Biological Column Leaching of Chalcocite Ore

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
A biological column leach testwork program was undertaken on a chalcocite ore. Three tests were conducted in all, using 65 in x 100 mm columns in three sections. The tests were started with varying acid strengths and inoculated with bacterial solutions from previous column testwork. The leaching of Cu was found to occur in three stages. These stages consisted of direct acid leaching, bacterial oxidation and ferric iron leaching. These leaching stages can most easily he described through the examination of not only Cu dissolution but also Fe dissolution and its subsequent oxidation and precipitation. The p11 of the system was found to he critical in establishing and maintaining the bacterial leaching system. The oxidation potential was seen to he influenced by the leaching system as the oxidation states altered. Test variables such as, 02, COz, and temperature were all found to influence the system. Final copper recoveries were in excess of 90 per cent in each column test over a leach time ranging from 211 to 328 days. Given similar leach conditions are applied, the application of this technology to site is expected to give comparable results.
Full Article Download:
(1156 kb)