Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 20, Issue 11, pp 7777–7786 | Cite as

Biogeometallurgical pre-mining characterization of ore deposits: an approach to increase sustainability in the mining process

  • Bernhard Dold
  • Leyla Weibel
Mining and the Environment - Understanding Processes, Assessing Impacts and Developing Remediation


Based on the knowledge obtained from acid mine drainage formation in mine waste environments (tailings impoundments and waste rock dumps), a new methodology is applied to characterize new ore deposits before exploitation starts. This gives the opportunity to design optimized processes for metal recovery of the different mineral assemblages in an ore deposit and at the same time to minimize the environmental impact and costs downstream for mine waste management. Additionally, the whole economic potential is evaluated including strategic elements. The methodology integrates high-resolution geochemistry by sequential extractions and quantitative mineralogy in combination with kinetic bioleach tests. The produced data set allows to define biogeometallurgical units in the ore deposit and to predict the behavior of each element, economically or environmentally relevant, along the mining process.


Acid mine drainage Biomining Sulfide oxidation Recovery Sustainability Hydrometallurgy Mineralogy Geochemistry Porphyry copper 



We thank the reviewer for constructive critics to improve the manuscript. We also thank the mining industry for their support and interest for new ideas.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainable Mining Research and Consult.EIRL (SUMIRCO.EIRL)Santiago de ChileChile
  2. 2.Advanced Mining Technology CenterUniversity of ChileSantiago de ChileChile

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