Development Of A Mathematical Model For Continuous Tank Bioleaching
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 2006
Paper written on project work carried out in partial fulfilment of BSc (Eng) (Chemical) degree This paper details the formulation of a mathematical model for the simulation of a primary bioleach reactor, with specific reference to the leaching of pyrite. The model is based on the direct reaction mechanism, where the leaching of pyrite is said to occur via a two-step process. The process involves the formation of ferrous?iron through the chemical leaching of pyrite and subsequent bacterial oxidation of ferrous-iron back into ferric-iron. At steady state the rate of chemical leaching and bacterial oxidation are linked by the ratio of ferrous-iron to ferric-iron in solution. The extent of conversion of pyrite in the reactor system is described using the segregated flow model, with the exit age distribution of the solid phase being described by the Tanks-in-Series model. The final phase in model formulation involves the inclusion of steady state material balances on the bacteria and fluid phase components. The model is compared to pilot plant data and laboratory data for two different types of pyrite concentrates, with simulation results showing that the model is in good agreement with the data. Author key words: Bioleaching; pyrite; primary reactor; modeling; segregated-flow model; tanks-in series model.