The formation and consumption of elemental S were investigated in the bioleaching of chalcopyrite within and without a CE dialysis membrane in Acidithiobacillus caldus cultures. The bacteria were supplemented with tetrathionate outside the membrane. XPS analysis showed that monosulfide species and elemental S were formed on CuFeS 2 surface regardless of the enclosure in the dialysis membrane. They diminished over time in the inoculated systems. In the membrane enclosure, colloidal S partially dissolves and can pass the dialysis membrane for bacterial oxidation to sulfuric acid. Anaerobic pre-oxidation of CuFeS 2 by Fe 3 + produced S-rich deposition on mineral surface. The solubilization of Cu from membrane-enclosed pre-oxidized chalcopyrite in the A. caldus culture was much slower as compared to direct contact with bacteria. The difference is attributed to slow diffusion through the dialysis membrane as well as clogging caused by polymerized S on the inside of the membrane.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
- Metals and Alloys
- Materials Chemistry