Monday, 20 April 2015

Publication of special Biohydrometallurgy issue provides perfect foundation for Biohydomet '16

Biohydromet '14 was held in Falmouth in June 2014 and 19 selected papers from the conference have now been published in Volume 75, a  special issue of Minerals Engineering.

These state of the art papers set the scene for next year's event Biohydromet '16, which will also be held in Falmouth, back to back with Sustainable Minerals '16.

Biohydrometallurgy is set to become a very important part of the mineral processing toolbox and Biohydromet '16 will focus on the latest developments in the field: the development, optimisation and application of integrated biomining process operations for mineral ores, including low grade and complex ores; the microbiology of biomining and the application of biohydrometallurgy to novel resources (such as mine and electronic wastes) and the (bio)remediation of mining-impacted environments.

The keynote lecture "Limitations to the commercial application of biohydrometallurgy for the treatment of base metal sulfide concentrates" will be given by Dr. David Dew, of Dewality Consultants Limited, UK.

David Dew has 25 years international experience in the development of biohydrometallurgical processes for application in the extraction of base and precious metals. He joined Gencor Ltd., South Africa, in June 1983; in 1990, as Principal Research Metallurgist, he joined the project team responsible for development of the BIOX Process. He took a lead role in the improvement and design of the bioleach reactors, reducing power costs and establishing a methodology for pilot testing and commercial plant design. He was later appointed Manager Process Development at Billiton Plc responsible for leading research in this area. In 2001 Billiton merged with BHP to become BHP Billiton and David was appointed as Global Technology Manager at the Johannesburg Technology Centre, primarily responsible for technology development for the Base Metals Division. David became an independent consultant in 2012 and formed his own company, Dewality Consultants Limited, which he operates from his home in Cornwall.

In his keynote he will show how tank bioleaching is an established and competitive technology for treating refractory gold sulfide concentrates, but despite extensive research and development and considerable expenditure, the technology has had limited commercial application for treatment of base metal concentrates. He will review tank bioleach technology developed for treating concentrates and discuss the process and engineering factors that determine the design and scale-up, identifying the limiting factors that affect commercial competitiveness.

The hydrometallurgy component of biohydrometallurgy is often largely ignored at conferences concerned with bioleaching, despite the fact that downstream iron removal, metals recovery and waste disposal are key elements that determine the viability of the overall process. Dr. Dew will review the methods for metals recovery and the challenges that are imposed on the overall process. Considering the limitations and challenges identified, he will present a case for opportunities where biohydrometallurgy may add value and identify focus areas for development, necessary to improve the commercial competiveness of the technology.

It looks like a conference not to be missed if you have any interest in this exciting technology, and hopefully you will stay on to enjoy this beautiful part of the world.

Above Falmouth Bay

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