Nitrogen removal using bacteria at the Minto Mine


Nitrogen removal using bacteria at the Minto Mine


Status: Submitted

01 May 2023
  • Nitrogen removal at Minto Mine
  • Cold climate mine water treatment
  • Passive biological treatment system
  • Native microbial populations
  • Lab-scale bioreactors for mine remediation
  • Sustainable mine water treatment

This research project focuses on developing a cost-effective and sustainable passive treatment system for nitrogen removal at the Minto copper-gold mine in the Yukon, operating under cold climate conditions. Collaborating with Minto Exploration Ltd., Northern Mine Remediation aims to use native microbial populations to develop a lab-scale biological treatment system that targets contaminants of concern at the mine site. After optimizing the system in the lab, it will be scaled up to a pilot-scale operation on-site at Minto. The project is expected to take two years and will support Minto's remediation plan, contributing to the protection of Yukon's environment.

Project Description:
The project began with the collection of bacteria samples from various locations at the Minto Mine site in Fall 2021. The team will analyze the samples to identify nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria present at the site. The laboratory optimization phase will involve experimenting with different parameters to create optimal conditions for the targeted bacteria, designing lab-scale bioreactors that mimic specific conditions at the Minto site.

In Spring and Summer 2022, a pilot-scale experiment will be conducted at the Minto site, with ongoing monitoring by Minto Exploration staff and students from the Selkirk First Nation community.

The project will be completed by the end of 2023, with a Master's thesis from Taylor Belansky, a peer-reviewed article, and a final report for Mitacs as the deliverables. The project team includes Dr. Guillaume Nielsen and Professor Jean-Francois Blais as supervisors, Taylor Belansky as the Master's student, and Ben McGrath as the Laboratory Technician from YukonU Research Centre. Additionally, Minto environmental staff will be involved in the project.

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