The future of biotechnology for gold exploration and processing

Zammit, Carla M., Cook, Nigel, Brugger, Joel, Ciobanu, Cristiana L. and Reith, Frank (2012) The future of biotechnology for gold exploration and processing. Minerals Engineering, 32 45-53. doi:10.1016/j.mineng.2012.03.016

Author Zammit, Carla M.
Cook, Nigel
Brugger, Joel
Ciobanu, Cristiana L.
Reith, Frank
Title The future of biotechnology for gold exploration and processing
Journal name Minerals Engineering   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0892-6875
Publication date 2012-05-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.mineng.2012.03.016
Volume 32
Start page 45
End page 53
Total pages 9
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Language eng
Subject 1909 Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
2210 Mechanical Engineering
1600 Chemistry
2207 Control and Systems Engineering
Abstract The role of biological agents in the mining industry is currently limited to the use of microorganisms in bioleaching and bioremediation. However, there are a number of ways in which biotechnology will be used in the near future to aid the mining industry. This review focuses on the development of novel biotechnologies and the role they will play in gold exploration, processing and remediation. The development of these biotechnologies has been enabled by advances in our molecular-level understanding of the role microorganisms play in the solubilisation, dispersion and precipitation of gold, brought upon by the rapid development of molecular genetic techniques over the past decade. This fundamental knowledge is now being used to develop new methods for gold exploration, processing and remediation. An understanding of the distribution of microbial species in soils overlying mineralisation can be utilised to develop bioindicator systems that assist with gold exploration. An in-depth knowledge of how microorganisms interact with gold complexes is being used to develop biosensors, further supporting exploration. Processing technologies are being improved based upon advances in our understanding of the interactions between microorganisms, cyanide and gold. For instance, cyanide-producing microorganisms are being investigated for use in situ leaching of gold. In turn, the use of cyanide-utilising microorganisms for the degradation of cyanide is being explored. Combined the implementation of biotechnologies in the gold mining sector is set to revolutionise the industry, leading to the greener, more efficient extraction of gold.
Keyword Gold
Ore processing
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: School of Earth Sciences Papers
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