Microbial Ecology Assessment of Mixed Copper Oxide/Sulfide Dump Leach Operation

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Microbial consortia composed of complex mixtures of autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria are responsible for the dissolution of metals from sulfide minerals. Thus, an efficient copper bioleaching operation depends on the microbial ecology of the system. A microbial ecology study of a mixed oxide/sulfide copper leaching operation was conducted using an "overlay" plating technique to differentiate and identify various bacterial consortium members of the genera Thiobacillus, �Leptospirillum�, �Ferromicrobium�, and Acidiphilium. Two temperatures (30C and 45C) were used to select for mesophilic and moderately thermophilic bacteria. Cell numbers varied from 0-106 cells/g dry ore, depending on the sample location and depth. After ... continued below

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Bruhn, D. F.; Thompson, D. N. & Noah, K.S . June 1, 1999.

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Microbial consortia composed of complex mixtures of autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria are responsible for the dissolution of metals from sulfide minerals. Thus, an efficient copper bioleaching operation depends on the microbial ecology of the system. A microbial ecology study of a mixed oxide/sulfide copper leaching operation was conducted using an "overlay" plating technique to differentiate and identify various bacterial consortium members of the genera Thiobacillus, �Leptospirillum�, �Ferromicrobium�, and Acidiphilium. Two temperatures (30C and 45C) were used to select for mesophilic and moderately thermophilic bacteria. Cell numbers varied from 0-106 cells/g dry ore, depending on the sample location and depth. After acid curing for oxide leaching, no viable bacteria were recovered, although inoculation of cells from raffinate re-established a microbial population after three months. Due to the low pH of the operation, very few non-iron-oxidizing acidophilic heterotrophs were recovered. Moderate thermophiles were isolated from the ore samples. Pregnant liquor solutions (PLS) and raffinate both contained a diversity of bacteria. In addition, an intermittently applied waste stream that contained high levels of arsenic and fluoride was tested for toxicity. Twenty vol% waste stream in PLS killed 100% of the cells in 48 hours, indicating substantial toxicity and/or growth inhibition. The data indicate that bacteria populations can recover after acid curing, and that application of the waste stream to the dump should be avoided. Monitoring the microbial ecology of the leaching operation provided significant information that improved copper recovery.

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  • Biohydrometallurgy and Environment Toward the Mining of the 21st Century, El Escorial, Madrid, Spain, 06/20/99 - 06/23/99

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  • Other: DE00009075
  • Report No.: INEEL/CON-98-00539
  • Grant Number: AC07-94ID13223
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 9075
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc794619

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  • June 1, 1999

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  • Dec. 19, 2015, 7:14 p.m.

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  • Dec. 11, 2017, 1:17 p.m.

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Bruhn, D. F.; Thompson, D. N. & Noah, K.S . Microbial Ecology Assessment of Mixed Copper Oxide/Sulfide Dump Leach Operation, article, June 1, 1999; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc794619/: accessed November 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.