an environmentally friendly, low-temperature, low-pressure method for getting rare earth elements out of a rock,” Buz Barstow, the paper’s senior author and an assistant professor at Cornell University, said in a media statement.

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Chilean scientist plans to clean up mining with ‘metal eating’ bacteria – by Paula Bustamante (Phys.org – October 2021)


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.

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What mining, oil and gas industries can learn from Sudbury, the city that went from major polluter to thriving environment – by Nadia Mykytczuk (The Conversation – August 25, 2021)


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.

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Laurentian researcher named strategic advisor for ‘green’ miner’s South American endeavors – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – August 16, 2021)


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.

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Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk – Mine remediation expert appointed CEO of MIRARCO in Sudbury – by Darren MacDonald (CTV News Northern Ontario – June 28, 2021)


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.

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Restructuring overlooks important environmental legacy: critics – by Hugh Kruzel (Sudbury Star – April 30, 2021)


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.

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Laurentian University cuts world-renowned programs – by Albrecht I. Schulte-Hostedde (Sudbury Star – April 28, 2021)


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?

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Laurentian University cuts could put groundbreaking mine waste research in jeopardy – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – April 17, 2021)


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.

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Global mine reclamation expert to be given honorary doctorate by Laurentian University – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – October 28, 2020)


Ecological engineer Margarete Kalin-Seidenfaden worked in Northern Ontario mine tailings projects

A pioneer in applying the principles of ecological engineering to tackle contaminated mine waste sites will be recognized by Laurentian University at its fall convocation ceremony.

Margarete Kalin-Seidenfaden will be presented with an honorary doctor of science on Oct.31.

Her career as an environmental consultant includes co-founding Boojum Research in 1982, a Toronto R & D firm specializing in ecologically-based treatment systems.

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[Biomining/Bioremediation] Discover: Meet the Sudbury scientist who feeds minerals to microbes – by Mike Commito (Sudbury Northern Life – October 22, 2019)


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.

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Returning green to a blackened landscape: Microbiologist opens MMTS week with talk on mine remediation using microbes – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – April 15, 2019)


Nearly two centuries of mining in northeastern Ontario has left its mark with waste from thousands of mines.

But Nadia Mykytczuk said that waste can be turned into another mining opportunity and at the same time clean up the dirtier parts of the industry’s legacy.

Mykytczuk, a microbiologist, was the guest speaker at the kickoff luncheon for Modern Mining and Technology Sudbury Week (MMTS), hosted by the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation, on April 12.

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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.

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