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Metallurgy and concentration

Intensification of Bacterial-Chemical Leaching of Nickel, Copper and Cobalt from Sulfide Ores Using Microwave Radiation

A. V. Kioresku
  • Far Eastern Branch of the RAS Scientific Research Geotechnological Centre
Date submitted:
Date published:


Currently, Russia and other countries display a steady tendency to decrease the amount of high grade and free- milling ore reserves. In this regard, the attention is being paid to the technology of bacterial-chemical leaching (BCL), which, unlike traditional pyrometallurgical enrichment methods, is well applicable for processing low-grade mineral raw materials. However, this technology has a significant drawback, which is the inability of microorganisms to create sufficiently aggressive conditions for the effective destruction of mineral complexes, which negatively affects the duration of the processes. The article presents the results of an experiment, the purpose of which was to study the multiple short-term effects of microwave radiation on the efficiency of extraction of nickel, copper, and cobalt in the process of bacterial-chemical leaching of sulfide ore. A microwave oven with a power of 900 W and a radiation frequency of 2.45 GHz was used as a source of microwave radiation. Irradiation was carried out every day throughout the experiment. The exposure time was 5 and 10 s; the flux density was 0.7 W/cm 2 . It was found that for all the studied microwave irradiation modes, a significant increase in the efficiency of biomass accumulation and the oxidizing ability of the medium was observed in comparison with the control that was not exposed to microwave radiation. Irradiation for 5 s twice a day increased the reduction of nickel by 16 %, cobalt by 15 % and copper by 6 %. The results of the study allow us to assess the prospects for the application of new biotechnology methods in the industrial practice of ore processing with an improvement in qualityindicators.

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