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Bioleaching of two different genetic types of chalcopyrite and their comparative mineralogical assessment

Deng, Sha, Gu, Guohua, Ji, Jing, Xu, Baoke
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2018 v.410 no.6 pp. 1725-1733
Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans, X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, bioleaching, copper, energy, leaching, oxidation, scanning electron microscopy, thermophilic microorganisms
The bioleaching of two different genetic types of chalcopyrite by the moderate thermophile Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans was investigated by leaching behaviors elucidation and their comparative mineralogical assessment. The leaching experiment showed that the skarn-type chalcopyrite (STC) revealed a much faster leaching rate with 33.34% copper extracted finally, while only 23.53% copper was bioleached for the porphyry-type chalcopyrite (PTC). The mineralogical properties were analyzed by XRD, SEM, XPS, and Fermi energy calculation. XRD indicated that the unit cell volume of STC was a little larger than that of PTC. SEM indicated that the surface of STC had more steps and ridges. XPS spectra showed that Cu(I) was the dominant species of copper on the surfaces of the two chalcopyrite samples, and STC had much more copper with lower Cu 2p₃/₂ binding energy. Additionally, the Fermi energy of STC was much higher than that of PTC. These mineralogical differences were in good agreement with the bioleaching behaviors of chalcopyrite. This study will provide some new information for evaluating the oxidation kinetics of chalcopyrite.