The application of biologically mediated leaching methods - A comprehensive review

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 96, No. 1072, 2003

A.R. Marchbank, E. Kirby, F.F. Roberto

The application of biologically assisted methods for metal extraction in the mining industry has a long history, but development of modern techniques has been relatively slow. There is, however, a resurgence of interest in the industry with the recent development of methods to successfully treat base metals concentrates. Two major pilot plant programs for treatment of chalcopyrite concentrates have been initiated in the past year and results from one are beginning to be released. This paper provides an overview of methods that have been applied in the past, from the earliest deliberate applications of the technology, through the copper and uranium heap and dump leach applications, the more highly engineered agitated tank leach gold applications and the developments currently taking place in the industry.