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Recycling 2022

Urban Biomining: The use of microbial biominers in the bio-uptake of metals from electronic scrap

Ellen Cristine Giese

Ellen Cristine Giese, Speaker at Recycling Conferences 2022
Centro de Tecnologia Mineral, Brazil
Title : Urban Biomining: The use of microbial biominers in the bio-uptake of metals from electronic scrap


Electronic scrap contains economically significant levels of precious and high value metals, apart from base metals and other toxic compounds. Recycling and recovery metals from E-waste using a cost-effective technology are now among the top priorities in metallurgy due to the rapid depletion of their natural resources. This work focuses on the perceptions of recovery of metals from electronic scrap regarding a possible transition toward a bio-based economy. An overview of the worldwide E-waste and own value metals is also demonstrated to reinforce the arguments for the importance of E-waste as a secondary source of some critical metals. Based on the use of bioprocesses, we argue that the replacement of conventional steps used in E-waste recycling to recover metals of strategic and economic importance by bio-based technological processes can be possible. The bio-recycling of E-waste follows a typical sequence of industrial processes intensely used in classic hydrometallurgy with the addition of bio-hydrometallurgical processes such as bioleaching and biosorption. We use the case study of REE biosorption as a new technology based on biological principles to exemplify the potential of urban biomining. This perspective of transition between conventional hydrometallurgy for recovering metallic values for biohydrometallurgy helps define which issues related to urban mining can influence the mineral bioeconomy, which helps to describe some future directions for sustainable development recycling to achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Dr. Ellen Giese studied Chemistry at the Londrina State University, Brazil. She received her PhD in 2008 in Paulista State University (UNESP, Brazil). She performed post-doctoral terms in Biotechnology projects at Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (Spain, 2008-09), Lakehead University (Canada, 2009-10) and Universidade de São Paulo (USP) (Brazil, 2011-12). Researcher at the Center for Mineral Technology (CETEM) at Extractive Metallurgy and Bioprocesses group since 2013, where coordinates projects in Biohydrometallurgy and Extractive Mettalurgy. She has published more than 60 research articles in SCI(E) journals.