Abstract The growth of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans, their attachment to sulfide minerals and detachment during bacterial leaching are discussed in this paper. Growth of the bacteria has been measured by cell count of the supernatants of the mineral suspensions while attachment to minerals and detachment were measured by periodic protein estimations for both the solid and liquid phases. Even in the absence of the nutrients, bacterial growth occurs and increases the available cell population during leaching; such growth was greater in sphalerite suspensions than in galena suspensions. The bacterial attachment studies suggest that more cells are attached onto galena mineral surface than to sphalerite surface. The mechanisms of bacterial attachment and detachment are discussed.