Resource World Magazine

Resource World - Apr-May 2017 - Vol 15 Iss 3

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Page 58 of 71

A P R I L / M A Y 2 0 1 7 59 MININGWORLD T he use of living organisms in mining is an innovative idea that bridges both biology and technology. It is a process that utilizes organisms to recover minerals or to remove harmful elements from mining waste and this entire industry worldwide is about to evolve. Dr. Vasu Appanna, a Professor of Biochemistry at Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, is considered a genius in the field of industrial bio-technology, has discovered and learned to program a "pro- prietary consortium of organisms designed for targeted recovery and remediation". This incredible consortium is able to func- tion in many different environments with many different types of mineralogy. This "DYNAMIC" bio-technology is a complete evolution to any of the current STATIC microbes being used today, where they can only function in one environment, eating one type of rock; mediocre at best. With one programmable technology, all of the current microbes being used today become obsolete. Dr. Appanna has been studying and developing bio-technology for 30 years and, as the Dean of Science at the University of British Columbia, he introduced numerous PhD programs for the university. In 2015, Dr. Appanna teamed up with self made Entrepreneur Kurtis VanWallegham. VanWallegham had been building high-tech based corporations since he was 19 years old. Together they created Bio-Mine Ltd. which made its "official introduction to the world" at the 2017 PDAC Convention where they entered the innovation contest The Disrupt Mining Campaign put on by Goldcorp and Integra Gold. They did not win top prize but Bio-Mine was chosen as one of its top five finalists and got to pitch their idea, an idea that has been successfully and eco- nomically demonstrated. Bio-Mines first pilot project, using their proprietary technology successfully pro- duced ~$30,000 in revenue at a small, open pit, heap leach, gold project in the northern India mountain range. Bio-Mine states that, "A permit for a full operation and facility has been submitted to the government, and we are currently waiting for this permit to be issued, at which time we will ramp up the heap facility to full production." VanWallegham, CEO of Bio-Mine Ltd., said of the project, "This is a major step on our evolution, because now we have taken the technology from the pilot projects in our lab, into the actual gold mining business, demonstrating its power in the real world." In April of 2016, Bio-Mine announced the results from the use of their technology on a nickel deposit in the Sudbury basin. "An astonishing result has come out of a pilot project involving nickel as the metal extracted. With very little "food" for the organism in the samples, our team has engineered a strain of the organism that has released 83% of the nickel contained in the ore body, using only the nutrients and catalysts our team feeds them." And just recently Bio-Mine Ltd. signed a contract with a top five world gold pro- ducer to pilot the technology as a gold leaching system to replace cyanide, the Holy Grail for gold companies who strug- gle with cyanide restrictions every day. "With dynamic technology vs. static, the sky is the limit. You can program them to benefit many different chemistry equations valuable to mining in the cat- egories of pre-treatment, recovery and remediation", says Vanwallegham. Though Bio-Mine didn't win the big prize at PDAC, VanWallegham declared the experience a success saying, "What an honor, the exposure our company will receive is scary. We couldn't generate that kind of attention ourselves in a year that an event like this will in one day. Just to be selected out of the 153 submissions from around the world is amazing. We are about to hit the ground in full sprint mode." n Bio-Mine debuts futuristic concept at PDAC Kurtis VanWallegham, CEO of Bio-Mine Ltd. presenting at PDAC 2017. Photo courtesy of Bio-Mine Ltd.

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