The first project, Soil Amendments in Mine Closure, will measure soil microbiota via DNA sequencing. This could help determine topsoil stockpile health at numerous British Columbian mine sites, including the New Afton, Highland Valley Copper and Mt Polley mines, and also give insight into whether soil amendments improve the topsoil's health. Data will be collected at sites several times per year at the same location and then characterised.
In the second project, Understanding Invertebrate Dynamics Using DNA Barcoding, the diversity and composition of invertebrate species will be tested with the goal of providing more accurate biodiversity measurements at the province's mine sites. Specifically, it will collect data from some of those same sites using traps to capture insects in an ethanol solution to preserve the specimens for DNA analysis.
The announcement comes after TRU and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) appointed Dr Lauchlan Fraser as the new Industrial Research Chair in Ecosystem Reclamation.
"Geoscience BC is … proud to be involved in the partnership," Geoscience BC president and CEO Gavin Dirom said. "We know that new science to improve mine reclamation is important to the mining sector, communities, First Nations and government. These projects support Geoscience BC's strategic goals to advance science and innovative geoscience technologies and to facilitate responsible natural resource development."
"We will advance and enhance research currently taking place to find ways to increase the speed with which we can restore disturbed ecosystems," Fraser added. "We'll be moving into new research areas, pushing forward and expanding the envelope of our understanding."