A two-dimensional dynamic model for bioleaching of secondary copper minerals from a pile has been developed. In the model, aeration of the pile is considered to be due to natural convection caused by the density gradient in the air within the bed. The rate of sulphide mineral dissolution is modelled according to the unreacted core model. The transport of ferric ions from the particle surface to the reaction zone is calculated considering film diffusion, diffusion within the particle and reaction kinetics. The rate of oxidation of the ferrous ion by bacteria attached to the ore surface is modelled using the Michaelis-Menten relationship. The influences of temperature, dissolved ferric iron and dissolved oxygen in the leaching solution are considered in the kinetic formulation. The set of partial differential equations is solved using the FEMLAB® software. The model was used to study the influence of process variables on copper recovery in the bed with time. This model is a useful tool to aid the design and optimisation of industrial operations. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.