“Bioshrouding”—a novel approach for securing reactive mineral tailings
- First Online:
A novel technique (“bioshrouding”) for safeguarding highly reactive sulfidic mineral tailings deposits is proposed. In this, freshly milled wastes are colonised with ferric iron-reducing heterotrophic acidophilic bacteria that form biofilms on reactive mineral surfaces, thereby preventing or minimising colonisation by iron sulfide-oxidising chemolithotrophs such as Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and Leptospirillum spp. Data from initial experiments showed that dissolution of pyrite could be reduced by between 57 and 75% by “bioshrouding” the mineral with three different species of heterotrophic acidophiles (Acidiphilium, Acidocella and Acidobacterium spp.), under conditions that were conducive to microbial oxidative dissolution of the iron sulfide.