Fish rearing

In 2011, Vale’s Environment Department began raising rainbow trout for stocking Sudbury area lakes and rivers.

A Vale employee looks after a blue tank full of fish Rainbow trout fingerlings were placed in two 1,500-litre tanks in Vale’s surface greenhouse in Copper Cliff. This pilot project was initiated in order to determine the feasibility of running a similar operation at Vale’s underground Creighton Mine greenhouse. Vale consulted with local fish farming expert Mike Meeker of Meeker’s Aquaculture on Manitoulin Island in order to set up the operation and define the operating procedures.

The surface greenhouse rainbow trout rearing was highly successful. After approximately five months of feeding and caring for the fish, they had grown to approximately 20 centimetres in length and were ready to be transported to the wild.

Vale worked with the local office of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to choose an appropriate water body for stocking the rainbow trout. Ministry officials recommended the Onaping River. This location was favoured by Vale due to historical mining impacts on the river system.

The fish provided a boost to the river’s fish population and biodiversity, providing a highly valued resource for the community to enjoy.

Vale has purchased fish-rearing equipment for its underground greenhouse operation and plans to raise walleye to stock area lakes, much like the rainbow trout project. Vale will also continue to raise rainbow trout at the surface greenhouse.

Underground, Vale aims to replace typical chemical fertilizers currently used for tree seedlings with “natural fish waste” fertilizer generated by the fish, thereby creating a uniquely sustainable fish- and tree-growing operation. This operation will benefit from the year-round ambient underground temperatures of approximately 22 degrees Celsius.

Vale will continue to work with the Ministry and local fish and game clubs in order to choose donor sites that will allow the community to enjoy angling opportunities. The addition of fish to local lakes also helps to fulfill the goals of Sudbury’s Biodiversity Action Plan by increasing fish populations in formerly stressed lakes and rivers.

Reptile and Amphibian Biodiversity Restoration

A close-up shot of amphibians underwaterThrough extensive collaborations between mining companies, the City of Greater Sudbury and local residents, world-renowned re-greening and habitat restoration efforts have recovered many ecosystem functions in the Sudbury area. However, there is still much to be done.

Dr. Jacqueline Litzgus and Dr. Kiyoshi Sasaki, researchers at Laurentian University, in collaboration with Vale and the City of Greater Sudbury, are conducting a study to fill knowledge gaps in this regard. Their project supplements the City of Greater Sudbury’s Biodiversity Action Plan by refining strategies to facilitate the recovery of reptiles and amphibians in rehabilitated sites. In addition, this study will provide species inventory data on Vale’s properties, as well as tools to monitor ecological recovery in the Sudbury area that can be applied in other mining-impacted locations.