Electrochemical aspects of bioleaching multisulfide minerals

Natarajan, K. A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
This paper deals with the various electro- and biochemical mechanisms involved in the bioleaching of multisulfide minerals such as those containing copper-lead-zinc and copper-nickel-iron. Galvanic series for sulfide minerals consisting of pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena, sphalerite, pentlundite, and pyrrhotite in an acid bacterial leaching system is illustrated, and the role of relative electrochemical activity on selective dissolution is discussed. Typical leaching results are shown to illustrate the practical applicability of galvanic effects in bioleaching of multisulfides. Attachment of Thiobacillus fewooxidans onto chalcopyrite and sphalerite mineral substrates is illustrated through scanning electron micrographs. The role of high-metal-tolerant, specially adapted strains in the leaching of multimetal concentrates is also outlined.
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