Mine Life Cycle

Dr. Amelie Janin is solving northern problems with northern expertise. As Industrial Research Chair in Mine Life Cycle at Yukon College, Dr. Janin is working with industry and students to develop environmental technologies in mine research and innovation. The objective is to develop research leadership to address northern challenges and opportunities within the mining industry.

Resource development and the environment are important and often competing entities in the North, and Dr. Janin’s research is bridging this gap. The college’s research team is exploring northern bioremediation at mine sites, metal uptake in northern constructed wetlands, and other “green” mining techniques of interest to industrial partners.

What is learned in the lab doesn’t stay in the lab. Knowledge and skills are shared with students and faculty throughout each project’s life cycle. Classroom visits involve sharing experimental designs and preliminary results. Both staff and students are given training opportunities with laboratory equipment purchased to support the chair’s environmental remediation projects.

Yukon College students are adding to the territory’s knowledge economy through employment opportunities with the research chair. More than 10 students have been hired to work on experiment design, monitoring, and analysis, ranging from undergraduate students to PhD candidates. Yukon College student and Selkirk First Nation citizen David Silas is currently working on the Minto mine site monitoring pilot bioreactors. This mine is in his First Nation’s traditional territory, and he plans to use his new skills to support his community in mine remediation. The research group also has a PhD student participating in a program that provides both academic and skills development between the college and Alexco Environmental Group.

“We are pleased to participate in a unique opportunity that creates a win-win outcome for both the Yukon and its mining industry. Through this partnership we will work toward solving mine water treatment challenges by using local products, thereby limiting the need to ship materials to remote mining sites from outside the Yukon,” says Jim Harrington, President of Alexco Environmental Group.

Faculty and research associates are involved in a number of research opportunities associated with mine life cycles. Dr. Katherine Stewart, Yukon Research Centre’s soil scientist and plant ecologist is working with chemist Dr. Janin on an interdisciplinary approach to remediation. They are completing a metal sequestration project using leonardite at mine sites with Wapaw Bay Resources Ltd. They have also partnered with Casino Mining Corp. to examine the metal uptake in plants in northern constructed wetlands.

Green mining practices have the potential to assist in mine closure and keep the industry robust. With the efforts of Dr. Janin, her students and colleagues, mining in the Yukon can become more economical and sustainable. In her laboratory there are no limits, only possibilities.

Industry: Environmental

About Yukon University

Yukon University is the only publicly funded post-secondary education institution in Yukon, a territory of 36,000 inhabitants spread out over 482,000 square kilometers. The University... Learn more