Mine Waste Biotechnology

Innovative solutions
Transform mine waste from environmental hazard to economic opportunity through economically sustainable mine waste strategies

Overview

The Centre for Mine Waste Biotechnology will be a pilot-scale facility equipped with tools and expertise to accelerate the commercialization of genomics-based bioremediation and bioleaching technologies.

Located in proximity to active mines in Sudbury, Ontario, the Centre will provide a development and testing site where large samples of waste materials can be brought for pre-processing and treatment.

The Centre will respond to the urgent need for innovative solutions that transform mine waste from environmental hazard to economic opportunity through economically sustainable mine waste strategies.

Our Focus

The Centre will accelerate the development, commercialization, and regulatory uptake of alternative green technologies in mine waste treatment by providing crucial infrastructure and expertise in three critical areas:

  • Process and scale-up from bench to pilot
  • Commercialization, de-risking, adoption, and implementation
  • Highly-qualified personnel (HQP) training.

Mission

With pilot-scale facilities and world-class expertise, the Centre develops biotechnologies for use in real-world sites to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of mining and related sectors.

Vision

The Centre is a catalyst for transforming bench mine waste biotechnologies into commercial applications.

Target Processes and Outputs

Mine waste processing

  • Legacy or newly generated
  • Liquids and solids (e.g. tailings, waste rock, slag)

Biotechnology treatments

  • Bioremediation
  • Bioleaching
  • Driven by OMICS data, methods, and applications

Metal recovery

  • Copper, nickel, cobalt, gold

Contaminant stabilization

  • Sulfate, arsenic

AMD prevention

  • Encapsulation

Phytostabilization

Carbon sequestration

The Ask

A total capital investment of $17.3 million commencing 2023-24 is required to launch construction of this important project.

MIRARCO is seeking support from municipal, provincial, and federal partners to help build and equip the Centre. Once constructed, the facility will rapidly begin to generate revenues from its suite of memberships, services, and programs.

The Opportunity

Canada needs critical minerals to support its transition to a low-carbon economy. It also faces significant environmental and financial liabilities associated with traditional mining practices.

Mining biotechnologies (including bioremediation and biobeaching) offer innovative solutions to these challenges.