Bees the key to mine site rehab

International mining giant Vale has improved on mine site revegetation in Canada by starting a beekeeping program.

The Sudbury revegetation project was started in 2006 to cover mountains of molten nickel slag, dumped for decades around their smelter in Copper Cliff.

The $10 million dollar project has seen the slag mountains capped with soil and planted with clover, grass, trees and wildflowers.

Vale has now set up seven beehives to promote pollination of the revegetation site, which are tended by retired Vale employee Wayne Tonelli.

The beehives are protected in a mobile utility trailer, to prevent predators such as bears from gaining access to the hives.

The move has been applauded by local Sudbury beekeeper Marnie Oystrick, who said it was fabulous that a big company was getting involved in beekeeping.

"I think it's fabulous because it's a big company and they're harvesting resources from the area,” she said.

“It's their opportunity to give back to the environment and put things back to where they were.”

Oystrick said Vale’s involvement would be good for raising the profile of beekeeping.

"Bees are in trouble right now. There's a lot of environmental stresses on bees. When a big company like Vale gives a little back into beekeeping, in general, it makes people aware and helps the bees."

CBCnews Sudbury reported that as production of honey increases in years to come Vale hopes to donate excess honey to the local food bank or soup kitchen.

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