Laboratory-scale continuous bio-oxidation of a gold concentrate of high pyrite and enargite content

CRISTIAN MOISES CANALES RAMIREZ, F. Acevedo, J. C. Gentina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bio-oxidation of refractory gold concentrates is currently the alternative of choice as a pretreatment stage prior to cyanidation in gold mining. Bacterial attack removes part or the entire sulphide layer that covers the gold microparticles, facilitating the gold extraction. Common sulphides found in these minerals are pyrite and arsenopyrite, while enargite is rarely found. The objective of this work was to set up a continuous bio-oxidation system for a concentrate of high enargite and pyrite content and to evaluate the effect of the hydraulic residence time (3-8 days) and the pulp density (6-24%) on the process. Results show that the bacterial attack was directed mainly to pyrite as suggested by extractions of 32% for iron (pyrite) and only 2.4% for arsenic (enargite). Increasing residence times had a positive effect on bio-oxidation, while high pulp densities had an adverse effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1055
Number of pages5
JournalProcess Biochemistry
Volume37
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Metabolic stress
  • Pulp density
  • Refractory concentrate
  • Stirred tank reactor
  • Thiobacillus ferrooxidans

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