A $7 million bio prospect that speeds up plant growth could be the solution to remove contaminants in waste process water in the mining industry.
PolyGenomX is a public unlisted company that has pioneered a method to deliver faster growth and higher yields from plants to be used for biofuels, such as jatropha and other species including sandalwood for oil.
Managing director Peter Rowe says a patent is pending and commercialisation is well underway as the company seeks to identify targets in the mining industry as a solution to sustainable water management.
“Process water from mines can contain a huge amount of salt and other contaminates that if not treated properly represent a major problem for surrounding ecosystems and in turn the industry as a whole,” says Rowe.
“Treatment of process water can be expensive, particularly in remote areas and in many cases the water cannot be recycled well enough for further use. The range of PolyGenomX solutions are significantly different to what’s currently used as it’s primarily biological in nature and can even rehabilitate a mine site back to its pre-existing vegetative state.”
The technology is based around the activation of dormant parts of a plant’s DNA without genetic modification. The process essentially turbo-charges certain naturally existing characteristics in a plant such as rapid growth properties and predispositions to thrive in various environments and soils.
“One of our many processes tailored to the mining industry is the ability to propagate trees that actively feed off salt and other contaminates, effectively stripping them out from the process water,” says Rowe.
“This water can then be safely used to irrigate land and crops and even fed back into natural water courses without any recourse to the local ecosystem. Our technology provides water management practices that permit the mining industry to take a huge leap forward in efficient use of water resources.”
PolyGenomX has developed a number of other applications for plant use in the mining industry including controlling seepage from various areas on a site into the water table and solutions for holding ponds at the end of their life cycle.
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