Jérôme Jacob works in BRGM, the French geosurvey as a bioprocess engineer in the waste and raw materials unit.
What are you working on?
My work combines research and operative activities. One part of my work is focused on the development of new bioleaching processes. The goal then is to improve bioleaching efficiency, to address more types of ore or mining wastes or to decrease bioleaching costs. Another important activity for me is the design of water treatment technologies for mine drainages, notably passive treatment process involving bioreactors. Mine drainages are often highly polluting, and their treatment is a burden on society for hundreds of years. Therefore, it is important to design treatments that require the least amount of input. It is worth investing resources in this field because the benefits will be felt for a very long time. Finally, I recently became the legacy sites manager for BRGM. My goal is then to get the relinquishment of former mine sites in France.
What attracts you in the research project you are working on?
The NEMO project allows us to continue the development of the pond bioleaching process that BRGM has been carrying out for several years. It is an extraordinary opportunity to optimize the design of this bioreactor in collaboration with the major mining companies for which it is intended. This process will make it possible to exploit ores and mine wastes that are currently difficult to treat by making bioleaching more affordable. In the end, what I like about the NEMO project is to be able to work in a large team of brilliant and nice people.
Where do you work? What do you like about your organization or the city you live in?
I work at BRGM in Orleans, an hour south of Paris. What I like about working for the French geosurvey is the diversity of my missions as I am involved in several very different projects, from prospective research projects to operational projects. I think that working in different technical fields with different levels of application promotes the birth of new ideas through an understanding of the whole set of constraints. What all these projects have in common is that they aimed at achieving an industrial application, even if only some reach fruition. It is a real satisfaction to see a full plant running on an idea you had some time ago, after years of tests in the laboratory and at pilot scale. In addition, all these projects aim to bring a benefit to the environment: by allowing a better use of natural resources, by improving the efficiency of processes or by facilitating the remediation of contaminated ecosystems.
What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?
I hope to earn my PhD someday although that will probably not happen next year.
Jérôme was born in Metz, France. He has studied biological engineering in the University of Technology of Compiègne (UTC) where he got his master degree and engineer’s degree in 2011. He then immediately joined the French geosurvey as a process engineer working on bioleaching and mine water treatment. In 2016, he became a research project leader, and he is now the legacy site manager of all the closed mine sites owned by BRGM. His main research interests include bioreactor and bioprocess design, geochemistry, valorization of former mine site, mine water and mine waste.