Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg

TU Bergakademie, located in the middle eastern of Germany, is the oldest still running university for mining engineering. The long and rich tradition in mining and geology in this region is the basis for excellent research in this field. The local facilities and utilities, like the research and teaching mine Reiche Zeche are a unique selling point in Germany.

The working group of Environmental Microbiology at the Institute for Biosciences has core competences in the field of geo- and biotechnology.

Actual research activities in the Freiberg Biohydrometallurgical Centre for Strategic Elements (BHMZ) are aiming towards the development of procedures to exploit strategic elements like indium and germanium, but also zinc from local ores. The issue of our subproject, within 13 disciplines of the BHMZ, is bioleaching of indium containing sphalerite in trace amounts and therefore represents the biohydrometallurgical core project. Another biohydrometallurgical project deals with bioleaching of organic rich copper shale under acidic conditions in cooperation with Helmholtz - Centre Dresden Rossendorf (HZDR) and the Helmholtz – Institute Freiberg (HIF).

Bioleaching – and iron oxidiser team: (last row from the right -Prof. Michael Schlömann, M.Sc. Sebastian Eisen (ESF GetGeoWeb), M.Sc Fabian Giebner (EcoMetals), Dr. Simone Schopf (BHMZ), front row: from the right: Dipl. Nat. Nadja Eisen (BHMZ), Rawa Jaffer Jwair, M. Sc. Sophie Mosler (ESF – GetGeoWeb). Not on the photograph: Kornelia Lindemann and Juliane Heim (both HIF)
Bioreactors (Environmental Microbiology)

In research field of mine water remediation particularly the cooperation with GEOS at the open pit mine in Nochten (Lusatia) can be emphasised. The waters of the lignite mines in Lusatia are acidic and bear a high amount of sulphate. As a strategy to remediate these waters the application of sulphate reducing bacteria is under investigation. Additionally, the cultivation of iron oxidizers in bioreactors for transcriptomic approaches is in the focus of actual research.

In the research area of white biotechnology a deep knowledge of enzymatic degradation pathways of aromatic contaminants exists. Strategies will be applied for Rhodococcus opacus and R. jostii to investigate possible procedures for shale degradation (see below).

Work packages

  • Work package 1: Thermal pretreatment of copper shale under different conditions

  • Work package 2: Selection of adequate bacteria for bioleaching and shale degradation, Investigations of chalcopyrite dissolution mechanisms, Bioleaching of differently sorted material, Possible ways for shale degradation, Leaching with increased salinity

TU Bergakademie Freiberg
Institute of Biosciences, Environmental Microbiology
Leipziger Str. 29
09599 Freiberg

Prof. Dr. Michael Schlömann

+49 3731 39-3739

Dr. Simone Schopf

+49 3731 39-2103

M.Sc. Fabian Giebner

+49 3731 39-2103

Helmholtz-Institut Freiberg für Ressourcentechnologie

Halsbrücker Str. 34
09599 Freiberg, Germany

BRGM - Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières

avenue Claude Guillemin, BP 36009
45060 Orléans Cedex 2, France

EcoMetals is a transnational research project aiming at the development of innovative biohydrometallurgical processes for the extraction of copper and other (associated) metals from coppershale.. The project receives funding from the French ANR (L’Agence nationale de la recherche) and the German Ministry of Education and Research BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) under the reference number 033RF001.

In total, 17 partners from science and industry collaborate in this project. Start of the project was in February 2014 and it will run until June 2017. 

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