Vale, the University of Tokyo, and Shibaura Institute of Technology Are Working Together to Investigate Ore Processing Using Microorganisms

Shibaura Institute of Technology (S.I.T.; Koto-ku, Tokyo/President: Masato Murakami)will be the first Japanese research institution to collaborate with Vale S.A., a major Brazilian resource development company, for research on developing ore processing for microbial recovery.

For this project, Professor Mitsuo Yamashita (project leader) from Department of Applied Chemistry, College of Engineering, S.I.T., will team up with Associate Professor Takeshi Yoshikawa from Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo, and Vale to investigate ore processing by using Prof. Yamashita’s microbial techniques.

Achievement from ore processing are essential for the production of computers, cell phones, and automobiles. Recent instability in supply has sent the prices skyrocketing. Although the situation has stabilized, a steady supply should be established in the future for these precious resources. Vale has previously been involved in international research collaborations with corporations and research institutions from places such as the United States and Europe, but this will be its first joint research project with Japan. The company hopes to develop a complete process that can be used to extract and refine productions from ore and is simple, low-cost, and clean and does not use excessive chemicals.


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