Microbial heap bioleaching is being used as an industrial process to recover copper from low grade ores. It is known that a consortium of different microorganisms participates in this process. Therefore identification and quantification of communities inhabiting heap bioleaching operations is a key step for understanding the dynamics and role of these microorganisms in the process. A quantitative real-time PCR approach was used to investigate the microbial dynamics in this process. To study the microbial population inhabiting a low-grade copper sulphide ore bioleaching industrial heap process at Escondida Mine in Chile, 16S rRNA genetic libraries were constructed using bacterial and archaeal universal primers. Phylogenetic analyses of sequences retrieved from genetic libraries showed that the community is mainly composed by microoganisms related to Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans (2 strains), Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans, Leptospirillum ferrooxidans, Leptospirillum ferriphilum and the archaea Ferroplasma. Specific primers for real-time PCR determination were designed and tested to amplify each of the sequences obtained by cloning. Standard curves for real time PCR were performed using plasmid DNA from selected clones. This methodology is actually being used to monitor relevant microorganisms inhabiting this low-grade copper sulphide ore bioleaching industrial heap.