Genomics-Driven Improvements in Bioleaching, Sulfur, and Selenium Stabilization in Mine Operations

Challenge

Base metal extraction from sulfide minerals across Canada has created large volumes of sulfide-laden waste tailings and rocks. This waste poses a significant acid mine drainage risk.

The Elements of Bio-mining project will harness the capabilities of microbial communities to stabilize mine wastes to prevent acid mine drainage and make the recovery process economic by recovering valuable metals (Ni, Cu, Zn).

Project Deliverables

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    High Temperature Bioleach

    Bioleaching proccesses for Sudbury’s high concentration iron sulfidic tailings to recover the entrained nickel while converting sulfide to elemental sulfur to prevent acid mine drainage liabilities.

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    In-situ Heap-leach Biotreatment

    In-situ heap-leaching treatment processes to decrease acid mine drainage potential and recover metals in low sulfide content waste ores.

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    Bio-processes Treating Mine Waters

    Bio-processes to stabilize selenium- and sulfate-containing compounds in waters


Project News

For all three processes, standard operating procedures, process control algorithms, diagnostic tools, and Life Cycle Analysis will be developed to ensure successful implementation into practice.