Chalcopyrite passivation greatly reduces the yields from leaching and bioleaching but the problem has not been successfully resolved. Passivation involves the formation of a layer of secondary minerals on chalcopyrite surface, which becomes a diffusion barrier to fluxes of reactants and products. This study aims to identify secondary minerals formed during chalcopyrite passivation in the presence of iron- and sulfur-oxidizing bacteria (Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans) in mineral salts solution. The minerals were characterized with X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy. Potassium jarosite was the initial product covering chalcopyrite grains, followed by the formation of ammonio-jarosite. Covellite and elemental sulfur were also detected in the passivation layer. The results suggest that passivation may be reduced by controlling jarosite precipitation and prior acclimatization of bacteria to oxidize CuS and elemental S in the presence of ferrous and ferric iron.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
- Metals and Alloys
- Materials Chemistry