What we solve
Exploitation of mining wastes
The amount of waste in mining and quarries in Europe accounts for 29 percent of all waste generated from over 400 million tons of material. This material poses a threat to our environment and health – but is still full of valuable minerals, metals and other elements. In addition, the metals contained in the waste are often much higher in content compared to ores currently being mined.
An economical and ecological waste treatment of such mining residues is necessary: Bioleaching by means of our bacterial consortia microlive® and appropriately adapted nutrients ekocomplex® for the extraction of metals and other elements in order to recover the minerals contained.
Biomining has been widespread for 50 years, mainly outside the EU, and has so far been used almost exclusively to extract copper and gold from sulphide ores. Chile has developed into an important developer of bioleaching on an industrial scale. Bioleaching activities also take place in the USA, Australia, Africa, Mexico and Brazil. Some of these also target mining waste. Currently around 5% of the world’s gold supply and 20% of copper are extracted from biomining. In addition to copper and gold production, cobalt, nickel, zinc and uranium are also produced from sulphides / sulphide waste.
Our different bacterial consortia microlive® can ecologically extract a large number of metals, metalloids and non-metals from various waste materials (which also consist of oxides, silicates, hydroxides, carbonates, etc.). We have registered our technology as an EU patent on ecological release of elements and degradation of organic substances using heterotrophic microorganisms – and have confirmed this with over 100 different materials in several bioleaching projects in the EU.