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Production of Biomaterials from Solid Biomass Wastes for the Mining Industry

Lead Researcher and Department
Dr. Shafiq Alam, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University

Collaborators and Students
Collaborator: Prof. Katsutoshi Inoue, Saga University, Japan
Students: Mirza Hossain (PhD), Shuaihong Yao (M.Eng.), Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University

Funding Resources
The Harris Centre MMSB Waste Management Fund (2011 - 2012)

Newfoundland and Labrador has very rich mineral resources. The mining industry in this province produces more than a dozen different mineral commodities, and every year it generates billions of dollars in mineral shipments. On the other hand, this province is producing huge amounts of solid biomass wastes everyday. Some of them are re-used, but mostly they are land-filled. With innovative, applied research these biomass wastes can be turned into more value added products for the mining industry. For example, wood wastes/saw dust, waste paper and waste cotton are some solid wastes that can easily be converted into high-tech biomaterials (bioadsorbents) for gold recovery from a dilute solution. Those solid wastes are cellulosic, they have a strong affinity to gold when converted to its functional group in a very simple and cheap process.

In this project, bioadsorbents are being produced using solid biomass wastes, such as waste paper, waste cotton and waste wood/saw dust, which are abundantly available in this province and need proper management to increase their life-cycle. When compared with the ever increasing gold prices (currently more than $1400/oz), the face value of these solid wastes will jump from garbage to hi-tech market value. Proper management and effective use of such solid biomass wastes as valuable bioadsorbents will not only reduce the volume of wastes being generated every day, but will also have a high end value to the gold mining industry as this cheap bioadsorbent will have superior performance over the traditionally used activated carbon. Both the mining and waste management companies in this province will benefit from this research.


Biosorption of gold, Cellulosic biomass, Bio-adsorbents, Mining, Waste Management

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
St. John's
Avalon Peninsula

Industry Sectors
Scientific research and development services (Professional, scientific and technical services)
Metal ore mining (Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction — Mining and quarrying)
Chemical manufacturing (Manufacturing)
Engineering research and development laboratories (Professional, scientific and technical services — Scientific research and development services — Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences)

Thematic Categories
Chemical Engineering (Engineering)
Research (Business)
Value Added Manufacturing (Forestry — Industries)
Metal Processing (Mining)
Mining (Natural Resources)
Research and Development
Engineering (International Research)
Earth Sciences (International Research — Science)

Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science (STJ)
Office of Research (STJ)
Harris Centre (STJ)