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MEI Online: MEI Conferences: Biohydrometallurgy '16: Introduction

Home General Introduction Conference Report Delegate List Conference Programme Published Papers Photos Contacts Biohydromet 16  


This, the 8th International Symposium on Biohydrometallurgy (Biohydromet '16), was organised by MEI with Prof Sue Harrison, Dr Patrick d'Hugues and Dr Chris Bryan and was sponsored by Outotec. Media sponsors were International Mining.



Biohydromet '16 focussed on the latest developments in the field of biohydrometallurgy: 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.

1. Biomining Process Development:

  • Development and optimisation of biohydrometallurgy processes, including sub-processes of biohydrometallurgy, reactor systems, hydrodynamics and modelling
  • Associated Unit operations, Up- and Downstream processing (including waste management) etc.

2. The Microbiology of Biomining:

  • Microbial ecology and succession, both description and kinetics
  • Microbial consortia and bioprospecting,
  • Certain fundamental aspects.

3. Biohydrometallurgy Applications:

  • Biomining (i.e. Bioleaching, Biooxidation) applications - both heap and tank
  • Novel and potential resources (e.g. electronic and other metallic wastes)
  • Bioremediation applications (e.g. the treatment, prevention and prediction of AMD, metal recovery from wastes etc.)
  • Other biotechnologies in mining and metallurgical industries.

delegates on the coastal walk
Delegates on the coastal walk



The first keynote lecture "Commercial heap biooxidation of refractory gold ores – revisiting Newmont’s successful deployment at Carlin" was given by Dr Frank Roberto, Senior Engineer, Hydrometallurgy/Water at Newmont USA Ltd. Newmont Mining Corporation pioneered the investigation, development, and commercial-scale implementation of refractory gold whole-ore heap biooxidation, during a period spanning 1988-2009 at Carlin, Nevada. Basic and applied research and development from 1988-1999 included laboratory test work and increasingly larger pilot test heaps culminating in the full-scale implementation of a process that was estimated to contribute 120,000-180,000 oz/year to Carlin’s production between 2000-2005. Key parameters that influenced performance of the on-off heap biooxidation process, and factors that led to the discontinuation of the operation will be described.

Frank joined Newmont USA Ltd. in 2012 after 24 years leading research and development teams at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory. He provides technical expertise in microbiology and biochemistry to Newmont projects including the Verde Bioleach Demonstration Facility, a 1 million tonne enargite bioleach test at Minera Yanacocha, S.R.L. in Peru. His team performs testwork supporting Newmont global operations and projects, including new opportunities for copper bioleaching and refractory gold ore biooxidation, and broad support for water treatment technology assessment and deployment across the corporation.

Frank Roberto


The second keynote lecture "Current Status and Continued Development of the BIOX Process" was given by Jan van Niekerk, Senior Manager: BIOX at Outotec.

Jan van Niekerk completed his B Engineering (Metallurgy) degree at the University of Pretoria in 1995. He started his career at Gencor Process Research in 1996 working on the development and testing of the BIOX Process. Mr van Niekerk stayed with the BIOX technology in various capacities over the next few years until taking over the management of the technology under Gold Fields in 2006. Mr van Niekerk led the Management buy-out of the technology from Gold Fields in 2013 that saw the formation of Biomin South Africa. Mr van Niekerk is now the Senior Manager: BIOX in Outotec, following the acquisition by Outotec of Biomin South Africa.

Jan van Niekerk



Biohydromet '16 was organised by MEI in consultation with with Prof Sue Harrison, Dr Patrick d'Hugues and Dr Chris Bryan.

Sue Harrison
Sue Harrison

Sue Harrison has some 20 years experience in research in bioprocess engineering, gained in the industrial and academic arenas. She heads the Centre for Bioprocess Engineering Research (CeBER) at the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and collaborates actively with researchers at the universities of Mumbai, Cambridge University and Imperial College London and with companies in South Africa and abroad. Since her appointment to the academic staff in 1991 more than 40 MSc and PhD students have been awarded research degrees under her supervision. She was awarded the South African DST Research Chair in Bioprocess Engineering, with effect from 2008.

Patrick d'Hugues
Patrick d'Hugues

Patrick d'Hugues is a microbiologist with a PhD in industrial and applied microbiology. He is currently manages a research team on Waste and Raw Materials at BRGM, the French Geological Survey. Over the last 15 years he has worked on R&D projects dedicated to biotechnology applications on mineral resources and for the environment. He was involved as a technical expert during the commissioning of the KCCL cobalt bioleaching plant (Uganda), and has been involved as a project manager coordinating the EU-funded FP6 Bioshale project (2004-2008). He is currently a project manager of a workpackage on ecoefficient production methods in the FP7 Promine project.

Chris Bryan
Chris Bryan

Chris Bryan is a microbiologist with a PhD in molecular and environmental microbiology and is a Lecturer in Sustainable Mining and Minerals Resourcing at the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI), University of Exeter (UK). His primary research focus is on the application of biohydrometallurgy to the recovery of metals from sulfide ores and the genesis of acid mine drainage. He has gained invaluable experience working with various research groups around the world including postdoctoral positions at BRGM with Dr d’Hugues as part of the BioMinE project, and most recently with Prof. Harrison at CeBER.



"Jim and I really enjoyed the Biohydromet '14 conference. You have done a great job of organizing these meetings so there is plenty of time to interact with colleagues and enjoy activities apart from listening to papers. The coastal walk/pub was a wonderful evening and the Eden Project evening was spectacular." Corale Brierley, Brierley Consultancy LLC, USA

I agree... that the conference [Biohydromet '14] was a great success... I also look forward to Biohydrometallurguy '16 and hope we will all return to find out how developments of the BIOX® Technology highlighted by Jan van Niekerk , have helped to reduce operating costs; feedback on the Mondo Minerals nickel concentrate bioleaching project following the pilot study presented by Mariekie Gericke and hopefully something from Newmont on the heap leaching project in Peru."
David Dew, Dewality Consultants Ltd, UK


Read the conference reports from past BioHydromet conferences, and check out the technical programmes and delegate lists too:


"It has been a wonderful experience [Biohydromet '14]. I was particularly impressed by the enthusiasm there is now for bio-leaching and the technology in general. You have done a great job to get all these experts together. Also appreciated the opportunity to be part of the discussion panel at the end of the meeting."
Pieter van Aswegen, PMet Consulting, South Africa

"The conference [Biohydromet '05] afforded me the opportunity to meet international experts in the field of biohydrometallurgy and I was able to receive clear directions on my on-going research"
Peter Olubambi, Federal University of Technology, Nigeria

More testimonials



Biohydromet '16 was certified for Continuing Professional Development.




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