Mining requires huge amounts of water to extract valuable metals — and generates massive amounts of wastewater that must be cleaned according to strict environmental standards before being discharged. This wastewater also provides an ideal habitat for microbes, and studying these can help reduce wastewater treatment costs and the environmental footprint of the mining industry, according to University of Toronto researchers. The $3.7-million research project is funded in part by Genome Canada. As professor Lesley Warren explains in a University of Toronto Engineering News blog post: “These wastewaters contain a variety of sulphur compounds that certain bacteria can use for energy.”
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