Metall. Res. Technol.
Volume 116, Number 1, 2019
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||25 January 2019|
Influence of particle size on copper recovery from sulfide ore by the moderately thermophilic microorganisms
School of Minerals Processing and Bioengineering, Central South University,
410083, PR China
2 Key Laboratory of Biometallurgy of Ministry of Education, Central South University, Changsha 410083, PR China
* e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 19 October 2018
The bioleaching of copper ore by the defined moderately thermophilic consortium containing Leptospirillum ferriphilum and Acidithiobacillus caldus was carried out in the bench-scale column. Bioleaching experiments showed that the leaching rate was 25% higher than that of a conventional leaching and the acid consumption was reduced by 33% at the optimal leaching condition. Meanwhile, the effect of different particle sizes on the rate of the copper leaching was also investigated, and it was shown that the particle size affects the bioleaching rate significantly in the range of 5–25 mm, in which approximately 89.27% of copper was extracted at 5–10 mm, while only 57.08% at 15–25 mm. The results obtained by X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis of the mineral samples before and after microbial and chemical leaching revealed that the decrease in particle size of the minerals resulted in an enhancement of complex microbial interactions. Especially for the particle size of 5–10 mm, a significant amount of elemental sulfur and jarosite formed on the surface of the mineral, while it was further confirmed that critical microbe-mineral interactions have taken place on the mineral surface. The results indicated that mineral particle size is an integral factor to improve the copper recovery from ore in heap leaching operation. This will provide a reference to the heap construction for the bioleaching.
Key words: sulfide copper ore / bioleaching / particle size / copper-leaching rate / moderately thermophile
© EDP Sciences, 2019
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