Museum presents project that will launch global plan for sustainable cleanup of abandoned mines


The Bio+Mine project, led by scientists from the Natural History Museum in London, will showcase cutting-edge techniques to assess the environmental and social impact of former mining sites and rehabilitate them for future generations.

The work aims to establish a blueprint for future clean-ups that could be applied to active and abandoned mining sites around the world, including the UK, as well as defining requirements for mining companies in the early stages of mining applications.

The findings will be presented at the Royal Society’s free public Summer Science Exhibition (2-7 July 2024) alongside project researchers from the NHM, Imperial College London and the Philippines.

Mining is essential to meeting global demand for metals and resources critical to the green energy revolution, so there is an urgent need to find ways to limit the industry’s negative impact on the environment and biodiversity.

The Bio+Mine project, funded by DEFRA GCBC, brings together an international team of researchers in biology, mineralogy, engineering, environmental and social sciences with communities living and working adjacent to the project’s central site, the Sto. Niño, a former copper mine in northern Luzon, Philippines.

The Sto. Niño former mine was abandoned in 1982. Without active remediation, there has been a lasting impact on the local community, its water supply and its soils.

Working closely with communities, research teams from NHM, De La Salle University, Imperial College London, Mindanao State University and the University of New South Wales aim to better understand the problems associated with abandoned mines and co-design solutions to rehabilitate them.

Dr. Anne D. Jungblut, Director of Research at the Museum, says, “We are really looking forward to exhibiting at the Summer Science Exhibition and engaging with the public on Bio+Mine, a project that has been close to our hearts for over two years.

“At the heart of our approach, and what we hope to showcase, is the fundamental integration between social and applied sciences. At every stage of this project, we have drawn on the experience and expertise of local Indigenous communities and ensured that these key stakeholders are co-creators of future strategies that would impact their local environment. We believe this level of local trust is essential for a successful outcome.” »

The science exhibit, People, Nature and Mining, will showcase innovative techniques used throughout the project, including aerial drone surveys of geology and vegetation, bioprocessing technologies, acid mine drainage remediation, and genetic analysis of DNA from microbial life in polluted soil and water and the impact of metals on environments.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to meet the scientists involved and try out DNA sequencing technologies using Lego DNA strands and the Blocksford Brickopore sequencer. Drone technology will be on display, capable of providing centimetre-resolution landscapes to map and monitor former mining sites, forests and farmland.

To find out more about the Bio+Mine project and meet the scientists involved, as well as learn more about the 250 leading scientists doing equally mind-blowing science, visit the Royal Society’s flagship event, the free annual Summer Science Exhibition, in July.

The Natural History Museum is a world-leading science centre and one of the UK’s most visited attractions. A global source of curiosity, inspiration and joy. Our vision is to build a future in which people and the planet thrive. We aim to be a catalyst for change, engaging planetary advocates in everything we do. Our 350 scientists are finding solutions to the planetary emergency in every aspect of life. Visit, join and support the Natural History Museum today. Protecting the planet. It’s in our nature.

The Royal Society is an autonomous society of many of the world’s most eminent scientists from across the fields of science, engineering and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding charters from the 1660s, is to recognise, promote and support scientific excellence and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

The Society’s flagship event will feature mind-blowing science, thought-provoking talks and breathtaking demonstrations, with over 250 leading scientists on hand to answer questions and talk about their innovative work.

This article is originally published on


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