Enhancing Bacterial Activity in a Uranium Mine

CIM Bulletin, 1971

D. W. DUNCAN and A. BRUYNESTEYN, Mineral Microbiology Section, B.C. Research, Vancouver, B.C.

Acidic mine waters containing solubilized uranium have been observed in many uranium and some copper mines. In every case, the sulphide and iron oxidizing bacterium, Thiobacillus ferrooxidans, was also present. This bacterium provides the ferric iron required to oxidize u+4, both by oxidizing available ferrous iron and by oxidizing pyrite or other available sulphide minerals. This latter oxidation also provides sulphuric acid and may increase extraction by exposing more uranium. The enhancement of bacterial activity and the results of some field tests are discussed.
Keywords: Additions, Bacteria, bacteria, ferrous iron, pyrite, Recovery of Uranium, sulphuric acid, Iron, leaching, Mine, Mines, oxidation, uranium