Passive treatment of mine-impacted waters in cold climate: enhancement of metal removal from cold waters by biological-chemical processes in anaerobic packed-bed bioreactors

Increasing mining activities in northern Canada involve significant environmental remediation work in cold-climates. The industry, including Alexco Resource Corp, is currently looking at new passive water treatment technologies, requiring low operation and maintenance cost and providing sustainable solution for the management of mine-impacted waters. This project, realised with the help of the Cold Climate Innovation centre, will focus on the selection of appropriate substrates to be used in passive bioreactors in northern Regions, where the climate can be challenging for water treatment operations. The research proposed includes operation of pilot-scale bioreactors, microbial characterisation and metals speciation. The substrate will be assessed not only for its capacity to support bacterial growth, but also for its metal sequestration capacity, through sorption mechanisms (less temperature-dependent, effective at low temperature). This novel approach will help development of appropriate bioreactors, effective and adequately fitted for operation in challenging climates.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Jean-François Blais


Guillaume Nielsen


Alexco Resource Corp.


Geography / Geology / Earth science


Mining and quarrying


Université INRS



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