Stabilization of Mine Tailings using a Sustainable and Nature-based Approach
Mine tailings pose significant environmental risks due to their poor mechanical and chemical stability. This project aims to implement a novel nature-based procedure to improve stability of mine tailings using indigenous microorganisms with biocementation properties. Microorganisms capable of surviving in the tailings environment will be discovered that precipitate calcium carbonate. These organisms will be used to create a matrix that binds sand and clay particles together to form a barrier to water infiltration and to prevent wind erosion. This procedure will greatly reduce the dispersion of pollutants from tailings and create more stable structures resistant to liquefaction. Biocementation of tailings is expected to de-risk long term tailings management and protect the environment from release of tailings materials.