Bio-recovery of rare earth elements from Australian soils and mine tailings (ARC Discovery Project administered by University of Melbourne) (2020–2022)

This project aims to discover how microbes dissolve weathering-resistant phosphate minerals that contain valuable rare earth elements used widely in modern technology. This discovery would create new knowledge in the interdisciplinary fields of biogeochemistry and biohydrometallurgy, using an innovative combination of techniques in metagenomics, microbiology and mineralogy. Expected research outcomes include new, more economic and environmentally sustainable biotechnologies for recovering rare earth elements and increasing phosphorus availability in Australian mineral deposits and soils. These outcomes should benefit the mining and agricultural sectors, by decreasing Australia's dependency on overseas REE supply and the use of fertilizers.
Grant type:
University of Melbourne
  • Professor
    School of the Environment
    Faculty of Science
    W.H. Bryan Mining and Geology Research Centre
    Sustainable Minerals Institute
Funded by:
The University of Melbourne