Biomining - a compilation of two projects

Redox: Application of a novel approach for the recovery of metals from ferric iron minerals by bacterially-catalyzed reductive dissolution

MetalRecovery: Development and application of a novel and sustainable process for bioremediating and recovering transition metals from mine drainage waters.

Projetct aims:

To identify acidic, metal-rich drainage waters generated at Vale-operated mines in Brazil which would be amenable to the proposed remediation/metal recovery technology
To establish sulfidogenic bioreactors in the Bangor and ITV (Belem) laboratories, and to test these using synthetic mine waters formulated from the chemistries of selected Vale AMDs
To establish cultures of acidophilic micro-algae in the Bangor and ITV laboratories using isolates previously obtained from European mine waters (at Bangor) and new isolates enriched from Brazilian mine waters
To quantify cellular and extracellular organic carbon synthesis by acidophilic micro-algae
To identify extracellular organic compounds produced by acidophilic micro-algae
To test the effectiveness of cellular and extracellular organic carbon synthesized by acidophilic micro-algae on sustaining sulfide generation by acidophilic consortia, relative to single organic substrates, such as glycerol
To integrate micro-algae production and metal precipitation (via sulfidogenesis) using coupled modules operating as continuous flow systems
To educate and train postgraduate students from the ITV in the theory and application of the novel systems, in a program which leads to the award of a higher degree (M.Sc, M.Res. or PhD)
To collaborate closely with research personnel at the ITV, to allow technology transfer from Bangor to Belem
To identify ferric iron minerals from Vale’s operations with suitable iron oxide content and screen for their capacity to be leached by a reductive process to facilitate the extraction of soluble metal (s)
To study reductive dissolution process in column reactors to mimic heap leaching environments.

Funding: Vale


Berrie Johnson - Bangor University
Denise Bevilaqua - UNESP Araraquara