Project: Recognition of microbial functional communities and assessment of the mineralizing potential (bioleaching) for high-tech critical metals

Acronym BIOCriticalMetals
Project Topic This project is conceived as a need-driven-research, focused on the concept that waste can become a valuable resource, supplying metals that are extracted today by other processes, promoting recycling, minimizing harmful waste and hazard and dissipation. The selection of the target minerals/ metals in the project addresses the need for continuous supply of these in Europe for technology, anticipating a future cost effectiveness potential of the practical application of the expected research results. Innovative methods and processes for extracting even faint traces of these elements are the focus of the project. New characterized microorganisms with potential to be applied in biosolubilization, biomineralization and bioaccumulation will be obtained. The consortium will assess the microbial biodiversity in tailings where potentially critical high-tech metals may exist ( In, Ga, Te and W) but also relevant pollutants (As, Sb), located in different geological and climatic settings. Isolates will be tested in macrocosm conditions at the last part of the project. The ultimate focus will be to apply microorganisms in the extraction process through bioleaching and to recover the minerals from lixiviates by biomineralization and bioaccumulation. A comparative environmental risk assessment will be performed to residues produced by bioleaching with and without nanoparticles.
Network ERA-MIN
Call The Third ERA-MIN Joint Call (2015)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University of Coimbra Coordinator Portugal
2 University of Porto - Engineering Faculty Partner Portugal
3 National Research and Development Institute for Nonferrous and Rare Metals Partner Romania
4 National Institute of Research and Development for Biological Sciences Partner Romania
5 Universidad Nacional de San Luis Partner Argentina
6 Empresa de Desenvolvimento Mineiro Partner Portugal
7 Sojitz Beralt Tin and Wolfram S.A. Observer Portugal
8 Geoplano, S.A. Partner Portugal
9 G.T INGENIERIA S.A. Partner Argentina
10 Direction de Mineria de la Provincia de San Luis Partner Argentina
11 Comision Nacional de Energia Atomica Partner Argentina