Development of Biological and Electrochemical Technologies for the Clean Extraction of Copper and Critical Materials from Low Grade Ores
Project Innovation + Advantages:
Columbia University will develop a novel hydrometallurgical platform that will exploit the electrochemical reduction of copper ores followed by biological leaching of sulfide minerals to recover copper metal. The team’s new platform technology will enable the processing of domestic low-grade copper concentrates with high pyrite concentrations. This will reduce the outsourcing of copper processing to overseas smelters and enable new domestic sources of low-grade copper concentrate to be processed economically. The bacteria involved in the bioleaching process will be genetically modified for fast dissolution kinetics and capture and sequestration of critical platinum group metals found in copper sulfide ores.