Lakehead University Receives CFI Grant for Greener Mining Technology

January 15, 2014 ­­— Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University researchers will soon be able to take waste from the forest industry to create environmentally-friendly, bio-based chemicals used for mine rehabilitation.

A $132,161 grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) allows Lakehead University to purchase equipment that will be used to characterize lignin-based products that will be applied in various industries including mining.

“Currently, oil-based chemicals are used as flocculants and dispersants in mining during the rehabilitation process. We will try to make similar chemicals that are bio-based,” said Dr. Pedram Fatehi, Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering.

“Bio-based chemicals will be better for the environment and more efficient. They will replace the oil-based chemicals that are more toxic and expensive,” said Dr. Fatehi, who will utilize the equipment with Lakehead University researchers Dr. Baoqiang Liao (Chemical Engineering), Dr. Mat Leitch (Faculty of Natural Resources Management) and a dozen students.

The CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund grant will help Lakehead University purchase instruments to perform gel permeation chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography, dynamic light scattering and photometric dispersion analysis. Researchers will utilize these instruments to create bio-based chemicals to improve mine rehabilitation.

“Without the CFI grant we couldn’t do this research. These instruments are essential to our work and I thank the CFI for this valuable assistance. This will help my research and it will help the pulp and mining industries to make green integrated processes,” Dr. Fatehi said.

Dr. Rod Hanley, Lakehead University Provost and Vice-President (Academic), thanked the CFI for the grant.

“This state-of-the-art equipment allows our researchers and students to continue with their important work. This CFI grant recognizes the work of our world-class researchers and the importance of investing in green technology,” Dr. Hanley said.

Dr. Pedram Fatehi, Lakehead University Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering.

 Dr. Pedram Fatehi, Lakehead University Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering. 


Lakehead University celebrates 50 years of exceptional and unconventional education in 2015. Guided by a new Strategic Plan (2013-2018), and its fresh vision, mission, and belief statement, our University’s focus is nurturing scholarship. Over 8,700 students and 2,000 faculty and staff learn and work in ten faculties at two campuses in Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ontario. Lakehead is among Canada’s Top 10 undergraduate universities (2014 Maclean’s University Rankings), as well as 1st in Ontario and 2nd in Canada for its innovative research (Re$earch Infosource). Our Thunder Bay campus is home to Ontario’s first new Faculty of Law in 44 years (Fall 2013) and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine's West Campus. Development continues at our Orillia campus to maintain its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) status. Share your Lakehead story as it relates to our new Strategic Plan at, and for more about Lakehead University, visit