Application of Barcode of Life Initiative in Mine Reclamation

CIM Montreal 2015
Dennis Wilson (New Gold Inc.)
The New Afton Mine, wholly owned and operated by New Gold Inc., has started researching the metrics that will be used at the end of mine life. The mine has partnered with the University of Guelph Barcode of Life program. The Bar Code of Life Program is a methodology that allows analysis of a segment of mitochondrial DNA to distinguish animal species. It allows the user to identify individual DNA sequences from a mixture of different species. This results in fast, accurate and inexpensive taxonomic determinations large-scale sampling programs.

New Afton has supported this program for the purpose of determining performance measurements for reclamation areas on the mine site. The objectives of the New Afton study were to:
To establish a long-term biodiversity monitoring program using DNA Barcoding.
To quantify differences between disturbed, undisturbed and reclaimed areas of the mine site in terms of species richness and relative abundance of arthropods.
To quantify the species diversity and abundance of key ecosystems
Provide performance measuremet targets guidance to biodiversity management and measure the success of current site remediation efforts

Arthropods were sampled at New Afton between June and September 2013 in a malaise trap. Once a sample is taken, its contents are ground up and the DNA extracted and analysed. This analysis provides the user with the number of species within the sample in minutes, a task that traditionally is fraught with error and can take months. Using this technique, New Afton can gauge the success of reclamation activities by comparing species richness between a reclaimed site and a comparable undisturbed site.

This presentation will discuss New Afton’s experience in using this technology to guide reclamation activities during mine life and to allow the site to demonstrate scientifically-sound performance measures to assist regulators and communities of interest during the closure process.

For New Gold, this has been an opportunity to participate in ground breaking scientific research, providing benefits to the operation and contribution to innovation in reclamation assessment.
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