Mining Company To Raise Fish Underground

Posted: 04/20/2012 11:09 am Updated: 04/20/2012 5:38 pm


Nickel mining giant Vale will be pulling something new out of the ground in Sudbury — fish.


Vale has already been growing tree seedlings in a green house deep in the warm underground for decades, but now the company wants to raise rainbow trout right next to them.


The trees are planted in Sudbury to re-green the landscape scarred by mining. And the fish will be put into lakes “that may have been stressed by mining activities in the past,” said Glen Watson, Vale's senior environmental specialist.


“Northern Ontarians love their fish. Sudburians, in particular, love their fish. We have a lot of lakes to put them in.”


Underground heat helps fish grow


Vale has spent the past five months raising Rainbow trout in an above-ground facility. On Thursday it released 4,000 fish in the Onaping River. Now that the system is tested, the project will begin underground at Vale’s Creighton mine.


“Growing fish in northern Ontario is extremely difficult because you have to heat the water,” Watson said. “And it costs you money to heat the water.”


But deep below the earth’s surface, that heat is naturally occurring and plentiful.


Watson said there's another upside: the waste from the fish will be used as fertilizer for the tree seedlings, replacing the usual chemicals.


To assist with the project, Vale enlisted Manitoulin Island aquaculture expert Mike Meeker, who said conditions underground are perfect for fish farming. He added that the greenhouse lights used for the trees will work just fine for the fish.


Watson said, as far as he knows, the project is a first.


“We are miners by trade,” he said. “We are certainly not used to growing fish.”


  • Children Mining Gold in Mali

    Human Rights Watch: At least 20,000 children work in Malian artisanal gold mines under extremely harsh and dangerous conditions. These children literally risk life and limb. They carry loads heavier than their own weight, climb into unstable shafts, and touch and inhale mercury, one of the most toxic substances on earth. Courtesy NBC Rock Center

  • Colombian Coca Farmers Turn To Gold-Mining

    Cocaine farmers in Colombia are leaving the drug business and moving into illegal gold-mining. Authorities have shut down scores of mines in the northwestern province of Cordoba in a crackdown on illegal mining that started in September. About 400 police took part in the sweep. Communities near the unregulated mines suffer from the "improper use of mercury and other contaminating substances" found in soil and bodies of water, officials said. Al Jazeera's Monica Villamizar reports from Norosi.

  • Night Mining

    Doscovery's Gold Rush takes a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of mining at night.

  • Strip Mining In Nova Scotia

    Pioneer Coal Strip Mine in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. This 40 foot seam of coal is said to be the thickest in the world. The front end loader is a LeTourneau L950 and has a 18yd bucket. A D-11 CAT is pushing fill. CHECK OUT MY OTHER CHANNEL www.youtube.com

  • Mining The Last Frontier

    Lucrative mining projects backed by foreign investors are destroying forests and threatening indigenous tribes who live off the land in the Philippines' Palawan. 101 East explores if a balance could be struck between development and local interests.

  • Peru's Mining Boom

    Peru is enjoying a mining boom, 4.6 billion dollars worth of foreign investments were pumped into the industry this year. The high demand for minerals in Southeast Asia has led countries like China to invest in Peru. Towns like Morococha have enjoyed better working conditions following the mining boom. However, new mining projects have met fierce resistance in other parts of the county because they fear the mine would affect local water supplies. Al Jazeera's Mariana Sanchez reports from Morococha, Peru.

FOLLOW GREEN

Filed by Daniel Tencer  |