Microbial inoculum production for bioleaching of critical metals from tailings

Paper ID: 
Recycling of materials to new products
Published under CEST2023
Proceedings ISBN:
Proceedings ISSN: 2944-9820
Butu A., (Corresponding) RODINO S., (Corresponding) BUTU M.
In this paper, research is presented regarding the development and testing of strategies to identify the optimal solutions for the production of microbial inoculum for the bio-recovery of critical metals from tailings. The versatility and diversity of biotechnologies available offer the opportunity for an economically viable solution for treating ores with complex mineralogy and those not suitable for processing by traditional methods. Bioleaching is a real economic alternative for the treatment of mine tailings, which allows, depending on the chosen strategy, two possible outcomes: (i) a leachate enriched in target metals or (ii) a tailings enriched in target metals by leaching interfering components. Continued population growth, ever-increasing levels of economic activity and technological innovation lead to a rapid increase in resource consumption, making the sustainable use of resources an imperative issue for humanity. Therefore, in recent years, new ideas regarding the use of materials and circularization have emerged. On the one hand, traditional mining activity produced tailings that were deposited in tailings ponds, containing metals as by-products of the extraction processes. On the other hand, as we aim to expand human presence in space, we need to find viable approaches to achieve independence from terrestrial resources and space biomining becomes of great interest.
critical metals, bio-recovery, microbial consortium, biomining