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Minerals 2018, 8(5), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8050199

Acid Rock Drainage or Not—Oxidative vs. Reductive Biofilms—A Microbial Question

1
Boojum Research Ltd., Toronto, ON M4T 1N5, Canada
2
Fakultät für Chemie, Biofilm Centre, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Essen 45141, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 1 May 2018 / Published: 7 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mineralogy)
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Abstract

Measures to counteract Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) generation need to start at the mineral surface, inhibiting mineral-oxidizing, acidophilic microbes. Laboratory and long-term field tests with pyrite-containing mining wastes—where carbonaceous phosphate mining waste (CPMW) was added—resulted in low acidity and near neutral drainage. The effect was reproducible and confirmed by several independent research groups. The improved drainage was shown to involve an organic coating, likely a biofilm. The biofilm formation was confirmed when CPMW was added to lignite coal waste with an initial pH of 1. Forty-five days after the addition, the coal waste was dominated by heterotrophic microorganisms in biofilms. Reviewing the scientific literature provides ample support that CPMW has physical and chemical characteristics which can induce a strong inhibitory effect on sulphide oxidation by triggering the formation of an organic coating, a biofilm, over the mineral surface. CPMW characteristics provide the cornerstone of a new technology which might lead to reduction of sulphide oxidation in mine wastes. A hypothesis for testing this technology is presented. The use of such a technology could result in an economical and sustainable approach to mine waste and water management. View Full-Text
Keywords: microbial sulphide oxidation; corrosion; mine waste and water remediation; biofilm development; inhibition of acid mine and rock drainage; mine waste management; microbial niche construction microbial sulphide oxidation; corrosion; mine waste and water remediation; biofilm development; inhibition of acid mine and rock drainage; mine waste management; microbial niche construction
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Kalin, M.; Wheeler, W.N.; Bellenberg, S. Acid Rock Drainage or Not—Oxidative vs. Reductive Biofilms—A Microbial Question. Minerals 2018, 8, 199.

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