The detoxification potential of ferric ions for bioleaching of the chalcopyrite associated with fluoride-bearing gangue mineral
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Fluoride toxicity to microorganisms was a predominant factor contributing to the failure of a commercial scale bioleach heap. An integrated control strategy for fluoride complexation without jarosite generation by stepwise adding ferric ions was first proposed to enable the bioleaching of the chalcopyrite associated with fluoride-bearing gangue mineral by Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. Chemical speciation calculation revealed that with the presence of Fe3+, the concentration of the main lethal fluoride to microorganism, HF, decreased dramatically. The pure culture study showed that the detrimental effect of fluoride on microorganism was eliminated by increasing the molar ratio of Fe3+/F− to 3:1. Furthermore, chalcopyrite bioleaching experiment revealed the minimum Fe3+/F− molar ratio that enabled the bioleaching was 6:1. Stepwise addition was an effective way to promote a balanced system and avoid the formation of jarosite caused by the excessive Fe3+. Above all, the introduction of Fe3+ is a feasible method for reducing the fluoride toxicity during the bioleaching of chalcopyrite, shedding light on the industrial applications.
KeywordsFluoride Ferric ion Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans Bioleaching Fe-F complexes
This work was funded by Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) (CUG170671) and the Research Fund Program of Key Laboratory of Biometallurgy, Ministry of Education, Central South University (MOEKLB1702).
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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