Transactions of Nonferrous Metals Society of China
JOURNAL OF RAILWAY SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
|Vol. 18 No. 6 December 2008|
（1. School of Minerals Processing and Bioengineering, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China;
2. Jinchuan Group Ltd. (JNMC), Jinchang 737100, China）
Abstract:Jinchuan low grade nickel (0.4%−0.6% Ni, mass fraction) sulfide mineral ore contains a remarkably high content of magnesia (30%−35% MgO, mass fraction) present in the main gangue minerals. Bioleaching was performed to investigate the feasibility to process the mineral due to its relative simplicity, eco-friendly operation and low capital cost requirements. The mixed mesophiles were enriched from acid mine drainage samples collected from several acid mines in China. Considering that the magnesia is easily extracted by acid solution and the excessive Mg2+ will exceed the tolerance of the mixed mesophiles, three effective means were used to reduce the disadvantage of magnesia during the bioleaching operation. They were adaptation of the mixed mesophiles to improve the tolerance; pre-leaching to remove most leachable magnesia and periodic bleeds of a portion of the pregnant leaching solution to control the level of Mg2+ based on the tolerance of the mixed mesophiles. An extraction of nickel (90.3%) and cobalt (88.6%) was successfully achieved within a 300 d leaching process from the Jinchuan low grade nickel sulfide mineral ore using a column reactor at ambient temperature.
Key words: column reactor; mixed mesophiles; nickel sulfide mineral; magnesia adaptation; pre-leaching