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Biohydrometallurgy and Biomineral Processing Technology: A Review on its Past, Present and Future

Author Affiliations

  • 1Mineral Resource Research Division, Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM), Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 305-350, REPUBLIC OF KOREA
  • 2 SRM Research Institute, SRM University, Kattankulathur - 603 203, Kancheepuram district, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, INDIA
  • 3 Department of Mining Engineering, Mineral Processing Division, Suleyman Demirel University, TR32260, Isparta, TURKEY

Res. J. Recent Sci., Volume 1, Issue (10), Pages 85-99, October,2 (2012)


The Microbial hydrometallurgy and microbial mineral processing of metal sulphides is currently a well established technology. Over past years there has been a huge amount of developments with regards to the understanding of its both engineering perspective as well as fundamental approach with regards to the microorganisms. The huge diversity of the microorganisms, which has come into picture over the years of research and development have made the engineers to go beyond several limitations of working temperature to salt tolerance of the microorganisms in harsh conditions to deliver better technologies for the future operative plants. Today scientists have been able to deliver the various mechanisms involved in bioleaching but still there are facets to be really understood and more importantly on the front how lab scale research can be turned out into full scale operation by scaling up the research and optimizing the engineering aspects of the research. Most of the bioleaching operation has shown their productivity in commercial application of refractory gold concentrates using mesophilic microorganisms followed by the cyanide leaching to recover optimum amount of gold with an environment friendly method compared to the conventional method of roasting. Research in the area of chalcopyrite bioleaching is still continuing o solve the mysteries of jarosite precipitation and formation of passivation layer, which inhibits the copper recovery in a heap leaching of chalcopyrite by biological methods. Use of extreme thermophiles in chalcopyrite bioleaching is making a revolutionary movement to solve the mystery behind the scaling up the process, which could be possible to be solved in future. Bioleaching with other sulphide minerals together with Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) mitigation, which is a serious concern today, is taking is taking shape today in order to cater the needs of the mankind. However the biohydrometallurgy research seems to contribute to a greater extent in framing environmental friendly process with regards to hydrometallurgical operations in future and establish a developed technology to benefit human beings needs by its upcoming research and development.


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