Microorganisms, biotechnology and acid rock drainage - emphasis on passive-biological control and treatment methods

Kuyucak, N.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 11
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Acid rock drainage (ARD) resulting from the natural oxidation of sulfide mineral wastes has become a major concern to the mining industry, both during the operational period and after mine closure. ARD is generally characterized by high acidity and high concentrations of dissolved metals and sulfates. If the generation of acid cannot be prevented or controlled, it must be treated to eliminate acidity and to reduce the concentration of heavy metals and suspended solids before release to the environment. Microorganisms play an important catalytic role in the generation of ARD. Several prevention, control and treatment technologies that are based on microbiological activities have been developed. The role of microorganisms and biotechnology in the generation of ARD and their role in the methods used for prevention, control and treatment are discussed in this paper. Recently developed passive and biological treatment processes that have been implemented at mine sites are emphasized in this paper. Benefits, limitations and design criteria for passive biological processes are also presented.
Full Article Download:
(979 kb)