BioMinE Project Structure
WP3 - Biotreatment and Resource Recovery

Coordinator: Jacco HUISMAN - Paques

During the (bio)leaching both wanted and unwanted metals are dissolved. The metals of interest are recovered and further processed into usable metal half products like bars, sheets etc. However, often a (waste) stream with dissolved residual metals and high salt concentrations remains that must be treated in order to reuse the water or release into the environment.

Traditionally, the combined waste of the mines results in large basins with high concentrations of metals remaining in a more or less unstable form. These so-called tailings dam can be an environmental hazard, posing a considerable liability risk for mining companies.

In WP3 of the BioMinE project we are looking into the application of biotechnology to recover as much as possible of the valuable metals. Technology will be developed or improved to remove remaining metals and when required sulfate from the bleeds from the processes. The final goal is to obtain as much as possible socio-economic benefits. Summarised, the drivers of WP3 are as follows:

  • Eco–efficient & economic production
  • Highly efficient and selective metal recovery
  • Economic benefits
  • Reduction of wastes
  • Reduce toxicity of unavoidable wastes
  • Reduction of potential future liabilities
  • Fulfilment of high effluent standards, both chemically & (eco)toxicologically

To fulfil these drivers the following main topics will be investigated:

  1. Metal recovery and Sulphate Removal
  2. Biological Separation Processes
  3. Monitoring and Quality Assessment

Of course there will be a close cooperation with the other workpackages as depicted in the following diagram.

Dam and water containing high concentrations of metals
Source: BioMinE Consortium

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