Biotechnologies that Utilise Acidophiles
Susan T.L. Harrison
from: Acidophiles: Life in Extremely Acidic Environments (Edited by: Raquel Quatrini and D. Barrie Johnson). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2016) Pages: 265-284.
The bioleaching of mineral sulfides provides the most prevalent anthropogenic application of chemolithotrophic acidophiles. The same reactions, occurring unconstrained in the environment, are also the cause of acid mine drainage (AMD), a major issue with respect to water pollution. In this chapter, the role of these microorganisms in processes for metal recovery through tank, heap, dump and in situ leaching systems is described. Their potential in gold and copper recovery is demonstrated through discussion of existing processes and operations. The potential to expand the relevance of these technologies to other metals, low grade and complex mineral ores and concentrates is explored. Further, the importance of developing processes for the environmentally responsible processing of wastes from both mining operations and end-of-life products is raised as are the challenges for ensuring process efficiency while minimising the environmental footprint read more ...