Copper ores bioleaching

Lecture #6

Copper extraction technology
‡ World copper production has increased steadily in the period 1964-2007 from 9 Mt to 16 Mt per year. ‡ In 2008 the copper production will be close to 18 Mt. ‡ More than 20-25 % of that copper is produced via biohydrometallurgy

BioCOP technology

High concentrations of Cu (20-25g/L) are required if iron cementation is used, midrange concentrations (10-12 g/L) are used in solvent extraction.

3 103] Zaldivar. Chile 1995 Oxides/ sulfides Morenci. covellite [16 103] Quebrado Blanc. Arizona 2001 Calcocite. covellite Cu production [t/year] 100 103 75 103 150 103 60 103 54. Monywa Chalcocite [18 103] Myanmar 1999 Jinchuan Copper. Peru 1977 Oxides/sulfides [32 103] Escondida. pyrite [75 103] S&K Copper.Copper bioleaching plants Region /mine Ore processed [t/day] Cerro Colorado. Chile 1994 Chalcocite.2 103 200 103 380 103 40 103 10 103 . Chile 1998 Chalcocite [20 103] Lomas Bayas. [17. Chile 1998 Oxides/sulfides [36 103] Cerro Verde. Chile 1993 Chalcocite. China 2006 Chalcocite.

Copper ore bioleaching ‡ Copper sulfide ore bioleaching processes are currently under full development in Chile. ‡ Bioleaching processes are realized as:  Treatment of secondary sulfide in heaps  Low-grade ores in dumps  Bioleaching of concentrates in reactors at high temperature .

Significant processes occur at heap bioleaching .

Equipment flow diagram for heap bioleaching of chalcopyrite (CaFeS2) ores .

‡ Covellite CuS ‡ Chalcocite CuS2 ‡ Bornite Cu5FeS2 .Copper minerals for bioleaching ‡ Chalcopyrite CuFeS2 is the most abundant copper mineral in nature. (70% of copper reserves in the world).

Copper biooxidation processes .

Chalcopyrite bioleaching ‡ Chalcopyrite dissolves in the presence of ferric ion (Fe3+) according to the following reaction: CuFeS2+ 4Fe3+pCu2+ + 5Fe2+ + 2S0 CuFeS2+ 4Fe3+ + 3O2+ 2H2O pCu2+ +5Fe2+ + 2H2SO4 .

Ag2S layer is porous.Silver-catalyzed chalcopyrite leaching ‡ In the presence of silver ions the leaching of chalcopyrite takes place according to the following reactions: ‡ CuFeS2 + 4Ag+ pCu2+ + Fe2+ + 2Ag2S ‡ Ag2S + 2Fe3+ p 2 Ag+ + Fe2+ + S0 The rate of copper extraction is a faster in the presence of silver ions. .

Microorganisms ‡ Amongst the microorganisms participating in copper bioleaching are:  Iron-oxidising bacteria  Sulfur-oxidising bacteria  Heterotrophic bacteria (Iron±oxidising bacteria are critical for keeping a high oxidising potential in solutions) .

diameter 1-2 . 45 ± 55oC similar morphology Extreme thermophiles 60 ± 90oC Spherical shape.Bacteria Mesophiles -30-42oC.0 Qm Moderate thermophiles.5-2. rod-shaped bacteria with diameter of about 0.

Copper bioleaching .

Particle size effect .

‡ Gold ore is also preatreated by bioleaching in heaps by Newmont Mining in the Carlin Trend region. . ‡ The large copper leaching operation are those by Sociedad Contractual Minera El Abra and the Codelco Division Radimiro Tomic both in Chile producing 225 000 and 180 000 tonnes Cu per annum respectively. Nevada.Heap bioleaching ‡ Copper is the metal recovered i the largest quantity by the heap bioleaching.

acidified with sulfuric acid and agglomerated in rotating drums to bind fine material to coarser agglomerates. ‡ These agglomerates are stacked in the heaps onto lined pads on the aeration pipes are placed. . ‡ The stacked heaps are irrigated with an ironcontaining solution through a second system of pipes laid on the heap surface.Heap creation ‡ Copper ores containing such minerals as chalcocite (Cu2S) or covellite (CuS) are crushed.

Heap preparation (segregation process) .

The flow in the dump of Dexing Copper Mine .

Heap leaching of low-grade copper ores (drainage system) .

Drainage system .

Top of heap .

Bioleaching of flotation tailings .

Heap bioleaching Inoculum preparation station Heap Leaching solution pool .

Bottom of heap Leaching solution .

Copper heap bioleaching .

Heap model .

Copper bioleaching .

Copper recovery from Escondida dump .

Effect of particle size .

the first commercial plant of bioheap leaching with a capacity of 10.8%) .‡ In China.000 t Cu/a at the Zijinshan Copper Mine started operation by the end of 2005. ‡ The ore contained the relative high proportion of pyrite (up to 5.

Zijinshan Copper Mine-China .

Bioleaching and EX-EW flowsheet in Dexing Copper Mine (China) .

Mexico .Bioleaching of a complex polymetallic sulfide concentrate at Monterrey.

Recovery of other metals by bioleaching .

Base metals bioleaching ‡ Bioleaching may be used as an alternative process for extraction and recovery of other metals like:  Nickel  Zinc  Cobalt  Molybdenum These metals occur in significant quantities in sulfidic ores (polymetallic ores) .

The companies have developed biooxidatio process for use in metal extraction Newmount mining BIOPROTR Process ± heap leaching of refractory gold ore BHP Billiton BioCOPTM Process ±agitated tank oxidation and Ltd. bioleaching of copper sulfide BioNICTM Process ± agitated tank oxidation and leaching of nickel sulfides BioZINCTM Process ± agitated tank oxidation and leaching zinc sulfides Godl FieldsnLtd. BIOXTM Process ± agitated tank oxidation and leaching of copper sulfides BacTech/Mintek Process ± agitated tank oxidation and leaching of copper sulfides GEOCOATTM Process ± heap leaching sulfide mineral concentrates . Bac Tech Environmet Geo Biotics Inc.

.Nickel ‡ The nickel mineral most commonly mined is pentlandite (Fe. ‡ Nickel could be recovery from lateritic ores using heterotrophic microorganism such as Aspergillus niger and Penicillium.Ni)9S8. ‡ Billiton developed a process named BioNICTM to treat low-grade nickel ores. Nickel sulfide ±millerite NiS. based on the gold bioleaching.

‡ Heap bioleaching would make Talvivaara the most attractive source of Ni in the whole of Europe.56% Zn.Talvivaara dopsit ‡ The Talvivara deposit is the largest in the world nickel deposit with 340 Mt of ore with an average contents of 0. .02% Co and 0. 0.27% Ni.

Zinc .

Sphalerite ore bioleaching The ore contained sphalerite (ZnS) and pyrite FeS2 Variation of the ferrous (Fe2+) and ferric (Fe3+) concentration Variation of zinc (Zn2+) ion concentration .

Peru .Flow sheet of Tamboraque plant .

. Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans. Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans.38 % cobalt. silicates and gypsum. ‡ The amount of flotation concentrate was approximately 900 000t and contained approximately 80% pyrite and 1. Acidithiobacillus caldus.Cobalt ‡ Bioleaching of cobalt-containing pyrite from KCC Kasese industrial operation. ‡ The predominat organisms:Letospirillum (tow different strains). ‡ The gangue minerals are mostly quartz.

0 .Kasese Cobalt Company Optimum growth temperature: 35OC Solids concentration: 10-15 % by weight Particle size: all particles ground to smaller than 63Qm pH in the tanks : between 1.3 and 2.

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