Monday, 23 October 2017

International Biohydrometallurgy Symposium (IBS) 2017: Report

The 22nd International Biohydrometallurgy Symposium (IBS 2017), organised by Dechema and sponsored by Newmont, was held at TU Bergakademie Freiberg in Germany from September 24-27, 2017. MEI was a media partner and was represented by Amanda Wills, who reports below:

Sunday 24 September

After arriving late on Saturday evening, I found myself with the day free to explore the university and mining town of Freiberg whilst a 1-day short course, "Bioremediation of Mining Sites" was being taught by Sabine Willscher of the University Halle, Germany, Andrea Kassahun of WISMUT GmbH, Germany, and Friedrich-Carl Benthaus of LMBV mbH, Germany.

Freiberg (the name means "Free Mountain") was founded in the 1180s and now has a population of about 40,000. The Technical University Bergakademie is the world's oldest school of mining and attracts students from Germany and abroad, giving the town a youthful, cosmopolitan feel. It has an attractive medieval center, several excellent museums, four Silbermann organs and a plethora of cafes serving delicious German cakes.
Freiberg's main square

At 5pm I arrived at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg Klub Haus, where the conference was being held, and after a quick and easy registration, it wasn't long before I'd bumped into some familiar faces. I was pleasantly surprised to find all 3 of MEI's consultants for Biohydrometallurgy '18 already there: Sue Harrison of the University of Cape Town, Chris Bryan of the University of Exeter, and Patrick d'Hugues of BRGM in France. I also bumped into Keiko Sasaki of Kyushu University, who is one of the organisers of IBS 2019 in Fukuoka, Japan. Keiko and I had met at the train station in Dresden the night before whilst trying to puzzle out the ticket machine and we'd had an interesting trip culminating in a lovely local family giving us a lift to our hotels.
We were then directed to the main hall, where Wolfgang Sand, of Donghua University, China, welcomed the IBS series back to Germany (the first symposium took place in Wolfen-büttel, Germany, in 1978, and was it held in Frankfurt in 2007) and welcomed us all to the IBS. After thanking the organisers and presenting them with gifts, Wolfgang informed us that there had been over 200 registrations. In fact there were 210, from 36 countries, with 51 oral presentations and 167 posters.
Wolfgang then introduced us to Michael Schlömann, Director of the Institute of Biosciences at TU Bergakademie Frieberg, who was dressed in the traditional uniform of a mining official, which is worn at the university on formal occasions. Michael presented an introduction to the history of Freiberg, and talked about biohydrometallurgy at TU Bergakademie Freiberg and the setting up of the Biohydrometallurgical Center for Strategic Elements.

Left to right: Wolfgang Sand, Michael Schlömann, and Axel Schippers
(photos: Nadja Eisen)
Next up was Axel Schippers, Head of Geomicrobiology at the Bundesanstalt fur Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR), Germany. Axel filled us in on some technical points such as how the poster sessions would work and how the final papers would be chosen for publication, and thanked Mariekie Gericke of Minek, South Africa for all her work as secretary of the IBS committee, as she has now stepped down.
Following all the introductions, Paul Norris of the University of Exeter presented the Honorary Lecture, entitled "Progress in Biohydrometallurgy over the last thirty/thirty-five years?". This was a partly autobiographical look at the work carried out over the years following the 1983 IBS and began with an analysis of the papers presented at that conference. For example, in 1983 Leptospirillum was mentioned in one paper, but by 1993 was mentioned in 10. Paul warned against repeating research from the past due to misclassification of organisms or an unwillingness to read work which isn't available on the internet.

Paul Norris presented the Honoury Lecture, "Progress in Biohydrometallurgy over the last thirty/thirty-five years?
(photo: Nadja Eisen)

Following Paul's talk, we all retired downstairs, where finger foods and German beers were on offer, as well as the chance for everyone to catch up with each other.

Socialising at the Welcome Reception

Monday 25 September

Today began with a session on "Tank Leaching" and the first of ten keynote lectures. Patrick d'Hugues, Head of the Waste and Raw Material Unit at BRGM, France, presented, "Bioleaching in stirred tanks reactors to process Kupferschiefer type of ore: A review", in which he gave an overview of the work performed on this topic in the last decade and discussed new insights and future developments for the integration of bioprocess options in the metallurgical treatment of black-shale type ores.

Following on from Patrick, there were presentations from Sabrina Hedrich, of BGR, Germany, on, "Effect of temperature ramping on stirred tank bioleaching of a copper concentrate", Elizabeth Watkin, of Curtin University, on "Incorporation of indigenous microorganisms increases leaching rates of Rare Earth Elements from Western Australian Monazite", Zahra Manafi, of Islamic Azad University, Iran, on "Optimisation of copper bio leaching operation by moderately thermophilic consortia in Iranian Babak Copper Company (IBCCO)", and Agathe Hubau, of BRGM, France, on "Establishment of an iron-oxidising culture of acidophilic micro-organisms for bioleaching of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)".

Left to right: Patrick d'Hugues, Elizabeth Watkin, and Sabrina Hedrich
(photos: Nadja Eisen)

During the coffee breaks, delegates were encouraged to view the posters, which were situated in two locations: in the conference room itself and downstairs. Due to the number of posters accepted, authors were permitted to keep their poster up for one day before taking it down to make way for the next one. This ensured a steady stream of visitors to view the posters.

The poster sessions were well attended
(photos: Nadja Eisen)

After coffee, the "Heap Leaching" session kicked off with a keynote from Jochen Petersen, of the University of Cape Town, entitled, "Unravelling the complexity of heap bioleaching". This was followed by Ruiyong Zhang of BGR with "Reduction of iron(III) ions at Elevated Pressure by Acidophilic Microorganisms", Denis Shiers of CSIRO with "The impact of heap self-heating on microbial activity during the bioleaching of lowgrade copper sulfide ores", Tatsuya Shinkawa of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation with "Bio-heap Leaching of Primary Copper Sulfide Ore by JOGMEC", Biao Wu of the General Research Institute for Nonferrous Metals, China with "Nickel bioleaching at elevated pH: research and application", and Ali Ahmadi of Isfahan University of Technology with "Biodesulfurization of a coarse-grained high sulfur coal in a full-scale packed-bed bioreactor".

Lunch was then served both upstairs and down before the afternoon sessions started, which were dedicated to "Innovative Methods". Miao Chen of CSIRO presented, "Characterization and localized insight into leaching of sulfide minerals" as a keynote in the first session, and after coffee, Cecilia Demergasso of the Universidad Católica del Norte presented the keynote, "From knowledge to best practices in bioleaching".

Before coffee, the keynote was followed by Radek Vostal of TU Bergakademie Freiberg with "Method for the recovery of Indium from diluted bioleaching solutions", Mark Roberts of Cardiff University with "Changes in Metal Leachability through Stimulation of Iron Reducing Communities within Waste Sludge", Bernhard Dold of Luleå University of Technology with "Bioleaching Magnetite and Hematite through Reductive Dissolution in Seawater", and Keishi Oyama of Kyushu University with "Mechanism of silver-catalyzed bioleaching of enargite concentrate".

After coffee, finishing off the day, were Xiaotao Huang and Sha Deng of Central South University, China with "Investigation of controlled Redox Potential with pyrite during chalcopyrite bioleaching by mixed moderately thermophiles" and "Bioleaching of chalcopyrite with two different metallogenic types: A mineralogical perspective" respectively, and Tomasa Sbaffi of the University of Exeter with "Microbial community composition in mine waste, comparing sites in Cornwall and Western Devon".

There then followed bids for the honour of hosting IBS  2021, one from Perth, Australia and one Cape Town, South Africa. Delegates voted, and the winner was Perth.

All that was left was to relax with a beer!

Tuesday 26 September

The first session was focused on "Molecular Methods / Biofilms" and began with a keynote from Jinlan Xia of Central South University, China entitled "In-situ characterization and molecular mechanisms evaluation of interfacial interaction between minerals and bioleaching microorganisms".

Jinlan Xia presented "In-situ characterization and molecular mechanisms evaluation of interfacial interaction between minerals and bioleaching microorganisms"
(photo: Nadja Eisen)
Jinlan was followed by Roberto Bobadilla-Fazzini of Codelco Tec with "Mineralogical Dynamics of Primary Copper Sulfides Mediated by Acidophilic Biofilm Formation", Elizabeth Watkin of CSIRO with "Acidihalobacter prosperus, a halophilic acidophile, has unique mechanisms to survive high chloride concentrations at low pH", Mauricio Diaz of the University of Chile with "Molecular regulatory network involved in biofilm structure development by Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans includes Pel exopolysaccharide machinery", David Holmes of the Fundacion Ciencia & Vida, Santiago with "Genomic Insights into the Evolutionary Mechanisms and Dynamics of Extreme Acidophiles", and Soren Bellenberg of the Universität Duisburg-Essen with "Computational analysis of chalcopyrite-attached bacteria, automated cell counting, and quantification of biofilm formation".

Jinlan Xia (centre) with his group from Central South University, China
(photo: Nadja Eisen)

After the first coffee break, a session on "Metal Recovery" started with a keynote presented by Mohammad Ranjbar of Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran, entitled "Bioelectrochemical Leaching of Copper Sulfide Minerals". Next up was Susan Reichel of G.E.O.S. Ingenieurgesellschaft with "Microbial Production of Schwertmannite: Development from Microbial Fundamentals to Marketable Products", Jarno Mäkinen of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland with "Rare Earth Elements recovery and sulphate removal from phosphogypsum waste waters with Sulphate Reducing Bacteria", Francisco Remonsellez of Universidad Católica del Norte with "Diversity of thermophilic iron- pyrite-oxidizing enrichments from solfataric hot springs in the Chilean Altiplano", Ling Tan of Central South University with "Comparative Analysis of Functional Gene Diversity of Acid Mine Drainage and Its Sediment by Geochip Technology", and Hongying Yang of Northeastern University, China, with "Bio-oxidation Process for Gold Concentrates with a High Arsenic Content using Thermophilic Bacteria".

Clockwise from top left: M Ranjbar, J Mäkinen, F Remonsellez and L Tan
(photo: Nadja Eisen)
The first session after lunch was dedicated to "Biosorption / Bioremediation" and the keynote lecture was given by Anna Kaksonen of CSIRO, "Recent advances in biomining and microbial characterisation". Anna was followed by Antonio Ballester of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid with "Biogenic iron compounds for hazardous metal remediation", Masahito Tanaka of Kyushu University with "Optimization of Bioscorodite Crystallization for Treatment of As(III)-bearing Wastewaters", Jan Weijma of Wageningen University with "Chemical vs. Biological Crystals, all the same?", and Yasuhiro Konishi of Osaka Prefecture University with "Microbial Recycling of Precious and Rare Metals Sourced from Post-consumer Products".

After coffee, sessions resumed with "Innovative Methods", with a keynote given by Jonathan Lloyd of the University of Manchester entitled, "Putting subsurface microbes to work; metal recovery and biosynthesis of functional metallic nanoparticles". Jon was followed by Ivan Nancucheo of the Universidad San Sebastián with "Reductive dissolution of a lateritic ore containing rare earth elements (REE) using Acidithiobacillus species", Elizabeth Watkin of CSIRO with "Incorporation of indigenous microorganisms increases leaching rates of Rare Earth Elements from Western Australian Monazite", and Linlin Tong of Northeastern University, China with "The Mechanism of in and Ge Occurrence in Sphalerite Crystal and the Influence on Properties:a DFT (Density Function Theory) Simulation".

Delegates were then free to prepare themselves for the evening's Conference Dinner at the Tivoli Concert Hall.

Traditional music was played at the Conference Dinner at the Tivoli Concert Hall
Delegates enjoyed the fine food and wine at the Conference Dinner
(photos: Nadja Eisen)

Wednesday 27 September

The last day began with another session on "Tank Leaching". The keynote was presented by Frank Roberto of Newmont Mining, entitled, "Copper Heap Bioleach Microbiology – Progress and Challenges".

Frank Roberto of Newmont Mining presented a keynote on "Copper Heap Bioleach Microbiology – Progress and Challenges" (photo: Kirby FG)

In a change to the programme, Frank was followed by Carmen Falagan of  the University of Bangor with "pH dictates the relative toxicities of cationic metals and anions (other than sulfate) to acidophilic bacteria", who was then followed by Siti Khodijah Chaerun of the Institut Teknologi Bandung with "Bioleaching of supergene porphyry copper ores from Sungai Max Gorontalo of  Indonesia by an iron- and sulfur oxidizing mixotrophic bacterium", Paivi Kinnunen of the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland with "Comparison of reductive and oxidative bioleaching of jarosite waste for valuable metals recovery", Anna Potysz of the University of Wroclaw with "Feasibility of metal extraction from waste metallurgical slags in the presence of Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans", and Aleksandr Belyi of with "Production Development of Olimpiadinskoe Gold Processing Plant through BIONORD® Technology Processing".

Clockwise from top left: Carman Falagan, P Kinnunen, S Chaerun and A Potysz
(photos: Kirby FG)

After coffee, a session on "Biosorption / Bioremediation" began with Sabine Matys of Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf presenting "Development of Metal Ion Binding Peptides Using Phage Surface Display Technology", followed by Romy Auerbach of the Fraunhofer Projectgroup IWKS of Fraunhofer ISC with "Recycling of Florescent Phosphor Powder Y2O3: Eu by Bioleaching by Means of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans", Davor Cotoras of the Universidad de Chile with "Integrated Sulfate Reduction and Biosorption Process for the Treatment of Mine Drainages", Ana Santos of Bangor University with "The use of algal biomass to sustain sulfidogenic bioreactors for remediating acidic metal-rich waste waters", Marina Belykh of the Irkutsk Research Institute of Precious and Rare Metals and Diamonds with "Detoxification of Heap after Gold Leaching Using Biodegradation", Robert Huddy of the University of Cape Town with "Analysis of Microbial Communities associated with Bioremediation Systems for Thiocyanate-laden Mine Water Effluents", and Sabine Willsher of the University Halle-Wittenberg with "pH and Soil Additive-Depending Uptake of Various Metals and Metalloids by Helianthus tuberosus from a Uranium Containing Test Field Site".

Delegates could spend lunch and coffee breaks viewing the day's posters
(photos: Kirby FG)

A second session on "Molecular Methods / Biofilms" began after lunch, with Mark Dopson of Linnaeus University presenting a keynote on "Optimizing Acidophile Biofilm Formation for Metal Sulfide Dissolution: The SysMetEx Project"; the SysMetEx project uses three acidophile model species (Acidithiobacillus caldus, Leptospirillum ferriphilum, and Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans) to investigate the rate of biofilm formation and subsequent copper recoveries with the ultimate aim of reducing the lag time between heap initiation and the first recovery of copper.

Following on from Mark was Malte Herold of the University of Luxembourg with "Leptospirillum ferriphilum – Genome, Transcriptome, and Proteome of a Biomining Model Species", Simone Schopf of TU Bergakademie Freiberg with "Mineral Specific Biofilm Formation of Acidibacillus ferrooxidans Hütt2", Mario Vera of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile with "Comparative genomics of iron oxidizing acidophiles of the Acidiferrobacteraceae family", and Jiri Kucera of Masaryk University with "Proteins Binding to Immobilized Rusticyanin Detected by Affinity Chromatography".

The last session was on "Molecular Methods / Biofilms" and consisted of Sue Harrison of the University of Cape Town presenting "Inhibition kinetics of iron oxidation by Leptospirillum ferriphilum in the presence of thiocyanate in bioremediated cyanidation tailings waste water" followed by Mariekie Gericke of Mintek with "The Mondo Minerals Nickel Sulfide Bioleach Project: From Test Work to early Plant Operation".

Then it was time to find out who had won the Best Poster competition.

Winners of the Best Poster competition
Wolfgang Sand and Michael Schlömann concluded events with closing speeches which expressed  how well it had gone, and what a nice atmosphere there had been - a true meeting of friends.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dechema and the IBS local organising committee on a well run conference. I'm now looking forward to visiting Japan in 2019!

1 comment:

  1. Great report on a great event, Amanda. Hope to see many of the delegates at Biohydromet ‘18 in Namibia next June


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