Reflections on and Considerations for Biotech
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1993
The history, current applications and future of biotechnical developments in the metals' extraction industry are reviewed. Bioleaching of copper minerals continues to be the most significant application. Uranium bioleaching was successfully demonstrated at industrial scale. Developments are now being made in biooxidative pretreatment of refractory gold concentrates, ores and low-grade materials. Advancements are forthcoming in water and solid mine waste bioreclamation, including metals' biosorption, wetland treatment of acid mine drainage, and biodegradation of cyanide in spent, heap-leach operations. Better understanding of the types and functions of microorganisms involved in metal interactions could advance genetic engineering applications in bioleaching and bioreclamation.