A company proposing a major copper mine development in central Yukon has partnered with the Yukon Research Centre (YRC) to evaluate potential uptake of heavy metals in selected northern wetland plant species.
Research results will help to mitigate concerns about heavy metal uptake by plants in the Casino project area in central Yukon and the spreading of contaminants into the environment through wildlife. The research undertaken by students and faculty at Yukon College, will also contribute to plans for the closure and reclamation of the proposed Casino mine’s tailings management facility. This facility aims to use constructed wetlands as a passive, long-term care solution for the treatment of open pit water overflow and tailings effluent.
“This project further reflects our commitment to using the highest possible standards and supporting innovation in mine remediation technologies in the north,” says Paul WestSells, Casino President.
In addition to the anticipated benefits to the environment and industry, Yukon College students and researchers gained valuable skills and experience. Dr. Katherine Stewart, Research Associate and Dr. Amelie Janin, Industrial Research Chair in Mine Life Cycle teamed up to take an interdisciplinary approach to mine remediation. Dr. Stewart’s plant ecology and soil science background and Dr. Janin’s water chemistry expertise made this dynamic project a reality. YRC has published a report on Passive Treatment of Mine Impacted Water in Cold Climates that is now available to the public. Students contributed to this document, as well as participated in other project elements such as plant collection, experiment design, and analysis.