Biological Leaching of Mill Products

Thiobacillus ferrooxidans released copper from -400- mesh chalcopyrite at a rate of 54 mg/ I / hr. Any flotation chemicals remaining on the concentrate did not inhibit the leach rate. Zinc rougher tailings were also leachable. With bacteria, 75 per cent of the zinc and 68 per cent of the copper came into solution. In the sterile controls, only 16 per cent of the zinc and 10 per cent of the copper were released; 100 per cent of the copper and 36 per cent of the zinc were leached from pyrite cinders through the action of bacteria, and 17 per cent of the copper and 10 per cent of the zinc were solubilized in the sterile controls. Less than 0.027 per cent of ~he iron came into solution. The majority of the copper in a converter slag was acid-soluble, but a reverberatory slag responded to microbiological leaching. About 62 per cent of the copper came into solution, compared to 12 per cent in the sterile control. The various factors influencing the rate and extent of microbiological leaching are discussed.
Keywords: Bacteria, copper, Copper Minerals, leaching, pyrite, sulphuric acid, zinc, leaching, sulphide, Sulphides, zinc
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