News: Northern Mine Remediation

A sampling of Yukon University research can be found in 55 locations throughout the territory and across Northern Canada with the new Research Activity Map.

Five Indigenous youth, including several Yukon high school students, will receive training and mentorship in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and Indigenous-led research approaches in partnership with researchers at the YukonU Research Centre this summer. 

Yukon University has been awarded $75,000 to research a method for treating contaminated mine water with native bacteria at the Minto Mine site. The Mitacs Acceleration program and Minto Metals Corp. (Minto) are supporting this Master’s degree project that was built in partnership between the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Northern Mine Remediation and the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS). 

 Joint news release with Mitacs, Yukon University, the University of Alberta North and ArcticNet.  

Research funding has been extended for another year to support Yukon’s understanding of the social, cultural, economic, environmental and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mitacs Student Internship Program, which also supports innovation-related research that will benefit the Yukon economy, was launched last year through a partnership between Mitacs, the Government of Yukon, Yukon University, University of Alberta North, and ArcticNet. 

Current research projects include a host of areas important to the North ranging from food and clean water to women’s mental health, with the potential to support other areas with research-based solutions. 

Yukon University welcomes Minto Explorations to the Northern Mine Remediation program’s Yukon Mining Research Consortium. Minto Explorations will be the seventh industrial partner to join the Consortium and the first member operating an active mine in the Territory.  

WHITEHORSE, YT— Yukon University has launched a four-year research program to explore the revegetation of northern mine sites with native plants. In partnership with the University of Alberta, researchers will work with Yukoners to understand their vision of mine restoration and develop revegetation techniques to support this vision. 

It is our pleasure to announce that our very own Dr. Guillaume Nielsen has been awarded the NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Northern Mine Remediation, a $900,000 over 5 year term! NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) made the announcement official today in the below media release and can also be found HERE. More details on other institutions can also be found HERE.


We are working with Guillaume and our industrial mining partners to plan a media event in September. Stay tuned!


WHITEHORSE—Research conducted at Yukon College in partnership with Alexco Environmental Group has confirmed that bacteria native to Yukon can efficiently remove heavy metals from mine impacted water in cold climates.

Ph. D. candidate Guillaume Nielsen is the lead author of a paper published recently by Mine Water and the Environment, the journal of the International Mine Water Association (IMWA), detailing the results of a series of experiments conducted at the Yukon Research Centre lab in 2015.

Scientists at the Yukon Research Centre (YRC) are doing more than just publishing their results – they are sharing their knowledge with students at Eliza Van Bibber School in Pelly Crossing. Researchers have arranged a diverse team of experts to expose high school students to different characteristics of constructed wetlands and their valuable role in water purification, a recently proven technique that could be used at mine sites in their traditional territory.

In partnership with Selkirk First Nation (SFN) and Casino Mining Corporation, Dr. Amelie Janin, Yukon College’s NSERC Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in Mine Life Cycle, is sharing her research with youth so they can benefit from the results.

Whitehorse – The Yukon Research Centre (YRC) has released a report on heavy metal concentrations found in fish in the Keno Hill mining district. Information collected from fish ear bones can be used to track heavy metal contaminants and potentially determine the success of environmental remediation.

YRC, Access Consulting Group, and Na-cho Nyak Dun First Nation worked with Dr. Norman Halden from the University of Manitoba who developed the technique of fish otolith microchemistry. This technique can determine both contaminant levels as well as life history information on individual fish and populations. Never before used in Yukon, this technique was applied to Arctic Grayling and Slimy Sculpin in the Keno Hill mining district due to the areas long mining history.

Scientists at the Yukon Research Centre have proven that heavy metals can be removed from contaminated mine water with northern constructed wetlands. These results offer a sustainable and cost effective option for mining companies operating in the North. This research was funded by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Casino Mining Corporation (Casino).

Eight laboratory-scale wetlands were constructed in partnership with Casino to determine whether this passive water treatment system is feasible in a northern climate. Researchers took a multi-disciplinary approach by combining the expertise of soil scientist and plant ecologist, Dr. Katherine Stewart, and aquatic biochemist, Dr. Amelie Janin. The wetlands were able to remove 96% of cadmium, 99% of copper, 79% of selenium, and 97% of zinc concentrations from simulated mine water.

WHITEHORSE – Tony Radford and Jordan Lord have spent the past three weeks testing water treatment technologies at the Yukon Research Centre (YRC) at Yukon College. The two students are seeking to discover which of three methods of removing salts and minerals from water can turn brackish water into potable water most efficiently, while creating the least amount of waste.

The results could significantly reduce the environmental footprint of the mineral resource exploration industry, or any activity that takes place in a remote location and requires a reliable source of clean drinking water. It could also have an impact on Yukon homeowners with brackish well water.