Biological Transformation of Kimberlite Ores
The weathering of kimberlite ores leads to the weakening of the kimberlite structure, which allows the use of less intensive comminution procedures during the liberation of diamonds from the ore, resulting in a decrease in potential damage to the diamonds. The possibility to use iron- and sulphur-oxidising chemolithotrophic microorganisms as a way to accelerate the weathering of kimberlite ores was evaluated. It was demonstrated that the presence of sulphuric acid as well as ferric iron could result in changes in the clay component of these ores. The results provided promising evidence that weathering can be successfully accelerated, but showed that the degree of transformation varies between different kimberlite types with different mineralogical characteristics.
Axel Schippers, Wolfgang Sand, Franz Glombitza and Sabine Willscher
M. Gericke et al., "Biological Transformation of Kimberlite Ores", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 20-21, pp. 75-78, 2007