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Mining biotechnologies - dump leaching of a low-grade copper ore.

Application of biological dump leaching, involving the use
of a bacterial agent to catalyse the selective dissolution
of a valuable metal under environmentally safe and economic
conditions.

Biological dump leaching involves treating large amounts of low-grade ore, using bacterial agents to catalyse the selective dissolution of a valuable metal. This ore contains very large proven reserves of a low-grade ore that cannot be economically exploited by conventional technical means. However, this ore shows a satisfactory ability to be treated by an unusual method (in Europe) based on the enhancement of the natural biological activity typical of some copper-bearing minerals. The application of such a treatment requires a detailed study of the process in all its aspects, from the biological attack to the final recovery of the metal. With respect to the biological attack, growth conditions of the biological inoculum and the operating conditions of the leaching must be optimised in order to allow the maximum copper dissolution in the minimum time. On the whole, all the steps of the process must converge to provide the most rational production of pure copper from this ore in environmentally friendly conditions.
Acronym: 
BIODUMP
Project ID: 
1 705
Start date: 
01-04-1998
Project Duration: 
33months
Project costs: 
1 000 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.