Biotechnology for Environmentally Benign Gold Production

  • K. A. NatarajanEmail author


Biotechnology relevant to gold exploration, mining, recovery, and waste disposal is illustrated with respect to microbiological aspects of gold mineralization, biooxidation of refractory sulfide ores and concentrates, cyanide-free gold dissolution, and biodegradation of cyanide containing effluents. Current industrial status of technological innovations in the bioreactor processing and heap bioleaching of refractory sulfide ores and concentrates are discussed. Biodetoxification and degradation of cyanides in waste tailings and waters are critically analyzed with examples from industrial practice. Prospects for direct biodissolution of gold are brought out. Recovery of gold from spent leach cyanide solutions and electronics wastes is examined. Bright future prospects for biotechnology in gold exploration, mining, extraction, and waste disposal are emphasized.


Biotechnology Refractory gold ores and concentrates Biooxidation Bioheaps Microbial gold solubilization Biodegradation of cyanides 



The author is thankful to the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI) for Honorary Scientist Contingency grant.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Materials EngineeringIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

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