The effect of an adapted dissimilatory iron reducing bacterial consortium (DIRB) towards bio-reduction of Sukinda chromite overburden (COB) with enhanced recovery of nickel and cobalt is being reported for the first time. The remarkable ability of DIRB to utilize Fe(III) as terminal electron acceptor reducing it to Fe(II) proved beneficial for treatment of COB as compared to previous reports for nickel leaching. XRD studies showed goethite as the major iron-bearing phase in COB. Under facultative anaerobic conditions, goethite was reduced to hematite and magnetite with the exposure of nickel oxide. FESEM studies showed DIRB to be associated with COB through biofilm formation with secondary mineral precipitates of magnetite deposited as tiny globular clusters on the extra polymeric substances. The morphological and mineralogical changes in COB, post DIRB application, yielded a maximum of 68.5% nickel and 80.98% cobalt in 10 days using 8 M H2SO4. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.