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Contact-bioleaching mechanism of Ni and Co from sulfide concentrate at neutral pH by heterotrophic bacteria

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2018, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 221-229

Cui, X.; Gu, Q.; Liu, X.; Wen, J.; Lu, A.; Ding, H.; Yang, F.; Shang, H.; Wu, B.; Zhang, M.; Wang, X.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.19150/mmp.8599


This study is a continuation of previous work designed to further explore the mechanism of the bioleaching of sulfide concentrate at neutral pH by heterotrophic bacteria Bacillus megaterium QM B1551. The concentrate contained 13.2 percent nickel (Ni) and 0.2 percent cobalt (Co), which presented primarily as pentlandite and pyrrhotite. Contact and noncontact bioleaching experiments were conducted with finely ground ore at an initial pH of 6, resulting in 44.7 percent of Ni and 38.2 percent of Co leached in the contact-bioleaching treatment. Oxidation experiments of sulfur, thiosulfate (S2O32−) and ferrous ions (Fe2+) by cell membrane were performed to verify whether sulfur transferase, thiosulfate quinone reductase and enzyme cytochrome B558 on the surface of the bacteria could be expressed to oxidize the sulfide. The results show that thiosulfate quinone reductase and cytochrome B558 could be expressed to oxidize S2O32− and Fe2+ to SO42− and Fe3+, respectively.