Province sinks funding into bio-mining research – by Jonathan Migneault (Northern Ontario Business – July 8, 2016)

A new Laurentian University industrial research chair position in bio-mining, bio-remediation and science communication has the potential to kickstart a new industry in Sudbury that could create hundreds or even thousands of jobs, said the director of the Vale Living with Lakes Centre.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say there will be an entire industry built around this,” said Laurentian professor John Gunn, who is also the Canada research chair for stressed aquatic systems. “The demands are so big.”

The province is investing more than $630,000 through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to create the five-year research chair position at the university. The announcement was made at a press conference in Sudbury on May 9.

Gunn said they already have a candidate lined up for the position, and are expected to make that announcement, along with additional funding for research, this summer.

The new researcher would work with a team of graduate students to improve the use of bacteria for mine remediation. “When you crush ore into small enough particles there are bacteria on all the surfaces,” said Gunn.

Some of those bacteria can liberate copper and nickel from the ore into a liquid form by breaking down the iron products in that ore, he said.

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