Vale Energy Transition Metals, a leading global supplier of nickel, copper, cobalt and platinum group metals, says it is moving to accelerate commercial recovery of critical minerals from mine waste in partnership with the Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation, and Applied Research
Corporation (MIRARCO) at Laurentian University, in Canada.
As part of efforts to reduce mine waste and capture additional value from mined material, Vale has committed C$875,000 ($635,769) over five years to MIRARCO to support a new industrial research chair program in biomining and bioremediation. The announcement was made during the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada 2023 Convention, in Toronto, Canada.
The industrial research chair program, led by Dr Nadia Mykytczuk (pictured in the centre), will develop, pilot and work towards commercialising bioleaching and bioremediation processes including efforts to recover nickel and cobalt from low-grade pyrrhotite tailings and other waste.
Luke Mahony, Chief Technical Officer at Vale Energy Transition Metals (pictured second from left), said: “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. 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.”
The Government of Ontario will also contribute C$750,000 through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. to support this industrial research chair program.
Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development (pictured second from right), said: “The new and improved Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is supporting innovative solutions in the resource extraction sector that will change the way we see mining traditionally. By partnering with Vale and Laurentian University, we are committing to Made in Ontario solutions that will reduce mine waste and enhance value for materials already involved in the mining process.”
Dr Mykytczuk, President and CEO of MIRARCO, said: “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.”
Vale Energy Transition Metals is one of the world’s largest producers of high-quality nickel and an important producer of copper and responsibly sourced cobalt. With headquarters in Toronto, Canada, and operations in Newfoundland & Labrador, Ontario, Manitoba, Indonesia and Brazil, the business delivers critical building blocks for a cleaner, greener future.
MIRARCO Mining Innovation is in its 25th year and has been a leader in the development of innovative solutions in response to the needs of the mining industry. Located in Sudbury, Ontario, MIRARCO works collaboratively with industry, private sector, government, academia, and community stakeholders, building fit for purpose teams to effectively deploy knowledge, technology, and sustainable practices across the mining life cycle.