This project investigates selenium (Se) and tellerium (Te) concentration by organic materials. We aim to target additional resources and develop sustainable extraction processes for these scarce semi-metallic elements.
Se and Te are usually recovered as byproducts of the chemical extraction of other metals. They are concentrated in rocks containing organic matter, including:
We also know that microbial (bacterial) activity can concentrate Se/Te.
Using our knowledge of Se/Te concentration, we hope to predict previously unrecognised resources. We are studying metal sulphide ores formed by microbial sulphate reduction, to test the theory that these microbes could also cause Se/Te concentration.
We will also improve our understanding of how microbes interact with Se/Te in rocks and soil, to develop a strategy for the microbial concentration of Se/Te on a valuable scale.
The project combines interdisciplinary expertise on Se/Te from: