CMI Project 1.1.14: Biologically-mediated recovery of tellurium from mine waste

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Yoshiko Fujita at Idaho National Laboratory  leads the CMI project "Biologically-Mediated Recovery of Tellurium from Mine Waste"

Project Description: To assess the potential for biologically-based approaches to recover tellurium 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 we hypothesize that a similar approach can be applied for Te leaching. The first year of the project is aimed at establishing 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.