Special Issue "Mineral Extraction from the Mineral Microbiome"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Mineral Processing and Metallurgy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 June 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Scott Dunbar

Norman B Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada 
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Interests: applications of biotechnology to mineral extraction; mineral microbiome; business models in mining 
Guest Editor
Mr. Robert Greene

Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
E-Mail
Interests: biotechnology applications in mining, mineral processing, metallurgy, and remediation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

All minerals used by humans have been taken from the Earth’s crust using methods fundamentally unchanged over millennia. Rocks are found that contain high concentrations of metals and broken open, the ore minerals are concentrated, the metals are extracted from the ores and then purified. While more effective machines, explosives, and chemicals have been steadily developed since the industrial revolution, the use of biotechnology in mining has been restricted to variations of the bioleaching occurring naturally in leach pits for hundreds of years. Biotechnology is a relative newcomer to mining compared to technologies born of innovations in the physical and chemical sciences that are well established with proven low risk thresholds. Consider, though, that the genetic code of life was discovered in 1953. Six and a half decades later, pocket size DNA sequencers are available for $1000 and microbial gene editing is a commercial service. With these new tools, the mineral microbiome can be explored for novel biological structures and systems that have evolved to interact with specific minerals and metal ions. The result will be a much deeper understanding of the mineral microbiome, one that could lead to paradigm-changing methods of mineral extraction. The dissemination of these possibilities is the motivation for this Special Issue.

Prof. Scott Dunbar
Mr. Robert Greene
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

  • mineral processing
  • hydrometallurgy
  • remediation
  • molecular biology
  • mineral microbiome
  • microbial metabolism
  • adsorption/absorption
  • genetic engineering
  • synthetic biology

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Electrochemical Behavior of Ocean Polymetallic Nodules and Low-Grade Nickel Sulfide Ore in Acidithiobacillus Ferrooxidans-Coupled Bio-Leaching
Minerals 2019, 9(2), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9020070
Received: 17 November 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 16 January 2019 / Published: 24 January 2019
PDF Full-text (10362 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Efficient extraction of Ni, Co, Cu, and Mn from low-grade and refractory ores is a common technical challenge. The present study proposes an Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans-coupled leaching of Ni, Cu, Co, and Mn from oceanic polymetallic nodules and low-grade nickel sulfide ore, and [...] Read more.
Efficient extraction of Ni, Co, Cu, and Mn from low-grade and refractory ores is a common technical challenge. The present study proposes an Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans-coupled leaching of Ni, Cu, Co, and Mn from oceanic polymetallic nodules and low-grade nickel sulfide ore, and focuses on the electrochemical behavior of the ores in simulated bio-leaching solutions. In the dissolution of polymetallic nodules, A. ferrooxidans facilitates the diffusion of H+ and accelerates electron transfer, producing a decrease in charge transfer resistance and promoting the Mn(IV)-preceding reaction. The use of A. ferrooxidans is beneficial for lower impedance of sulfur-nickel ore, faster diffusion rate of product layer, and better transformation of the Fe3+/Fe2+ couple and S0/S2− couple. A. ferrooxidans increases the potential difference between the nodule cathode and sulfide anode, and increases electron liberation from the sulfide ore. This motivates a significant increase in the average extraction rates of Ni, Co, Cu, and Mn in the bacterial solution. The bio-leaching efficiencies of Ni, Co, Cu, and Mn were as high as 95.4%, 97.8%, 92.2% and 97.3%, respectively, representing improvements of 17.1%, 11.5%, 14.3% and 12.9% relative to that of the germ- and Fe(III)-free acidic 9 K basic system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Extraction from the Mineral Microbiome)
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