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Minerals 2018, 8(2), 42;

Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Microbiology of Molybdenum in Mining-Affected Environments

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet St., London WC1E 7HX, UK
Environment and Sustainability Institute and Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9FE, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 22 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fundamentals and Frontiers in Mineralogy)
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Molybdenum is an essential element for life, with growing production due to a constantly expanding variety of industrial applications. The potentially harmful effects of Mo on the environment, and on human and ecosystem health, require knowledge of Mo behavior in mining-affected environments. Mo is usually present in trace amounts in ore deposits, but mining exploitation can lead to wastes with very high Mo concentrations (up to 4000 mg/kg Mo for tailings), as well as soil, sediments and water contamination in surrounding areas. In mine wastes, molybdenum is liberated from sulfide mineral oxidation and can be sorbed onto secondary Fe(III)-minerals surfaces (jarosite, schwertmannite, ferrihydrite) at moderately acidic waters, or taken up in secondary minerals such as powellite and wulfenite at neutral to alkaline pH. To date, no Mo-metabolising bacteria have been isolated from mine wastes. However, laboratory and in-situ experiments in other types of contaminated land have suggested that several Mo-reducing and -oxidising bacteria may be involved in the cycling of Mo in and from mine wastes, with good potential for bioremediation. Overall, a general lack of data is highlighted, emphasizing the need for further research on the contamination, geochemistry, bio-availability and microbial cycling of Mo in mining-affected environments to improve environmental management and remediation actions. View Full-Text
Keywords: molybdenum; mining; mine waste; tailings; molybdenite; molybdate; powellite molybdenum; mining; mine waste; tailings; molybdenite; molybdate; powellite

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Frascoli, F.; Hudson-Edwards, K.A. Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Microbiology of Molybdenum in Mining-Affected Environments. Minerals 2018, 8, 42.

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