Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sept 4:
With the objective of recovering precious minerals from the waste in dump yards of mining areas and address the problem of environmental pollution, the Centre of Biotechnology (CBT) of SOA University in Odisha has undertaken a project to realize this goal.
“India has a large deposit of manganese ore and produces over two million tonnes of high-grade ores annually and generates an equal quantity of low-grade ore which remains dumped in the mining area,” said Dr Alok Prasad Das, head of the project while inaugurating the Bio-mineral Processing Laboratory set up to conduct the research within the University campus here on Wednesday.
Pointing out that reserves of high-grade manganese ore were being utilized worldwide at an alarming rate due to rapid increase in demand, he said the unprocessed dumping and improper management led to environmental pollution which called for development of a suitable technology for the recovery of the ore from mine tailings for economic benefit.
He said the CBT had received the 3-year project entitled ‘Biomineralisation of manganese from wastes and natural resources’ from the Department of Biotechnology of the Union government.
The laboratory was inaugurated by Dr Lal Behari Sukla, CSIR Emeritus scientist at CSIR Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (IMMT) in the presence of Prof PK Nanda, dean (Research) of the University, Gopabandhu Kar, managing member, Prof SC Si, dean of School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (SPS) of SOA University and Prof Sanghamitra Nayak, head of department of Biotechnology.
Dr Das said the research was aimed to help utilize a large amount of low grade manganese available in Odisha containing less than 30 per cent of the metal which remained unutilized and was treated as waste.
The newly-inaugurated lab, equipped with a stirrer tank bioreactor for pilot scale studies, ultrasonic sonicator, a deep freezer with capacity of – 20 degrees and other research facility, would work towards bioleaching manganese from low grade manganese residues.
“This was being done through a methodology where microbes could improve this recovery process. Besides, it would work for advanced mineral processing technology with special emphasis on microbial resources recycling techniques needed for sustainable development,” he said.