The batch and continuous bacterial leaching kinetics of a refractory gold-bearing pyrite concentrate

Master Thesis

1989

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University of Cape Town

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The recent focus on bacterial leaching as a preoxidation step in the treatment of refractory gold bearing sulphide ores and concentrates, has created the need for kinetic models to adequately describe bacterial leaching reactor performance. This work is a kinetic study of the bacterial leaching of a refractory gold bearing, pyrite concentrate. The study includes the presentation of two mechanistically based, the shrinking particle and propagating pore (Hansford and Drossou, 1986), batch reactor kinetic models. These models are derived for single stage continuous reactor description. In addition, the empirical logistic growth model (Pinches et al., 1987) is presented for both batch and continuous reactor description. The models are correlated with the experimental data. Three narrow size fractions of the pyrite concentrate were subjected to batch and continuous bacterial oxidation, using a Thiobacillus ferrooxidans culture. Time profile data of the pyrite oxidation were obtained for the batch reactor study. Similarly, retention time profile data of pyrite oxidation was obtained for the single stage continuous reactor. The .gold extraction as a function of sulphide oxidation as well as fraction arsenic leached, was established.
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Bibliography: pages 125-136.

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