ABSTRACT: A mixed culture of moderately thermophilic microorganisms was enriched from acid mine drainage samples collected from several chalcopyrite mines in China. Such mixed culture can be used to effectively extract copper from chalcopyrite. Furthermore, after being adapted to gradually increased concentration of chalcopyrite concentrate, the tolerance of the mixed culture to chalcopyrite concentrate was brought up to 80 g/L. The effects of several leaching parameters on copper recovery in stirred tank reactor also had been investigated. The results of the investigation show that it was possible to achieve a copper extraction rate of 75% in 44 days at a pulp density of 8%. The leaching rate of chalcopyrite concentrate tended to increase with dissolved total iron concentration. At low pH ranges, more microscopic counts of microorganisms were found in the solution. Furthermore, the analysis of leached residues indicates that the passivation of chalcopyrite concentrate was mainly due to a mass of jarosite and PbSO(4) on the mineral surface, other than the elemental sulphur layer. The bacterial community composition was analyzed by using Amplified Ribosomal DNA Restriction Analysis. Two moderately thermophilic bacteria species were identified as Leptospirillum ferriphilum and Acidithiobacillus caldus with abundance of 67% and 33% in the bio-pulp, respectively.
Bioresource technology 01/2009; 100(2):515-20. · 4.25 Impact Factor