December 15, 2017

Province Funds Project to Develop Genomics Testing Technology for Use in Mining

The Government of Saskatchewan, through Innovation Saskatchewan, has provided $350,000 in funding for a project to develop new genomics testing technologies and services for use in the mining sector.

The genomics testing technologies are being developed by Contango Strategies Limited, a Saskatoon-based company which offers scientific research, development and value-added services in clean technology and biotechnology for the natural resource and energy sectors.

“Our government is committed to innovation to diversify our economy,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Steven Bonk said.  “This project is a perfect example of a made-in-Saskatchewan solution that will have a huge impact within our province and across the world.”

The genomics testing technologies will provide valuable information about microbes, which are able to significantly influence the mining environment.  The new technologies developed will advance the mining sector, improving mineral processing and water treatment, as well as reducing environmental impacts from closed mines.

“The application of genomics tools to the mining sector was pioneered commercially here in Saskatoon at Contango in 2011,” Contango Strategies Limited President and Principal Scientist Dr. Monique Simair said.  “These tools have resulted in environmental services that guided the development of better water treatment processes, and have been used in Saskatchewan, North America and around the world.  This new round of genomics technology development will expand applications, providing benefits to the entire mine life cycle - from planning through to processing, and into closure and reclamation.”

Contango Strategies is one of the only independent companies in North America that performs genetic microbial profiling analysis outside of the human health sector.  This current project will build on those earlier developments which have been commercially applied across the world, and have created jobs in Saskatoon for scientists and technologists.

The funding has been provided from the Saskatchewan Advantage Innovation Fund, through which Innovation Saskatchewan makes strategic innovation investments in projects that can create significant economic impact in the province.