Experimental work on sulphate reduction underway

Breakdown of sulphur-containing minerals often results in the release of sulphate (such as with acid mine drainage). One way to combat the environmental problems that this causes is to use certain types of bacteria that reduce the sulphate back to sulphur or sulphide compounds.

Sulphate reduction and metal sulphide removal experiments are going on at the University of Oulu. Sulphate reducing bacteria are cultivated in bottle scale and tested for utilization of KemiCond treated sewage sludge and succinate. At the same time synthetic mining water is treated, and iron is recovered as FeS. Furthermore, tests with other low-cost carbon sources and real mining waters, as well as reactor experiments are planned to be started in the autumn 2019.

sulphate reduction experiment over 2 weeks
Sulfate-reducing bacterial consortium cultivated in synthetic mining water at 6 °C with succinate as a carbon source.
continuous flow reactor for sulphate reduction experiments
Continuous up-flow reactor built up for biological sulfate reduction experiments

For more details, contact Hanna Virpiranta

Resources about mining for schools

An EU EIT Raw Materials project is developing a “briefcase” of resource material for school teachers to introduce the importance of minerals for society.

The Briefcase project brings the opportunity to learn more about minerals through hands-on experience. The specific target audience will be primary schools which include from 6 to 14-year-old students and their teachers. The project is orientated for Wider Society Learning (WSL) and aims to raise students’ knowledge of mining activities and mineral applications.

The Briefcase of mineral applications - educational resources
The Briefcase of mineral applications – educational resources

The aim of the project is to raise awareness of minerals knowledge among children during their visits to the museum. A real briefcase that contains minerals and products was created in 2003 to help students recognise mineral ores and their uses in daily life.

Read more here

New EU project on bioleaching

Recently a new EU innovation project was launched, with funding from EIT Raw Materials and project partners from Slovakia, Italy, Hungary, Spain, Germany, Poland, Portugal and Ireland. The project is led by Dr Darina Štyriaková, of the Faculty of Mining, Ecology, Process Control and Geotechnologies of the Technical University of Košice in Slovakia. The aim of the project is to develop biotechnologies to achieve ecological exploitation, improve the quality of local minerals and reduce the European countries’ dependence on imported minerals. More details about the project can be found here: