Heterotrophic Microbial Stimulation through Biosolids Addition for Enhanced Acid Mine Drainage Control

Omy Ogbughalu, Andrea Gerson, Gujie Qian, Roger Smart, Russell Schumann, Nobuyuki Kawashima, Rong Fan, Jun Li, Michael Short

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


The effective control and treatment of acid mine drainage (AMD) from sulfide-containing mine wastes is of fundamental importance for current and future long-term sustainable and cost-effective mining industry operations, and for sustainable management of legacy AMD sites. Historically, AMD management has focused on the use of expensive neutralising chemicals to treat toxic leachates. Accordingly, there is a need to develop more cost-effective and efficient methods to prevent AMD at source. Laboratory kinetic leach column experiments, designed to mimic a sulfide-containing waste rock dump, were conducted to assess the potential of organic waste carbon supplements to stimulate heterotrophic microbial growth, and supress pyrite oxidation and AMD production. Microbiological results showed that the addition of biosolids was effective at maintaining high microbial heterotroph populations and preventing AMD generation over a period of 80 weeks, as verified by leachate chemistry and electron microscopy analyses. This research contributes to the ongoing development of a cost effective, multi-barrier geochemical-microbial control strategy for reduced mineral sulfide oxidation rates at source.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

(CC-BY 4.0) Open Access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0).


  • acid mine drainage (AMD)
  • bioremediation
  • biosolids
  • heterotrophs
  • kinetic leach column
  • organic carbon
  • Organic carbon
  • Kinetic leach column
  • Acid mine drainage (AMD)
  • Bioremediation
  • Heterotrophs
  • Biosolids


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