Professor Longbin Huang

Program Leader/Prof Res Fellow

Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation
Sustainable Minerals Institute
+61 7 334 63130


Longbin Huang is a full professor and a Program leader in The University of Queensland, leading a research program of "Ecological Engineering in Mining". Driven by the passion to translate leading knowledge into industry solutions, Longbin has pioneered transformative concepts and approach to tackle rehabilitation of mine wastes (e.g., tailings, acidic and metalliferous waste rocks). Recent success includes the "ecological engineering of Fe-ore tailings and bauxite residue" into soil, for overcoming the topsoil deficit challenge facing the mining industry. Scaled up field trials have been going on to deliver the much-needed technology into field operations.

The program consists of a group of researchers with leading knowledge and research skills on: soil/geo-microbial ecology, environmental mineralogy, bioweathering of minerals, native plant rhizosphere (micro)biology, soil-plant relations, and environmental materials (such as biochar and environmental geopolymers). It aims to deliver transformative knowledge and practices (i.e., technologies/methdologies) in the rehabilitation of mine wastes (e.g., tailings, mineral residues, spoils, waste rocks) and mined landscapes for non-polluting and ecologically and financially sustainable outcomes.

In partnership with leading mining companies, Longbin and his team have been focusing on developing game-changing knowledge and technologies of tailings valorisation for achieving non-polluting and ecologically sustainable rehabilitation of, for example, coal mine spoils and tailings, Fe-ore tailings, bauxite residues (or red mud), and Cu/Pb-Zn tailings. Leading the global progress in bauxite rehabilitation, Longbin and his team are currently taking on field-scale research projects on bauxite residue rehabilitation technologies at alumina refineries in Queensland (QAL- and Yarwun refineries) and Northern Territory (Gove refinery).

Longbin's industry-partnered research was recognised in 2019 UQ’s Partners in Research Excellence Award (Resilient Environments) (Rio Tinto and QAL).

Membership of Board, Committee and Society

Professional associations and societies

2010 – Present Australian Soil Science Society.

2016 – Present Soil Science Society of America

2015 – Present American Society of Mining and Reclamation (ASMR)

Editorial boards/services

2018 - present: Member of Editorial Board, BIOCHAR

2013 – present: coordinating editor, Environmental Geochemistry and Health

Awards & Patent

2019 UQ’s Partners in Research Excellence Award (Resilient Environments) (Rio Tinto and QAL)

2017 SMI-Industry Engagement Award, University of Queensland

2015 SMI-Inaugural Bright Research Ideas Forum Award, University of Queensland

2014 SMI-RHD Supervision Award, University of Queensland

2015 Foliar fertilizer US 20150266786. In. (Google Patents). Huang L, Nguyen AV, Rudolph V, Xu G (equal contribution)

Research Interests

  • Environmental geopolymers for pollution control and ecological rehabilitation
    This research aims to translate knowledge and skills in chemical and mineral engineering into engineering environmental materials from tailings and mineral residues, for pollution control and ecological rehabilitation of mine waste domains.
  • Ecological engineering of technosols from tailings for functional soil systems to support native plant systems
    This research investigates biogenic factors (e.g., extremophiles, bacteria, fungi, and roots) in bioweathering of tailings minerals and associated biogeochemical processes and to develop new technology and methodology for rehabilitating metal mine tailings. The emerging technology and methodology are expected to deliver the much needed knowledge and know-how to speed up the rehabilitation of mine tailings, such as rare earth mineral (clay-exchangeable type) tailings, magnetite/hematite iron ore tailings, coal tailings, porphyry Cu tailings, and red mud .
  • Technosol-plant relations: rhizosphere mechanisms of colonising plant species
    This investigates microbial and biochemcial mechanisms in the rhizosphere of pioneer and native keystone plant species colonising technosols eco-engineered from tailings.
  • Physiological ecology of native metallophytes in metal mined environments and tailing-technosols
    Focuses on the understanding of rhizosphere mechanisms and metal(loid) mobilization/uptake in native metallophytes and tolerant species which are often used to revegetate pioneer plant communities. It aims to identify native plant species which can effectively phytostablize metal mine tailings and land heavily contaminated by AMD.
  • Bio-weathering of reactive minerals in mine wastes
    This project investigate microbial and rhizosphere processes in catalyzing the weatherting of reactive primary minerals (such as pyrite and sodalites) in mine/mineral wastes (such as sulfidic tailings, bauxite residues). Research will focus on the genetic diversity and molecular funationalities of native microbes and plants, which are preferably indegenious to local environments at mine sites.

Research Impacts

Proferssor Longbin Huang pioneered a new way to tackle the pollution control and ecological rehabilitation of mine/mineral wastes, for achieving non-polluting and sustainable outcomes of mine waste rehabilitation, in a cost-effective manner. Longbin's new conceptual model of ecological engineering of soil and rock formaiton in mine wastes and a technological framework of eco-engineering mineral transformation, have resulted in most recent technological breakthroughs (such ase eco-engineered soil formation in Fe-ore tailings and bauxite residues, (bio)-chemcial engineering of mineral cementation and hardpan cap), which are finding way into industry assimilation and adoption. Research outcomes over the past decade have started to transform industry's thinking and approaches to design alternative rehabilitation and closure plans of improved economics and lowered long-term risks. The new way significantly shift away from conventional and costly earth-work based engineering methdologies, which requires large amounts of covering materials to be excavated from natural landscapes.


  • Bachelor of Science, Murdoch University
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Murdoch University
  • Bachelor of Science, Jiangxi Agricultural University


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • investigating critical factors and mechanisms involved in aggregate formation and stability of tailings, in realtion to tailings mineralogy and geochemistry

View all Available Projects


Book Chapter

  • Huang, Longbin and You, Fang (2018). Rehabilitation of biological characteristics in mine tailings. Spoil to soil: mine site rehabilitation and revegetation. (pp. 75-94) edited by N.S. Bolan, M.B. Kirkham and Y.S. Ok. Boca Raton, FL United States: CRC Press. doi: 10.1201/9781351247337-5

  • Wijesekara, H., Bolan, N. S., Vithanage, M., Xu, Y., Mandal, S., Brown, S. L., Hettiarachchi, G. M., Pierzynski, G. M., Huang, L., Ok, Y. S., Kirkham, M. B., Saint, C. and Surapaneni, A. (2016). Utilization of biowaste for mine spoil rehabilitation. Advances in agronomy. (pp. 97-173) edited by Donald L. Sparks. London, United Kingdom: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/bs.agron.2016.03.001

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • investigating critical factors and mechanisms involved in aggregate formation and stability of tailings, in realtion to tailings mineralogy and geochemistry