Transactions of Nonferrous Metals Society of China
JOURNAL OF RAILWAY SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
|Vol. 18 No. 5 October 2008|
（1. School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa;
2. Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria）
Abstract:The role that ore mineralogy plays in understanding and optimizing the conditions favouring the bioleaching of complex sulphide ore containing high amounts of siderite was studied using mixed cultures of mesophilic bacteria, with emphasis on zinc, lead and copper recoveries. The influencing parameters investigated include particle size, stirring speed, volume of inoculum, pulp density, and pH. The results show that the mixed mesophilic cultures can extract about two and a half times the amount of zinc than copper over an equivalent period of time. The highest zinc and copper recoveries of 89.2% and 36.4% respectively are obtained at particle size of 75 µm, stirring speed of 150 r/min, pulp density of 10% (w/v), 12% (v/v) inoculum concentration, and a pH of 1.6. Variations in elemental composition within different particle sizes resulting from the mineralogy of the ore account for the bioleaching behaviour at varying particle sizes. The dissolution at varying pulp density, volume of inoculum, solution pH and the low solution potential observed are also influenced by ore mineralogy.
Key words: sulphide ore; ore mineralogy; mesophiles; bioleaching; processing parameters