From Laboratory to Application Heap Bioleach or not
The importance of comprehensive laboratory evaluation for development of an ore body to commercial processing using biohydrometallurgy cannot be understated. Laboratory evaluation for a biohydrometallurgical process must include the microbiological component and definition of operating parameters for the engineers to design the commercial plant. Failure to meet commercial production at a mine site can be a consequence of incomplete understanding of biohydrometallurgical technologies for processing a specific ore. One example is the inability of a copper bioleach process to meet the design criteria in part because of lack of sufficient testing to demonstrate the ramifications of fluoride toxicity to the microbial component of the bioleach process. Laboratory research has demonstrated toxicity of low levels of fluoride to Acidithiobacillus species. However, laboratory determined toxicity values are not always relevant to field conditions at commercial bioleach operations. This is the case with fluoride toxicity where complexing reactions increase the amount of fluoride required for toxicity. Consequently, the toxic fluoride concentrations at field sites can be significantly higher than toxic levels reported in the laboratory, but still achieve concentration inhibitory for the microorganisms.
Edgardo R. Donati, Marisa R. Viera, Eduardo L. Tavani, María A. Giaveno, Teresa L. Lavalle, Patricia A. Chiacchiarini
J. A. Brierley and M.C. Kuhn, "From Laboratory to Application Heap Bioleach or not", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 71-73, pp. 311-317, 2009