Making pyrrhotite waste remediation pay for itself

Researchers at the University of Toronto are working on developing a bioleaching process to extract nickeliferous pyrrhotite waste from tailings ponds in the Sudbury area in order to remediate the land and recover up to $11 billion worth of nickel

University of Toronto researchers are working to develop a bioleaching process that could help mining companies reclaim tailings ponds and recover up to $11 billion worth of nickel from them in the process. Courtesy of Glencore

Bacterial mutants and hydrogen peroxide may be keys to reclaiming value from tailings ponds clean-up

By Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco (Article was originally published in CIM Magazine here. )

While the technology could offset the cost of remediating the tailings ponds, according to the researchers the process to extract nickel from pyrrhotite is complex. A combination of bacterial mutants and hydrogen peroxide may be key to not only remove reactive material from the tailings and leave behind a benign product, but to extract billions of dollars worth of nickel and other metals.


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