BioMinE is an Integrated Project in the Sixth Framework Programme that will allow the integration of innovative
biotechnology based processes for recovery and/or removal of metals from primary materials (ores and concentrates),
and secondary materials (mining wastes, metallurgical slags, metal bearing scrap, power plant ashes, etc.).
The introduction of biometallurgical processes will lead to substantial improvements for metal production by
increased recovery, reduced costs, reduced energy demands, increased revenue, and new resources. Biometallurgy
has the potential for a major technology breakthrough in the metals and minerals industry. This is underlined by
the great interest shown by major international companies for this new
BioMinE is aimed at "the production of tomorrow" and involves biotechnological research to provide "radical changes in the Basic Materials industry for cleaner, safer and more eco-efficient production". The objective of BioMinE is to develop sustainable solutions covering the whole life cycle of products and equipment.
Technological breakthroughs will allow the integration of innovative biotechnology-based processes for recovery and/or removal of metals from primary materials such as ores and concentrates, secondary materials such as mining wastes, metallurgical slags, metal bearing scrap and combustion/power plant ashes. Processes will be developed, which give consideration for eco-design, eco- and renewable materials and zero waste, with the aim of protecting people and the environment.
The biotechnologies to be investigated will include bioleaching, biooxidation, biosorption, bioreduction, bioaccumulation, bioprecipitation, bioflotation, bioflocculation, and biosensors, as well as microbiological research. The ultimate objective will be the establishment of environmentally friendly biotechnologies that are economic, particularly at a small scale. They will provide an alternative to current technologies such as roasting and smelting.
The anticipated breakthroughs under the RTD programme will be commercially evaluated through integrated piloting of the new processes together with preliminary economic assessments. This will provide a sound basis for decisions by industrial companies on whether to then proceed to commercial demonstration. The work will be enhanced by Training and Educational activities. BioMinE will adopt a multi-discipline approach involving universities and research organisations, mining companies, waste treatment facilitators and equipment and instrument suppliers