Investigating the Bioleaching of an Arsenic Mine Tailing Using a Mixed Mesophilic Culture
The aim of this study was to investigate the microbial colonization and arsenic leaching kinetics of South Korean mine tailings containing arsenopyrite at fixed temperatures (20°C, 30°C and 45°C) and at ramped up temperatures (25 to 45°C, with a 2°C daily increase). The experiments were conducted in a packed bed of inert granite pebbles coated with the tailings material and leached with a mesophilic culture dominated by Acidithiobacillus caldus (56%), a lesser percentage of Leptospirillum ferriphilum (29%) and Archaea (15%), using 1 g/L ferrous-enriched 0K medium. The ramped-up temperature experiment was conducted in triplicate and columns were sacrificed after different leach periods to study the evolution of microbial species dominating the colonization. The leaching performance was evaluated using the arsenic released into solution, the iron oxidation rates, the pH and the redox potential. The microbial speciation of the culture attached to the solids during the leach experiment was determined upon completion of each experiment. A steady arsenic solubilisation of between 94 and 97% was observed among the various column experiment after 88 days post inoculation. Microbial speciation performed following the leaching of the mineral indicated a shift of microbial communities in the columns when compared to the initial inoculum.
Sabrina Hedrich, Kathrin Rübberdt, Franz Glombitza, Wolfgang Sand, Axel Schippers, Mario Vera Véliz and Sabine Willscher
E. Ngoma et al., "Investigating the Bioleaching of an Arsenic Mine Tailing Using a Mixed Mesophilic Culture", Solid State Phenomena, Vol. 262, pp. 668-672, 2017