Kinetics of Biooxidation of Coarse Refractory Gold Ores
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1993
Bacterial oxidation of gold-encapsulating sulfide minerals in low-grade refractory ores was investigated over a period of one year. Crushed ore samples were held in wet, bacteria-inoculated, aerated columns. Sulfide mineral oxidation data were correlated with subsequent gold cyanide extractabilities. Experimental results for both sulfide conversion and gold extraction were compared with a biooxidation kinetics model that incorporates rock size, mineral grain size, and heterogeneous pyrite reaction kinetics. Using the model, extrapolations were made over three years for biooxidation of ore in large stockpiles. Ferric ion (oxidant) diffusion in the solution-filled pores of the rock matrix does not control the biooxidation kinetics of ore crushed to -25 mm.