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Minerals 2018, 8(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8020042

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

1
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet St., London WC1E 7HX, UK
2
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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Abstract

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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