Ecosystem Risk Management – CanmetMINING

Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
What the facility does

Mining-related research including aquatic toxicology, geomicrobiology and genomics, environmental chemistry and climate change impacts on mining

Areas of expertise

The Ecosystem Risk Management group of CanmetMINING is a diverse team of aquatic toxicologists, geomicrobiologists and environmental chemists who work on projects on the environmental effects of metal mining in Canada. The team collaborates extensively with industry, academia and other government departments to deliver solutions that enhance the sustainability of the mining industry in Canada in a changing climate.

Projects include: studies on metal mine dust characterization, monitoring and mitigation; studies on the potential of metal release from contaminated sediments in a changing climate; studies on the fate and toxicity of metals in aquatic organisms – algae, invertebrates and fish; studies on the use of organic wastes to remediate mine wastes and promote the return of plant species and productivity and the application of genomic approaches to the study of microbe-plant associations that could promote plant survival and metal tolerance in reclaimed mine tailings; and studies on the impacts of climate change on mine tailings microbial community structure and activity, and how such changes could affect the long-term environmental performance of mine waste management strategies.

Research services

CanmetMINING provides unique expertise and a wide range of research and specialized services for its clients. The Business Office can arrange any of several forms of partnership to suit the particular needs of the client and to support Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Government of Canada priorities. Amongst the most frequently used are cooperative and cost-recovery business agreements. In addition to conducting basic and applied research, demonstrations and testing, we provide guidelines on intellectual property, licensing and marketing strategies to facilitate the transfer of technology.

Sectors of application
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Mining, minerals and metals



Forma Scientific 1025 anaerobic chamber

Growth and maintenance of anaerobic microbial cultures; performance of experiments requiring anaerobic conditions

Lachat QuikChem 8500 automated ion analyzer

Analysis of ammonia, nitrate/nitrite, and phosphate in aqueous samples

Conviron Growth Chambers (E7)

Maintains precise light and temperature conditions for algal/plant growth studies

Conviron Growth Chambers (A1000)

Maintains precise light and temperature conditions for algal/plant growth studies

Ultra-centrifuge Sorvall Lynx 6000

Provides capacity to centrifuge at speeds up to 100,000 g

  • NiPERA
  • European Copper Institute
  • Cobalt Institute
  • International Tungsten Industry Association
  • Queen’s University
  • Canada Mining Innovation Council
  • Canadian Forest Service
  • Vale Canada Ltd.
  • Terrapure Environmental
  • Laurentian University
  • Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue



Method development for determining the removal of metals from the water column under  ransformation/dissolution conditions for chronic hazard classification


Weight-of-evidence approach for assessing removal of metals from the water column for chronic  nvironmental hazard classification


Potential climate change effects on the geochemical stability of waste and mobility of elements in receiving environments for Canadian metal mines south of 60N

Geochemical stability of acid-generating pyrrhotite tailings 4 to 5 years after addition of oxygen-consuming organic covers

Assessing the long-term ecosystem productivity benefits and potential impacts of forests re-established on a mine tailings site