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1. (WO2001036693) RECOVERY OF METALS FROM ORE BY BIOLEACHING WITH SULFUR ADDITION

Pub. No.:    WO/2001/036693    International Application No.:    PCT/US2000/041705
Publication Date: Sat May 26 01:59:59 CEST 2001 International Filing Date: Wed Nov 01 00:59:59 CET 2000
IPC: C22B 3/18
Applicants: BHP MINERALS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Inventors: DUYVESTEYN, Willem, P., C.
BUDDEN, Julia, R.
LASTRA, Manuel, R.
Title: RECOVERY OF METALS FROM ORE BY BIOLEACHING WITH SULFUR ADDITION
Abstract:
A bio-leaching method is provided for recovering metal from a metal containing ore. The ore is subjected to contact with a microorganism selective to the oxidation of sulfur. A sulfur containing compound is mixed with the microorganism before, during or after contact with the ore to systemically form sulfuric acid to leach the metal from the ore. The ore is in the form of a slurry, a heap, a charge in a vat and is bioleached for a time sufficient to dissolve the metal in the ore and form a metal-rich leachate and an ore residue. The metal can then be extracted from the metal-rich leachate. The metal containing ore may contain base metals, precious metals, or platinum group metals. Upon formation of the metal-rich leachate, the ore residue may be further processed to recover any precious metals or platinum group metals that may be present.