bioleaching


The term bioleaching is described as a natural process; This process is also known as “Bacterial Leaching”, it consists of the treatment of sulfur minerals by the action of bacteria such as Thiobacillus Ferrooxidans in order to oxidize said minerals in search of the release of the metallic values ​​that they possess. . In other words, it is a natural process that manifests itself in the attack of a set of bacteria that are responsible for oxidizing sulfur minerals for their food, causing the escape of each of the metals found in them. This technique is generally used for the recovery of certain metals such as gold, silver, copper, etc.

As it is well said, bioleaching is used for the treatment of certain minerals, specifically in gold-bearing sulphide minerals with the help of the bacterium Thiobacillus Ferrooxidans, whose purpose is to oxidize those species reduced from sulfur to sulfate and the ferrous ion to ferric ion.

In bacterial leaching, a separation process occurs that can be differentiated from the leaching process since in the former it occurs with living organisms, that is, bacteria, where the best known is the already mentioned Thiobacillus ferroxidans. It should be noted that these bacteria can be classified as harmless to the ecosystem and to man, they do not release any type of toxic or corrosive gases and require little energy, being seen as something positive and characteristic of the bacteria; In addition, these feed on certain minerals such as sulfur, iron or arsenic, which are elements that are generally found close to copper sulfides and that must be released in order to recover the copper to a purer state.