Topical Collection "Bioleaching"

Editor

Collection Editor
Dr. Anna H. Kaksonen

CSIRO Land and Water, 147 Underwood Avenue, Floreat, WA 6014, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: biomining; bioleaching; biooxidation; bioreduction; bioprecipitation; biocorrosion; biogeochemistry; bioflotation; biofouling; biohydrometallurgy; biotechnical treatment

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since the discovery of bioleaching microorganisms and their role in metal extraction in the 1940s, a number of approaches have been developed to enhance microbially catalysed solubilisation of metals. These include reactor/tank, vat, lagoon, heap, dump, in place or in situ leaching techniques. Bioleaching has enabled the transformation of uneconomic resources to reserves, and thus helped to alleviate the challenges related to continually declining ore grades. Commercial biomining applications have mainly targeted copper, gold, uranium, nickel, cobalt and zinc sulfides. More recently, the possibilities of bioleaching oxide ores and extracting other commodities such as rare earth elements and phosphorus have also been explored. Progress in characterising microbial strains and communities has increased our understanding of the microbial catalysts, and facilitated the optimisation of bioleaching processes. For this topical collection, we invite contributions on various aspects of bioleaching, including but not limited to bioleaching methods, mechanisms, microorganisms, and applications to extract various commodities from ores, concentrates as well as waste materials.

Both original contributions and reviews are welcome.

Dr. Anna H. Kaksonen
Collection Editor

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Keywords

  • biohydrometallurgy
  • bioleaching
  • bioleaching microorganisms
  • bioleaching methods
  • bioleaching mechanisms
  • bioleaching of ores and concentrates
  • bioleaching of waste materials
  • biomining
  • biooxidation
  • biorecovery
  • oxidative bioleaching
  • reductive bioleaching

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (10 papers)

2019

Jump to: 2018, 2017

Open AccessArticle Bioleaching of Major, Rare Earth, and Radioactive Elements from Red Mud by using Indigenous Chemoheterotrophic Bacterium Acetobacter sp.
Minerals 2019, 9(2), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9020067
Received: 12 December 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 13 January 2019 / Published: 22 January 2019
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Abstract
The aim was to study the bioleaching performance of chemoheterotrophic bacterium involved in leaching of major, rare earth, and radioactive elements from red mud (RM), and to explore the underlying mechanism. An acid-producing bacterium, identified as Acetobacter sp., was isolated from RM impoundment [...] Read more.
The aim was to study the bioleaching performance of chemoheterotrophic bacterium involved in leaching of major, rare earth, and radioactive elements from red mud (RM), and to explore the underlying mechanism. An acid-producing bacterium, identified as Acetobacter sp., was isolated from RM impoundment and used in the bioleaching experiments under one-step, two-step and spent medium process at up to 10% pulp density. The results showed that the leaching ratios of Al, Lu, Y, Sc, and Th were 55%, 53%, 61%, 52%, and 53% respectively under one-step process at 2% pulp density. Under both one- and two-step processes at 2% pulp density, the radioactivity of bioleached RM can meet the relevant regulation in China. The total amount of organic acids excreted by Acetobacter sp. increased with an increase of RM pulp density. After bioleaching, contents of hematite and gibbsite decreased but perovskite increased in RM. Micromorphology analysis indicated that the cells of Acetobacter sp. adhered to RM particles and formed large-size aggregates, and a new crystal of weddellite emerged. In view of the shorter lag phase and smaller biomass comparing to fungi even under direct contact with RM, bacterium Acetobacter sp. is supposed to apply to in situ heap or dump bioleaching of RM. Full article
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2018

Jump to: 2019, 2017

Open AccessReview Assessment of Bioleaching Microbial Community Structure and Function Based on Next-Generation Sequencing Technologies
Minerals 2018, 8(12), 596; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8120596
Received: 4 September 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 17 December 2018
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Abstract
It is widely known that bioleaching microorganisms have to cope with the complex extreme environment in which microbial ecology relating to community structure and function varies across environmental types. However, analyses of microbial ecology of bioleaching bacteria is still a challenge. To address [...] Read more.
It is widely known that bioleaching microorganisms have to cope with the complex extreme environment in which microbial ecology relating to community structure and function varies across environmental types. However, analyses of microbial ecology of bioleaching bacteria is still a challenge. To address this challenge, numerous technologies have been developed. In recent years, high-throughput sequencing technologies enabling comprehensive sequencing analysis of cellular RNA and DNA within the reach of most laboratories have been added to the toolbox of microbial ecology. The next-generation sequencing technology allowing processing DNA sequences can produce available draft genomic sequences of more bioleaching bacteria, which provides the opportunity to predict models of genetic and metabolic potential of bioleaching bacteria and ultimately deepens our understanding of bioleaching microorganism. High-throughput sequencing that focuses on targeted phylogenetic marker 16S rRNA has been effectively applied to characterize the community diversity in an ore leaching environment. RNA-seq, another application of high-throughput sequencing to profile RNA, can be for both mapping and quantifying transcriptome and has demonstrated a high efficiency in quantifying the changing expression level of each transcript under different conditions. It has been demonstrated as a powerful tool for dissecting the relationship between genotype and phenotype, leading to interpreting functional elements of the genome and revealing molecular mechanisms of adaption. This review aims to describe the high-throughput sequencing approach for bioleaching environmental microorganisms, particularly focusing on its application associated with challenges. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Synchrotron Radiation Based Study of the Catalytic Mechanism of Ag+ to Chalcopyrite Bioleaching by Mesophilic and Thermophilic Cultures
Minerals 2018, 8(9), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8090382
Received: 25 July 2018 / Revised: 27 August 2018 / Accepted: 31 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
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Abstract
The catalytic mechanism of Ag+ for chalcopyrite bioleaching by mesophilic culture (at 30 °C) and thermophilic culture (at 48 °C) was investigated using synchrotron radiation-based X-ray diffraction (SR-XRD) and S K-edge and Fe L-edge X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy. Bioleaching [...] Read more.
The catalytic mechanism of Ag+ for chalcopyrite bioleaching by mesophilic culture (at 30 °C) and thermophilic culture (at 48 °C) was investigated using synchrotron radiation-based X-ray diffraction (SR-XRD) and S K-edge and Fe L-edge X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy. Bioleaching experiments showed that copper extraction from chalcopyrite bioleaching by both cultures was promoted significantly by Ag+, with more serious corrosion occurring on the minerals surface. SR-XRD and XANES analyses showed that the intermediates S0, jarosite and secondary minerals (bornite, chalcocite and covellite) formed for all bioleaching experiments. For these secondary minerals, the formation of bornite and covellite was promoted significantly in the presence of Ag+ for both cultures, while Ag+ has almost no effect on the formation of chalcocite. These results provided insight into the catalytic mechanisms of Ag+ to chalcopyrite bioleaching by the mesophilic and thermophilic cultures, which are both probably due to the rapid formation of bornite by Ag+ and the conversion of bornite to covellite. Full article
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Open AccessArticle (Bio)leaching Behavior of Chromite Tailings
Minerals 2018, 8(6), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8060261
Received: 20 April 2018 / Revised: 2 June 2018 / Accepted: 14 June 2018 / Published: 20 June 2018
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Abstract
Chromite beneficiation operations in Sukinda valley (India) produce large amounts of tailings, which are stored in open air. In this study, bioleaching experiments were carried out in batch reactors with Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans or Pseudomonas putida in order to determine the potential leachability of [...] Read more.
Chromite beneficiation operations in Sukinda valley (India) produce large amounts of tailings, which are stored in open air. In this study, bioleaching experiments were carried out in batch reactors with Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans or Pseudomonas putida in order to determine the potential leachability of metals contained in these tailings due to biological activity. Acidic and alkaline pH resulted from the incubation of tailings with A. thiooxidans and P. putida, respectively. Tailings were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and chemical extraction of Cr(VI) with KH2PO4 was performed. Mineralogical investigations showed that tailings are mainly composed of chromite, hematite, lizardite, chlorite, and goethite, which are all known as Cr-bearing phases. During the leaching with A. thiooxidans and P. putida, total Cr was initially extracted as Cr(VI) due to the presence of phosphates in the medium, and subsequently decreased because of Cr(VI) adsorption and reduction to Cr(III). Reduction was associated with bacterial activity, but also with the presence of ferrous iron. Despite the occurrence of siderophores in the tailings after incubation with P. putida, under acidic conditions, Fe extracted remained higher. Extracted Ni, Mn, and Al concentrations also increased over time. Given the significant amount of chromite tailings produced every year, this study shows that tailings storage and leachability represent a potential source of chromium. However, our findings suggest that the presence of bacterial communities, as well as physicochemical processes, favor Cr(VI) reduction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Comparison of Heterotrophic Bioleaching and Ammonium Sulfate Ion Exchange Leaching of Rare Earth Elements from a Madagascan Ion-Adsorption Clay
Minerals 2018, 8(6), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8060236
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 23 May 2018 / Accepted: 25 May 2018 / Published: 30 May 2018
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Abstract
Rare earth elements (REE) are considered to be a critical resource, because of their importance in green energy applications and the overdependence on Chinese imports. REE rich ion-adsorption deposits (IAD) result from tropical weathering of REE enriched igneous rocks. Commercial REE leaching from [...] Read more.
Rare earth elements (REE) are considered to be a critical resource, because of their importance in green energy applications and the overdependence on Chinese imports. REE rich ion-adsorption deposits (IAD) result from tropical weathering of REE enriched igneous rocks. Commercial REE leaching from IAD, using salt solutions occurs via an ion-exchange mechanism. Bioleaching of IAD by Aspergillus or Bacillus, was compared to Uninoculated Control and Salt leaching (0.5 M ammonium sulfate) over 60 days. Salt leaching was most effective, followed by Aspergillus, Bacillus then Uninoculated Control. Most of the REE and major elements released by Salt leaching occurred before day 3. With bioleaching, REE and major elements release increased with time and had a greater heavy to light REE ratio. Similar total heavy REE release was observed in Salt leaching and Aspergillus (73.1% and 70.7% Lu respectively). In bioleaching experiments, pH was inversely correlated with REE release (R2 = 0.947 for Lu) indicating leaching by microbially produced acids. These experiments show the potential for bioleaching of REE from IAD, but dissolution of undesirable elements could cause problems in downstream processing. Further understanding of the bioleaching mechanisms could lead to optimization of REE recovery. Full article
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Open AccessReview Bioleaching of Arsenic-Bearing Copper Ores
Minerals 2018, 8(5), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8050215
Received: 10 February 2018 / Revised: 6 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 17 May 2018
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Abstract
World copper (Cu) production has been strongly affected by arsenic (As) content, because As-rich Cu concentrates are not desirable in the metal foundries. When As-rich Cu concentrates are processed by smelting they release As as volatile compounds into the atmosphere and inside furnaces, [...] Read more.
World copper (Cu) production has been strongly affected by arsenic (As) content, because As-rich Cu concentrates are not desirable in the metal foundries. When As-rich Cu concentrates are processed by smelting they release As as volatile compounds into the atmosphere and inside furnaces, generating serious risks to human health. In recent years, exports of Cu concentrates are being penalized for the increasingly high As content of the ores, causing economies that depend on the Cu market to be seriously harmed by this impurity. In the last few decades, biohydrometallurgy has begun to replace the traditional Cu sulfide processing, however bioleaching processes for As-bearing Cu ores which contain enargite are still in the development stage. Researchers have not yet made successful progress in enargite bioleaching using typical mesophilic and thermophilic bacteria that oxidize sulfide. New approaches based on direct oxidative/reductive dissolution of As from enargite could result in significant contributions to Cu biohydrometallurgy. Thus, As-rich Cu concentrates could be pre-treated by bioleaching, replacing current technologies like roasting, pressure leaching and alkaline leaching by selective biological arsenite oxidation or arsenate reduction. In this article, we review the As problem in Cu mining, conventional technologies, the biohydrometallurgy approach, and As bioleaching as a treatment alternative. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Evidence of Decisive Effect of Both Surface Microstructure and Speciation of Chalcopyrite on Attachment Behaviors of Extreme Thermoacidophile Sulfolobus metallicus
Minerals 2018, 8(4), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8040159
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (14366 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effect of the surface microstructure and chemical speciation of chalcopyrite on the attachment behaviors of thermoacidophilic archaeon Sulfolobus metallicus was evaluated for the first time by using integrated techniques including epifluorescence microscopy (EFM) and sulfur K-edge X-ray absorption near edge structure (S [...] Read more.
The effect of the surface microstructure and chemical speciation of chalcopyrite on the attachment behaviors of thermoacidophilic archaeon Sulfolobus metallicus was evaluated for the first time by using integrated techniques including epifluorescence microscopy (EFM) and sulfur K-edge X-ray absorption near edge structure (S K-edge XANES) spectroscopy, as well as scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM/EDS) and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. In order to obtain the specific surface, the chalcopyrite slices were electrochemically oxidized at 0.87 V and reduced at −0.54 V, respectively. The EFM analysis showed that the quantity of cells attaching on the mineral surface increased with time, and the biofilm formed faster on the electrochemically treated slices than on the untreated ones. The SEM-EDS analysis indicated that the deficiency in energy substrate elemental sulfur (S0) in the specific microsize of local defect sites was disadvantageous to the initial attachment of cells. The XANES and FT-IR data suggested that the elemental sulfur (S0) could be in favor of initial attachment, and surface jarosites inhibited the adsorption and growth of S. metallicus. These results demonstrated that not only the surface microstructure but also the chemical speciation defined the initial attachment behaviors and biofilm growth of the extreme thermophilic archaeon S. metallicus. Full article
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Open AccessReview Copper Bioleaching in China: Review and Prospect
Minerals 2018, 8(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8020032
Received: 22 November 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (5766 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The commercial application of copper bioleaching, an environmentally-friendly approach for low-grade and secondary mineral resources recycling, has increased worldwide since the 2000s. As the world’s second-largest economic entity and the largest developing country, China has the largest demand for metal resources, significantly advancing [...] Read more.
The commercial application of copper bioleaching, an environmentally-friendly approach for low-grade and secondary mineral resources recycling, has increased worldwide since the 2000s. As the world’s second-largest economic entity and the largest developing country, China has the largest demand for metal resources, significantly advancing the theory and industrial technology of copper bioleaching. This paper reviews the exploration and application of copper bioleaching in China. Two typical bioleaching applications and technological processes, bioheap leaching at the Zijinshan Copper Mine and bioheap leaching at the Dexing Copper Mine, are introduced. The considerable research completed by researchers is summarized, especially focusing on the isolation and identification of leaching bacteria, the bioleaching mechanism and interface reactions, multistage percolation behavior, bioleaching system reconstruction, the multiphysics coupled model, and enhanced copper bioleaching from waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs). Based on this investigation in China, key trends and prospects in copper bioleaching—such as efficiency improvement, environmental protection, and improved technology applications—are proposed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Vanadium Bioleaching Behavior by Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans from a Vanadium-Bearing Shale
Minerals 2018, 8(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8010024
Received: 15 November 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 15 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (11684 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study investigated bioleaching behavior of vanadium from a vanadium-bearing shale using Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans (A. ferrooxidans). Results showed a maximum recovery of 62% vanadium in 1.2-day bioleaching, which was 22.45% higher than the controls. Then, the vanadium leaching efficiency decreased significantly, [...] Read more.
This study investigated bioleaching behavior of vanadium from a vanadium-bearing shale using Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans (A. ferrooxidans). Results showed a maximum recovery of 62% vanadium in 1.2-day bioleaching, which was 22.45% higher than the controls. Then, the vanadium leaching efficiency decreased significantly, only 24% of that was obtained on the tenth day. The vanadium extraction in 1.2 days was mainly attributed to the dissolution of vanadium in free oxides of shale. Fe3+ produced by A. ferrooxidans promoted the dissolution process. X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns of the leached residues confirmed the generation of jarosite. SEM-EDS analysis of the residues indicated that jarosite adsorbed on the shale and inhibited the further dissolution of vanadium. The relevance of V, Fe, S, O was quite good in the energy disperse X-ray spectrometry (EDS) element mapping of jarosite, and acid-washing of the jarosite resulted in 31.6% of the vanadium in the precipitates desorption, indicating that the decrease of vanadium leaching efficiency in bioleaching process was caused by both adsorption and co-precipitation with jarosite. Full article
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2017

Jump to: 2019, 2018

Open AccessArticle Co-Bioleaching of Chalcopyrite and Silver-Bearing Bornite in a Mixed Moderately Thermophilic Culture
Minerals 2018, 8(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8010004
Received: 22 October 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 20 December 2017 / Published: 26 December 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2652 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Chalcopyrite and bornite are two important copper minerals, and they often coexist. In this study, the co-bioleaching of chalcopyrite and silver-bearing bornite by mixed moderately thermophilic culture at 50 °C was investigated. The bioleaching results show that the extraction percentage of Cu for [...] Read more.
Chalcopyrite and bornite are two important copper minerals, and they often coexist. In this study, the co-bioleaching of chalcopyrite and silver-bearing bornite by mixed moderately thermophilic culture at 50 °C was investigated. The bioleaching results show that the extraction percentage of Cu for co-bioleaching of chalcopyrite (Ccp) and silver-bearing bornite (Bn) (Ccp/Bn = 3:1) was 94.6%. Compared to bioleaching of chalcopyrite or silver-bearing bornite alone, the Cu extraction percentage was greatly enhanced when they were bioleached together. The leaching residues were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Silver-bearing bornite dissolved preferentially compared to chalcopyrite, due to galvanic interactions. Simultaneously, Ag+ was released from the silver-bearing bornite into solution. Ag2S formed on the surface because Cu and Fe in the chalcopyrite were replaced by Ag+, accelerating chalcopyrite dissolution and enrichment of Ag on the surface of the chalcopyrite. Full article
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