Short Course 2


Biotechnologies for the treatment of mining and metallurgical wastewater on the context of metal recovery


Dr. Denys K. Villa Gomez
School of Civil Engineering, The University of Queensland, QLD, Australia


In the last decades, stringent environmental regulations, following international and regional agreements and conventions have been implemented to minimize the environmental pollution caused by mine-impacted waters. The latter has forced industries not only to meet acceptable discharge standards of their waste streams but also to decrease their waste volumes. As a result, the application of conventional practices to treat these waters such as the addition of lime (Ca(OH)2), has become less attractive. Therefore, there has been a momentum in the development of more sustainable technologies, based on the use of microbes, that enable efficient and cost-effective metal removal not only to comply with regulatory requirements but also to create a circular economy by recovering valuable elements from waste. This course will provide a complete insight into the currently bio-based alternatives for mine wastewater treatment, including biological sulphate/sulphur reduction, biosorption, and enzymatic reductive precipitation.

At the completion of this course you should be able to:

  • Describe the fundamental principles of biotechnologies to recover metals from various wastewater streams, including the advantages, disadvantages and typical application areas of each technology;
  • Set a design basis for the different bio based technologies, conduct preliminary reactor sizing and calculate performance predictions;
  • Identify opportunities and challenges for metal recovery from different waste streams using life cycle thinking approaches.

The materials that will be handed out to the attendees are: a consisted workbook that includes theory as well as exercises, the ppt presentations and the information where you can find additional resources to improve your knowledge on this topic.