Many global mining activities release large amounts of acidic mine drainage with high levels of manganese (Mn) having potentially detrimental effects on the environment. This review provides a comprehensive assessment of the main implications and challenges of Mn(II) removal from mine drainage. We first present the sources of contamination from mineral processing, as well as the adverse effects of Mn on mining ecosystems. Then the comparison of several techniques to remove Mn(II) from wastewater, as well as an assessment of the challenges associated with precipitation, adsorption, and oxidation/filtration are provided. We also critically analyze remediation options with special emphasis on Mn-oxidizing bacteria (MnOB) and microalgae. Recent literature demonstrates that MnOB can efficiently oxidize dissolved Mn(II) to Mn(III, IV) through enzymatic catalysis. Microalgae can also accelerate Mn(II) oxidation through indirect oxidation by increasing solution pH and dissolved oxygen production during its growth. Microbial oxidation and the removal of Mn(II) have been effective in treating artificial wastewater and groundwater under neutral conditions with adequate oxygen. Compared to physicochemical techniques, the bioremediation of manganese mine drainage without the addition of chemical reagents is relatively inexpensive. However, wastewater from manganese mines is acidic and has low-levels of dissolved oxygen, which inhibit the oxidizing ability of MnOB. We propose an alternative treatment for manganese mine drainage that focuses on the synergistic interactions of Mn in wastewater with co-immobilized MnOB/microalgae.
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