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sector_ico_Mining_trans Mining

Giant Mining Microbiome

  • Project Leaders: Dean Mackie
  • Institutions: Teck Resources Ltd
  • Budget: $16627189
  • Program/Competition: Partner Programs
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Fiscal Year: 2021
  • Status: Active

Minerals and metals are the building blocks to clean energy technologies which will lead to a better quality of life for people around the world. Mining and resource development activities are increasing to meet growing demand. This escalation must happen responsibly and protect the health and safety of nearby communities, rivers and lakes. Two important areas of focus are decarbonization and reducing the environmental risks associated with tailings and other waste streams.

Microbiome analysis – analysis of the entire habitat, including the microorganisms, their genomes and the surrounding environmental conditions – supports environmental practices across the mining lifecycle. By replacing traditional mining extraction and mine site remediation technologies with breakthrough biomining solutions, the Mining Microbiome Analytics Platform (MMAP) project aims to be a catalyst for new sustainable mining practices. The MMAP project is the largest investment in planned natural resource genomic sequencing in the history of the sector.

Over the next decade, major Canadian mining companies, supported by the research, engineering and consulting sectors, are developing and implementing more sustainable mining practices.

Project partner Teck Resources Limited, in partnership with Allonnia, BGC Engineering, the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), Koonkie Canada, Genome BC, Rio Tinto and the University of British Columbia, is creating the first integrative platform for collecting, storing and analyzing the genomic data of water, soil and rock environments. The project also has the support of the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, as well as the Tahltan Central Government.

The MMAP project will extract the DNA from more than 15,000 mining site samples over the next two years to identify naturally occurring and synthetic microbes that can replace chemicals used in the mineral extraction process of minerals and metals and the remediation of mine sites.  This genomic data will be sequenced and directly linked to geospatial, climate and chemical data. From there, it can be used to support global breakthroughs in biomining solutions for natural resource extraction and green site remediation.