Biotechnologies for remediation and pollution control in the mining industry

Bernoth, L. ; Firth, I. ; McAllister, P. ; Rhodes, S.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
As biotechnologies emerge from laboratories into main-stream application, the benefits they offer are judged against competing technologies and business criteria. Bioremediation technologies have passed this test and are now widely used for the remediation of contaminated soils and groundwaters. Bioremediation includes several distinct techniques that are used for the treatment of excavated soil and includes other techniques that are used for in situ applications. They play an important and growing role in the mining industry, for cost-effective waste management and site remediation. Most applications have been for petroleum contaminants, but advances continue to be made in the treatment of more difficult organic and inorganic species. This paper discusses the role of biotechnologies in remediation and pollution control from a mining-industry perspective. Several case studies are presented, including the land application of oily wastewater from maintenance workshops, the composting of hydrocarbon-contaminated soils and sludges, the bioventing of hydrocarbon solvents, the intrinsic bioremediation of diesel hydrocarbons, the biotreatment of cyanide in water from a gold mine, and the removal of manganese from acidic mine drainage.
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