Improvement in Metal Recovery from Laterite Tailings by Bioleaching
In previous studies it has been showed that sulphuric bio-acid is a good leaching agent for laterite tailings. In this work we evaluated nickel and cobalt recoveries from tailings of Caron technology process using sulphuric acid produced by Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans cultures under different conditions. In studies where tailings were initially added to the cultures, high nickel and cobalt recoveries (about 60 % for cobalt and 85-100 % for nickel) were reached after 13 days when low pulp densities (1 % and 2.5 %) of laterite tailings were used. These high recoveries fitted very well with the low pH values measured in these cultures. However, metal recoveries were negligible when higher pulp densities were used. Due to such reason, the performance of pre-cultivation configuration was evaluated; for that laterite tailings were added to the cultures after 24 or 48 hours of bacterial growth. This configuration was very efficient even at high pulp density (like 10 %) reaching recoveries (almost 50 % for cobalt and 80 % for nickel) close to those observed where tailings at low pulp densities were initially added to the cultures.
Edgardo R. Donati, Marisa R. Viera, Eduardo L. Tavani, María A. Giaveno, Teresa L. Lavalle, Patricia A. Chiacchiarini
I. Hernández Díaz et al., "Improvement in Metal Recovery from Laterite Tailings by Bioleaching", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 71-73, pp. 489-492, 2009