Table of Contents
Journal of Mining
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 507168, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/507168
Review Article

Exploitation of Bacterial Activities in Mineral Industry and Environmental Preservation: An Overview

1Department of Mining Engineering, Faculty of Petroleum and Mineral Engineering, Suez Canal University, Suez 62114, Egypt
2Department of Mining Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, Giza 12613, Egypt

Received 14 August 2013; Revised 21 October 2013; Accepted 4 November 2013

Academic Editor: Morteza Osanloo

Copyright © 2013 Ahmed A. S. Seifelnassr and Abdel-Zaher M. Abouzeid. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Since the identification and characterization of iron and sulfur oxidizing bacteria in the 1940s, a rapid progress is being made in minerals engineering based on biological activities. Microorganisms can play a beneficial role in all facets of minerals processing, from mining to waste disposal and management. Some of the applications, such as biologically assisted leaching of copper sulfide ores, uranium ores, and biooxidation of refractory sulfide gold ores, are now established on the scale of commercial processes. A variety of other bioleaching opportunities exist for nickel, cobalt, cadmium, and zinc sulfide leaching. Recently, other uses of microorganisms are potentially possible. These include the bioleaching of nonsulfide ores, bioflotation, and bioflocculation of minerals, and bioremediation of toxic chemicals discharged from mineral engineering operations. These activities acquire considerable opportunities for further research and development in these areas. This paper is an attempt to provide a critical summary on the most important efforts in the area of bacterial activities in the mineral and mining industry.