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By A.J. Roan
Metal Tech News 

Earth's tiniest miners help environment

University of Waterloo enlist microbes to recover mine tailings Metal Tech News - May 3, 2023


Last updated 5/8/2023 at 11:40am

Black schist material bioleached at Talvivaara Sotkamo Mine in Finland.

Talvivaara Mining Company Plc

One of the earliest commercial applications of bioleaching is the Talvivaara Sotkamo Mine in Finland. Here, a pile of low-grade black schist containing nickel, copper, cobalt, and zinc was drizzled with acid and injected with specific microbes.

Similar to some International Space Station experiments for mining in space, the University of Waterloo in Southern Ontario has been using microorganisms as an environmentally friendly means of breaking down tailings here on Earth, reclaiming critical resources and cleaning up the leftovers of yesteryear at the same time.

A common byproduct of mining, tailings are typically fine-grained waste m...

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