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BIOMET: Efficient metal recovery of mining wastewater by biological treatment

Reference number
Funding from Vinnova SEK 400 000
Project duration August 2014 - April 2015
Status Completed
Venture The strategic innovation programme for Swedish mining and metal producing industry - SIP Swedish Mining Innovation

Purpose and goal

The aim of the project was to reach increase resource efficiency and reduce environmental footprint of mining by reduced metal emissions through designing smart bioprocesses. The project has reached that goal by suggesting a bioprocess toolbox for mine drainage. Each of the tools in the box has been evaluated in respect to selective metal recovery, investment, energy input, labor, chemical requirement and metal leakage. The tools can have an impact on resource efficiency. However, the environmental benefits will be dominating.

Results and expected effects

Bioprocesses are potentially competitive in treating drainage in Swedish conditions by high efficiency and decreased sludge cost. However, innovations are required to increase productivity and allow cost-efficient heating. Generally less chemical input is required but the microorganisms need an energy source that affects the performance. The location of the process is also essential. Clearing lakes can be excellent incubators for algae metal sorption but adding fertilizer to compensate low phosphate levels proposes a risk. A toolbox was assessed to address different needs.

Approach and implementation

Reviews were developed on i) environmental goals and legislations on national and European level affecting the Swedish mining industry and mine drainage treatment method, ii) selections of mine drainage water from different location, different mine operation process and with different quality and iii) biological treatment methods with respect to efficiency, productivity, cost and variables affecting those. In addition, experiments were performed to bridge literature gap. The project generated a report, a toolbox, two case studies and a presentation at a conference.

The project description has been provided by the project members themselves and the text has not been looked at by our editors.

Last updated 25 November 2019

Reference number 2014-01918

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