Recently, biological treatment; an important recovery process, has became important from the environmental and economical respects in recovery of metallic values from low-grade sulfur-bearing ores or concentrates. Bacterial ore leaching can be applied to extract heavy metals from low grade ores, industrial wastes and other materials on an industrial scale by different procedures. The main objective of this work was to investigate the dissolution of Fe from Çayeli copper ores, via a bioleaching process using Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. Experiments performed with batch operation in jar test equipment were conducted at different pH values, pulp densities, inoculum volumes, particle sizes, stirring conditions and operation times. The optimal parameters were found as follows; at pH 2, the pulp density; 4% (w/v), inoculum volume; 4% (v/v), stirring rate; 120 rpm and particle size; -0.053 mm for 192nd and 288th hours, at pH 2, the pulp density; 4% (w/v), inoculum volume; 5% (v/v), stirring speed; 200 rpm and particle size; -0.053 mm for 384th and 480th hours. By performing the bioleaching process under these conditions, almost 99% of the iron extent in the ore was transfer from ore into solution, however the experiments in which distilled water was used instead of modified 9K*, only 18.5% Fe efficiency was obtained.

Mustafa Engin Kocadagistan, Yalçın Kemal Bayhan and Avni Çakıcı