Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Control of the redox potential by oxygen limitation improves bacterial leaching of chalcopyrite

Third, K., Cord-Ruwisch, R. and Watling, H.R. (2002) Control of the redox potential by oxygen limitation improves bacterial leaching of chalcopyrite. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 78 (4). pp. 433-441.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


Shake flask and stirred tank bioleaching experiments showed that the dissolution of chalcopyrite is inhibited by ferric ion concentrations as low as 200 mg L-1 and redox potentials >420 mV (vs. Ag/AgCl). Chemical leaching of chalcopyrite (4% suspension, surface area 2.3 m2 g-1) was enhanced fourfold in the presence of 0.1 M ferrous sulphate compared with 0.1 M ferric sulphate. A computer-controlled reactor was designed to function as a "potentiostat"-bioreactor by arresting the air supply to the reactor when the redox potential in solution was greater than a designated setpoint. Leaching at a low, constant redox potential (380 mV vs. Ag/AgCl) achieved final copper recoveries of 52%-61%, which was twice that achieved with a continuous supply of oxygen (<30% extraction). The bacterial populations were observed to continue growing under oxygen limitation but in a controlled manner that was found to improve chalcopyrite dissolution. As the control mechanism is easily established and is likely to decrease production cost, the use of this technology may find application in industry.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley - V C H Verlag GmbbH & Co
Copyright: © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Item Control Page Item Control Page