Microbial mining technique recovers metals and stores carbon

Thursday, April 27, 2023
Mine tailing

A new mining technique uses microbes to recover metals and store carbon in the waste produced by mining. Adopting this approach of reusing mining waste, could transform the mining industry and create a greener and more sustainable future.

“We can take tailings that were produced in the past and recover more resources from those waste materials and, in doing so, also reduce the risk of residual metals entering into local waterways or groundwater,” said Dr. Jenine McCutcheon, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

In addition to improving resource recovery, the microbes capture carbon dioxide from the air and store it within the mine tailings as new minerals. This process helps offset some of the emissions released while the mine was active and stabilizes the tailings.

Please visit Waterloo News to learn more about this microbial mining technique.

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