Vale Energy Transition Metals, which has significant mining and refining operations in Sudbury, has announced a financial investment of $875,000 with the Sudbury-based MIRARCO (Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation, and Applied Research Corporation) at Laurentian University to study the idea of commercial recovery of critical minerals from mine waste.
Vale, which made the announcement in Toronto at Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention, said the funding would be over a five-year period with MIRARCO to support a new industrial research chair program in biomining and bioremediation.
The industrial research chair program, which is led by Nadia Mykytczuk will develop, pilot and work towards commercializing bioleaching and bioremediation processes including efforts to recover nickel and cobalt from low-grade pyrrhotite tailings and other wastes, said a news release from Vale.
Mykytczuk, who is also president and CEO of MIRARCO, was pleased with the announcement.
“This funding and collaboration will accelerate the development of new tools to help us extract value from wastes, producing the metals we need in an environmentally sustainable way.”
Luke Mahony, chief technical officer at Vale Energy Transition Metals commented on the importance of the investment.
“This builds on our extensive R&D history and proven track record of lab-to-plant process development and represents a significant opportunity for waste-stream reprocessing here in Ontario,” said Mahony.
“We see this as a triple-win, with potential to reduce liabilities, accelerate commercial recovery of critical minerals and capture additional value from mined material.”