Innovative and environmentally sustainable technology has been developed to tackle the growing scarcity of easy to mine deposits.
The BIOMOre project, part of the EU’s research and innovation program, is developing a new method of recovering metals from deep deposits by using controlled simulation of existing fractures combined with in-situ bioleaching.
This process uses both hydro-stimulation and in-situ bioleaching, which extracts metals from ores using innocuous living organisms and sulphuric acid. In an upcoming full scale technical implementation, two parallel drill holes are needed; one for injecting the leaching substance into the deposit, and the other for transferring the dissolved material to the process cycle.
The separation of metal, currently copper, will be realised in a downstream bioreactor.
This concept has a number of environmental benefits including reduced waste heaps, minimal infrastructure on the surface, no exposure to dust, and less chemical and noise effects.
The returning hot solution could also provide a suitable source of energy.
Bioleaching tests and evaluations will be conducted in a mine and laboratories in Poland.