• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Biohydrometallurgy is an application in mining.

Extracts from this document...


Biohydrometallurgy "Biohydrometallurgy is an application in mining. In its natural state a metal such as copper is found combined with other elements in the mineral chalcopyrite. A bacterium is then used to form the compound copper sulphate (CuSO4), which in turn can be treated chemically to obtain pure copper. This microbiological mining process is used only with low-grade ores and currently accounts for 10% of copper production world-wide." Copper can be extracted from its ores by using bacteria. This is done by, firstly the low-grade copper ore and also the tailings (left from an earlier traditional mine) are stacked up where the ground has been made impermeable. The ground is then sprayed with the acidic leaching solution (T. ferro oxidans and T. Thio-oxidans). This solution is used because the bacteria used, thrive in acidic conditions and they also don't need any organic material on which to feed. The bacteria require Fe ions, or S ions, oxygen and carbon dioxide. The bacterium may also need bacterial nutrients containing nitrogen and phosphorus. ...read more.


Cyanidation of the final and resulting extract led to a breakthrough, in which the gold recovered increased from 10% to 100%. More research was carried out, as funding became available. A student called Ali Nobar introduced a mixed culture of moderately thermophillic bacteria from certain samples. This culture became effective over a wide range of conditions such as temperatures, pH, water salinity and arsenic concentration. Research found out That the bacteria worked best at 46 degrees c (if the temperature is to high the bacteria cell will became denatured due to a higher temperature) and in solutions with a pH of between 0.5 and 1.5. These greatly enhanced the percentage of gold extraction A graph to show the enhancement of gold recovery using bacteria Key Cyanidation alone Bacterial oxidation followed by cyanidation This new process has many advantages and disadvantages. One of the main advantages of this process is that it cost much less than the traditional method. Mining copper by the traditional method can cost between $130 and $200 per tonne. ...read more.


Also when using the traditional method when extracting copper, more copper can be obtained from the ore. The bacterial process of extracting gold is used as a primary process (secondary process is the traditional method) because the research and technology has been developed fast. More economic because more gold is produced so more money to be made. There is also a low cost of running the plants. Also the whole process is more feasible and economically competitive with the conventional process. For a new process for bacterial leaching to become commercial the government and political powers must approve and also regulate a new process and may need to provide funding. A Political power may need to hold an enquiry into the effects of this new technology to check if it is mandatory and safe. Thus granting permission for the new technology to go ahead. Summary This type of bacterial chemistry in order to obtain metal from its ore is a new technology but the industry is still yet to recognise it. Its main advantage is it cheap and mostly environmentally friendly compared to traditional methods. This type of process will lead us into the future. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Living Things in their Environment section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Living Things in their Environment essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The effects of disinfectants and antibacterial soap on bacterial growth

    5 star(s)

    These bacteria would be regrown, and then disinfectant would be added once again. Eventually, perhaps the bacteria would become invulnerable to the disinfectant. Finally, further experimentation can be done to test the effectiveness of other disinfectants. Possible antibacterial agents to look at include peroxides, iodine, silver compounds, and phenolic compounds [2].

  2. Science Chemistry Casestudy

    Pesticide residues are the very small amounts of pesticides that can remain in or on a crop after harvesting or storage. Not all food contains pesticide residues but when pesticide residues are present they are at very low levels. Some pesticide residues may need to stay on the crop to protect it from pests.

  1. Mining for Gold and Copper using Biohydrometallurgy.

    The copper is removed by bonding to a ligand, which is a large molecule consisting of a number of smaller groups each possessing a lone pair. The ligand (L) is dissolved in an organic solvent such as kerosene and shaken with the solution producing this reaction: Cu2+(aq)

  2. Investigating the effect of four antibiotic agents on gram positive and gram negative bacteria.

    The allicin is the active ingredient responsible for its medical properties. This is released when the garlic is crushed as the alliin in the garlic clove comes into contact with the enzyme alliinase in the vascular bundle.

  1. Method of extracting copper and gold by bacterial leaching.

    Also the bacteria used to break down the mineral matrix surrounding the gold particles? can be different, for example sulpholobus acidocalderius was used during research by King's College, London, researchers?. Following this cyanidation is carried out, during this process aerated sodium cyanide is blended with mixture A(see figure 2 below)

  2. The comparison of bacterial content in a range of milks.

    Lactic acid bacteria are non-sporing and usually nonmotile. They lack cytochromes and obtain energy by substrate-level phosphorylation rather than electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation. They normally depend on sugar fermentation for energy. Nutritionally they are fastidious and many vitamins, amino acids, purines, and pyrimidines must be supplied because of their limited biosynthetic capabilities.

  1. Investigation - Examination of bacterial sensitivity on antibiotics.

    Apparatus: (i) 3 agar petridishes. (i) 3 bacteria solution samples (Ecoli, bacillus, micrococcus). (ii) Marker pen. (iii) Alcohol. (iv) Beaker. (v) Glass spreader. (vi) 2ml Syringe. (vii) 3 antibiotic discs. (viii) Forceps (ix) Bunsen burner. (x) Sticky tape. (xi)

  2. Copper Extraction

    CuL2(organic) + 2H+(aq) (Where L represents the Ligand) This basically removes the copper ions from the water where they are in low concentration, and transfers them to the solvent where they are in high concentration. To further increase the concentration of the Cu2+ ions, this reaction can be reversed, i.e.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work