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Minerals 2014, 4(2), 279-292; doi:10.3390/min4020279

Recent Developments in Microbiological Approaches for Securing Mine Wastes and for Recovering Metals from Mine Waters

College of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Deiniol Road, Bangor LL57 2UW, UK
Received: 11 March 2014 / Revised: 3 April 2014 / Accepted: 10 April 2014 / Published: 14 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mine Waste Characterization, Management and Remediation)
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Abstract

Mining of metals and coals generates solid and liquid wastes that are potentially hazardous to the environment. Traditional methods to reduce the production of pollutants from mining and to treat impacted water courses are mostly physico-chemical in nature, though passive remediation of mine waters utilizes reactions that are catalysed by microorganisms. This paper reviews recent advances in biotechnologies that have been proposed both to secure reactive mine tailings and to remediate mine waters. Empirical management of tailings ponds to promote the growth of micro-algae that sustain populations of bacteria that essentially reverse the processes involved in the formation of acid mine drainage has been proposed. Elsewhere, targeted biomineralization has been demonstrated to produce solid products that allow metals present in mine waters to be recovered and recycled, rather than to be disposed of in landfill. View Full-Text
Keywords: acid mine drainage; biomineralization; bioremediation; bioshrouding; ecological engineering; mine tailings; sulfate-reducing bacteria acid mine drainage; biomineralization; bioremediation; bioshrouding; ecological engineering; mine tailings; sulfate-reducing bacteria
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Johnson, D.B. Recent Developments in Microbiological Approaches for Securing Mine Wastes and for Recovering Metals from Mine Waters. Minerals 2014, 4, 279-292.

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