Microbial Leaching of Manganese Oxide Ore with Recovery of Manganese from Leach Solutions

Noble, E. G. ; Baglin, E. G. ; Brierley, C. L. ; Brierley, J. A. ; Lampshire, D. L. ; McIntosh, S. N.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 14
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1993
The U.S. Bureau of Mines investigated column bioleaching as a means of recovering manganese from a domestic low-grade oxide ore. Manganese was solubilized from the ore using indigenous heterotrophic microorganisms and molasses as the nutrient source. The effects of medium flow rate, molasses concentration, and frequency of medium replacement on the rate of manganese extraction were examined. Results showed that flow rates between 0.4 and 8.1 L/min/m2 had little impact on manganese extraction, while an increase in the total amount of molasses applied during leaching directly affected the extent and rate of manganese extraction. Manganese extractions of more than 90% were achieved in 12 weeks of bioleaching in column tests using 500 g charges of ore. Sugar utilization by the microorganisms and formation of organic acid metabolites were monitored by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Two methods were evaluated to recover manganese from the sugar- depleted bioleaching medium: (1) adsorption onto weak cation exchange resin, followed by stripping and precipitation techniques; and (2) direct precipitation of the manganese as MnCO, using ammonium carbonate. Both recovery methods removed at least 95% of the solubilized manganese from the medium as a carbonate salt. The stripped molasses medium was replenished with fresh molasses and recycled back through the bioleach column, successfully leaching more manganese.
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