News & Highlights
Microbial transformation of soluble tellurium demonstrated
Rio Tinto starts tellurium production at Kennecott
Sustainable acid-free dissolution recycling of rare earth elements from NdFeB magnet swarf
Bugs tease tellurium out of mine tailings—first results
Yoshiko Fujita at Idaho National Laboratory leads the CMI project "Biologically-mediated recovery of tellurium from mine waste"
This project is to assess the potential for biologically-based approaches to recover tellurium (Te) from mine tailings. Biorecovery of Te may present a more economical and environmentally friendly alternative than conventional hydrometallurgy. Oxidative bioleaching is widely accepted for copper recovery, and the project expects that a similar approach can be applied for Te leaching. The first year of the project aims to establish that microorganisms can facilitate Te solubilization. If successful, follow-on work would evaluate whether microorganisms can transform the leached Te species into nanoparticulate elemental and/or volatile Te forms, resulting in Te enrichment and facilitating its separation for further refinement.