In Saxony, bacteria will soon facilitate the extraction of raw materials.
The Ore Mountains (German: Erzgebirge) in Saxony have large deposits of the technology metal indium. The technology metal is needed for numerous applications, from flat screens to photovoltaics and nanotechnology. The Freiberg Mining Academy, in cooperation with the company Saxore Bergbau GmbH, is researching how the raw material can be extracted in a commercial and environmentally friendly way. The project partners have now presented their solution: Bacteria. According to a press release, the process involves grinding ore-bearing rock, which is then converted by bacteria into a lye. This is the basis for separating the individual raw materials from one another. The process, known as bioleaching, requires less energy than previous methods, according to project leader Prof. Michael Schlömann.