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Biooxidation Pretreatment of Refractory Sulfidic and Sulfidic-Carbonaceous Gold Ores and Concentrates

By
J.A. Brierley
J.A. Brierley
Newmont Technical Facility, 10101 East Dry Creek Road, Englewood, CO 80112
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Published:
January 01, 1997

Abstract

Bacterial oxidation of refractory sulfidic gold ores and concentrates can be used as a pretreatment process to enhance the recovery of gold. Sulfide minerals that occlude gold, such as pyrite, arsenopyrite, pyrrhotite, and marcasite, are biooxidized by acidophilic, chemolithotrophic bacteria. The biooxidation process results in the solubilization of the sulfide minerals with increased exposure of gold for subsequent recovery using standard metallurgical processes such as cyanide leaching. The mineralogy of the refractory gold ore determines the effectiveness of the biooxidation process. The ore must possess sufficient iron sulfide to support the bacterial growth and carbonate minerals, which can consume the acid, must be absent or present in such low concentrations that the biooxidation will result in a net production of acid. Several mining operations currently utilize biooxidation as a pretreatment process for refractory gold ore concentrates. Research and development are in progress to extend the use of biooxidation for pretreatment of lower grade sulfidic, refractory ores.

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The Environmental Geochemistry of Mineral Deposits: Part A: Processes, Techniques, and Health Issues Part B: Case Studies and Research Topics

G.S. Plumlee
G.S. Plumlee
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M.J. Logsdon
M.J. Logsdon
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L.F. Filipek
L.F. Filipek
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Society of Economic Geologists
Volume
6
ISBN electronic:
9781629490137
Publication date:
January 01, 1997

GeoRef

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