Bioleaching model of a copper-sulfide ore bed in heap and dump configurations

J. M. Casas, J. Martinez, L. Moreno, T. Vargas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)


A two-dimensional (2-D) model for a heap or dump bioleaching of a copper ore containing mainly chalcocite and pyrite has been developed. The rate of the mineral sulfide dissolution was related to the rate of oxidation by bacteria attached onto the ore surface. The latter was calculated using the model of Michaelis-Menten, where both temperature and dissolved oxygen in the leach solution were taken into account by the kinetic equation. Oxygen transport through the ore bed was associated with natural air convection originating from the decrease in gas density inside the ore bed, which was attributable not only to heating, but also to humidification and decrease in the oxygen concentration. The model was used to estimate air-velocity fields and profiles of temperature and oxygen concentrations as well as mineral conversions during the bioleaching operation for ore beds with different pyrite contents, bacterial populations, widths, heights, and permeabilities. The model provides a useful tool for the design, improvement, .and optimization of industrial operating conditions. (.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-909
Number of pages11
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions B: Process Metallurgy and Materials Processing Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

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