Special Issue "Biogeochemistry of Acid Mine Drainage"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Liliana Lefticariu

Department of Geology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: acid mine drainage; coal weathering; pyrite oxidation; sulfur isotopes; sulfur cycling; bioremediation; acidophilic and acidotolerant microorganism
Guest Editor
Dr. Irene Sánchez-Andrea

Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University, 6708 WE Wageningen, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Interests: acid mine drainage; sulfate-reducing bacteria; sulfur cycling; bioremediation; acidophilic and acidotolerant microorganisms; physiology; low-pH adaptations; microbial diversity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Acid mine drainages (AMD) are low-pH waters that contain toxic concentrations of diverse metals, such as Fe, Al, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, Ni, Co, or Cr, frequently associated with coal and metallic mining and processing activities. The number of terrestrial ecosystems impacted by AMD is continuously increasing due to a nonstop societal demand of metals for a large diversity of applications and nowadays AMD represents a serious worldwide environmental threat. It affects terrestrial biogeochemical cycle of sulfur, but also nutrient and metal cycles both at local and increasingly global scales. To minimize the degradation of surface-water resources by AMD, bioremediation strategies using a combination of biological and geochemical approaches have been used in many mining districts throughout the world. Even though the short-term remediation of AMD is usually achieved when employing both active and passive technologies, the long-term remediation of AMD remains a considerable challenge.

This Special Issue aims to publish papers of recent geochemical and microbiological research on acid-mine drainage and control/remediation technologies. We are also interested in the physiology and phylogeny of the acidophilic microbial communities inhabiting these extreme environments as well as the (meta)omics technologies used to deepen our understanding including (meta)genomics, (meta)proteomics, etc.

Dr. Liliana Lefticariu
Dr. Irene Sánchez-Andrea
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • acid mine drainage
  • pyrite oxidation
  • sulfate-reducing bacteria
  • sulfur cycling
  • sulfur isotopes
  • coal weathering
  • bioremediation
  • acidophilic and acidotolerant microorganisms
  • physiology
  • low-pH adaptations
  • microbial diversity

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Heterotrophic Microbial Stimulation through Biosolids Addition for Enhanced Acid Mine Drainage Control
Minerals 2017, 7(6), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7060105
Received: 11 May 2017 / Revised: 14 June 2017 / Accepted: 15 June 2017 / Published: 19 June 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3619 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The effective control and treatment of acid mine drainage (AMD) from sulfide-containing mine wastes is of fundamental importance for current and future long-term sustainable and cost-effective mining industry operations, and for sustainable management of legacy AMD sites. Historically, AMD management has focused on [...] Read more.
The effective control and treatment of acid mine drainage (AMD) from sulfide-containing mine wastes is of fundamental importance for current and future long-term sustainable and cost-effective mining industry operations, and for sustainable management of legacy AMD sites. Historically, AMD management has focused on the use of expensive neutralising chemicals to treat toxic leachates. Accordingly, there is a need to develop more cost-effective and efficient methods to prevent AMD at source. Laboratory kinetic leach column experiments, designed to mimic a sulfide-containing waste rock dump, were conducted to assess the potential of organic waste carbon supplements to stimulate heterotrophic microbial growth, and supress pyrite oxidation and AMD production. Microbiological results showed that the addition of biosolids was effective at maintaining high microbial heterotroph populations and preventing AMD generation over a period of 80 weeks, as verified by leachate chemistry and electron microscopy analyses. This research contributes to the ongoing development of a cost effective, multi-barrier geochemical-microbial control strategy for reduced mineral sulfide oxidation rates at source. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biogeochemistry of Acid Mine Drainage)
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Open AccessArticle
Control of Acid Generation from Pyrite Oxidation in a Highly Reactive Natural Waste: A Laboratory Case Study
Minerals 2017, 7(6), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7060089
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 23 May 2017 / Accepted: 25 May 2017 / Published: 30 May 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2041 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Laboratory kinetic leach column (KLC) tests were carried out to define the conditions required to control acid generation from a highly reactive, potentially acid-forming (PAF) iron ore waste rock. It was found that lime addition (0.1 wt % blended) plus either blending of [...] Read more.
Laboratory kinetic leach column (KLC) tests were carried out to define the conditions required to control acid generation from a highly reactive, potentially acid-forming (PAF) iron ore waste rock. It was found that lime addition (0.1 wt % blended) plus either blending of silicates (25 wt % K-feldspar and 25 wt % chlorite), or addition of a non-acid forming (NAF) top cover containing about 10% dolomite (PAF:NAF = 5:1 wt %), when watered/flushed with lime-saturated water, greatly reduced acid generation as compared to the control KLC (PAF alone, watered/flushed with Milli-Q water), but did not result in circum-neutral pH as required for pyrite surface passivation and effective acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD) mitigation. In contrast, the combined use of these treatments—blended lime and silicates with an NAF cover and watering/flushing with lime-saturated water—resulted in leachate pH of 12 (up to 24 weeks). Mass balance calculations for Ca2+ and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analyses suggest that calcite or gypsum may have formed in the NAF-amended KLCs and lime with added silicate KLC. Although the combined approach in the form trialled here may not be practical or cost-effective, control of a highly reactive natural PAF waste by pyrite surface passivation appears to be possible, and an improved treatment methodology (e.g., slightly increased lime blending without the need for further lime watering/flushing) could usefully be examined in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biogeochemistry of Acid Mine Drainage)
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Open AccessArticle
Strategies for Reduced Acid and Metalliferous Drainage by Pyrite Surface Passivation
Minerals 2017, 7(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7030042
Received: 16 December 2016 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (4465 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD) is broadly accepted to be a major global environmental problem facing the mining industry, requiring expensive management and mitigation. A series of laboratory-scale kinetic leach column (KLC) experiments, using both synthetic and natural mine wastes, were carried out [...] Read more.
Acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD) is broadly accepted to be a major global environmental problem facing the mining industry, requiring expensive management and mitigation. A series of laboratory-scale kinetic leach column (KLC) experiments, using both synthetic and natural mine wastes, were carried out to test the efficacy of our pyrite passivation strategy (developed from previous research) for robust and sustainable AMD management. For the synthetic waste KLC tests, initial treatment with lime-saturated water was found to be of paramount importance for maintaining long-term circum-neutral pH, favourable for the formation and preservation of the pyrite surface passivating layer and reduced acid generation rate. Following the initial lime-saturated water treatment, minimal additional alkalinity (calcite-saturated water) was required to maintain circum-neutral pH for the maintenance of pyrite surface passivation. KLC tests examining natural potentially acid forming (PAF) waste, with much greater peak acidity than that of the synthetic waste, blended with lime (≈2 wt %) with and without natural non-acid-forming (NAF) waste covers, were carried out. The addition of lime and use of NAF covers maintained circum-neutral leachate pH up to 24 weeks. During this time, the net acidity generated was found to be significantly reduced by the overlying NAF cover. If the reduced rate of acidity production from the natural PAF waste is sustained, the addition of smaller (more economically-feasible) amounts of lime, together with application of NAF wastes as covers, could be trialled as a potential cost-effective AMD mitigation strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biogeochemistry of Acid Mine Drainage)
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Open AccessArticle
Sulfur Isotope Fractionation as an Indicator of Biogeochemical Processes in an AMD Passive Bioremediation System
Minerals 2017, 7(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7030041
Received: 2 February 2017 / Revised: 11 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (6325 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Sulfate, the main dissolved contaminant in acid mine drainage (AMD), is ubiquitous in watersheds affected by coal and metal mining operations worldwide. Engineered passive bioremediation systems (PBS) are low-cost technologies that remediate sulfate contamination by promoting (1) precipitation of sulfate-bearing compounds, such as [...] Read more.
Sulfate, the main dissolved contaminant in acid mine drainage (AMD), is ubiquitous in watersheds affected by coal and metal mining operations worldwide. Engineered passive bioremediation systems (PBS) are low-cost technologies that remediate sulfate contamination by promoting (1) precipitation of sulfate-bearing compounds, such as schwertmannite and gypsum; and (2) microbially-mediated sulfate reduction (BSR) to sulfide with subsequent precipitation of sulfide minerals. In this study, chemical and sulfur isotopic data are used to infer multiple pathways for sulfate sequestration in the Tab-Simco PBS. By simultaneously monitoring sulfate concentrations and δ34SSO4 values at four sampling points across the PBS, we (1) identified that the organic layer within the bioreactor was the primary site of BSR processes contributing to sulfate sequestration; (2) observed seasonal variations of BSR processes; (3) estimated that initially the BSR processes contributed up to 30% to sulfate sequestration in the Tab-Simco bioreactor; and (4) determined that BSR contribution to sulfate sequestration continuously declined over the PBS operational lifetime. Together, our results highlight the utility of combining geochemical and microbial fingerprinting techniques to decipher complementary processes involved in sulfur cycling in a PBS as well as the value of adding the sulfur isotope approach as an essential tool to help understand, predict, prevent and mitigate sulfate contamination in AMD-impacted systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biogeochemistry of Acid Mine Drainage)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Microbial Diversity and Community Assembly across Environmental Gradients in Acid Mine Drainage
Minerals 2017, 7(6), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7060106
Received: 3 April 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 17 June 2017 / Published: 20 June 2017
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (3611 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Microorganisms play an important role in weathering sulfide minerals worldwide and thrive in metal-rich and extremely acidic environments in acid mine drainage (AMD). Advanced molecular methods provide in-depth information on the microbial diversity and community dynamics in the AMD-generating environment. Although the diversity [...] Read more.
Microorganisms play an important role in weathering sulfide minerals worldwide and thrive in metal-rich and extremely acidic environments in acid mine drainage (AMD). Advanced molecular methods provide in-depth information on the microbial diversity and community dynamics in the AMD-generating environment. Although the diversity is relatively low and in general inversely correlated with the acidity, a considerable number of microbial species have been detected and described in AMD ecosystems. The acidophilic microbial communities dominated by iron/sulfur-oxidizing microbes vary widely in their composition and structure across diverse environmental gradients. Environmental conditions affect the microbial community assembly via direct and indirect interactions with microbes, resulting in an environmentally dependent biogeographic pattern. This article summarizes the latest studies to provide a better understanding of the microbial biodiversity and community assembly in AMD environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biogeochemistry of Acid Mine Drainage)
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