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Linking leach chemistry and microbiology of low-grade copper ore bioleaching at different temperatures

Authors
  • Jia, Yan
  • Sun, He-yun
  • Tan, Qiao-yi
  • Gao, Hong-shan
  • Feng, Xing-liang
  • Ruan, Ren-man
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2018
Source
Institutional Repository of Institute of Process Engineering, CAS (IPE-IR)
Keywords
License
Unknown
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Abstract

The effects of temperature on chalcocite/pyrite oxidation and the microbial population in the bioleaching columns of a low-grade chalcocite ore were investigated in this study. Raffinate from the industrial bioleaching heap was used as an irrigation solution for columns operated at 20, 30, 45, and 60A degrees C. The dissolution of copper and iron were investigated during the bioleaching processes, and the microbial community was revealed by using a high-throughput sequencing method. The genera of Ferroplasma, Acidithiobacillus, Leptospirillum, Acidiplasma, and Sulfobacillus dominated the microbial community, and the column at a higher temperature favored the growth of moderate thermophiles. Even though microbial abundance and activity were highest at 30A degrees C, the column at a higher temperature achieved a much higher Cu leaching efficiency and recovery, which suggested that the promotion of chemical oxidation by elevated temperature dominated the dissolution of Cu. The highest pyrite oxidation percentage was detected at 45A degrees C. Higher temperature resulted in precipitation of jarosite in columns, especially at 60A degrees C. The results gave implications to the optimization of heap bioleaching of secondary copper sulfide in both enhanced chalcocite leaching and acid/iron balance, from the perspective of leaching temperature and affected microbial community and activity.

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