Canada's Yukon University has received C$75,000 over the next two years to study the effect of bacteria on treating mine water.
Research on nitrate left behind on mine sites is being supported by Minto Metals Corp. and graduate funding programme Mitacs Acceleration.
"With limited research on passive water treatments in cold climates, our results will be of interest both locally and across the circumpolar North," Dr. Guillaume Nielsen, the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Northern Mine Remediation at Yukon University, said.
Graduate student Taylor Belansky is researching methods of removing nitrate from mine water in cold climates. Nitrate is often a byproduct of blasting which can threaten the livelihoods of plants and animals.
The goal is to "develop passive water treatments that can operate in cold climates with minimal maintenance requirements," the university said.
Water and soil samples will be taken from around the Minto copper and gold mine in Yukon, to be placed in a bioreactor device which will mimic a biologically active environment, Yukon University said.
Belansky will then test the bacteria's capacity to remove nitrate from this environment.
The student will then apply these results as a pilot project at the Minto mine.