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Exploring process options to enhance metal dissolution in bioleaching of Indian Ocean nodules

Mukherjee, Amitava and Raichur, Ashok M and Modak, Jayant M and Natarajan, KA (2004) Exploring process options to enhance metal dissolution in bioleaching of Indian Ocean nodules. In: Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology, 79 (5). pp. 512-517.


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Polymetallic Indian Ocean nodules offer a lucrative resource for valuable strategic metals such as Cu, Co and Ni. A novel bioleaching process using cell-free spent growth medium from a fully-grown culture of a marine organism isolated from the nodules (Bacillus M1) dissolved about 45% Co, and 25% Cu and Ni at a the pH of 8.2 in 4 h. To enhance metal dissolution, different modifications in the bioleaching process, such as increasing the pH of the spent growth medium, carrying out leaching in multiple steps, and introducing organic reductant in the leach pulp, were investigated in this study. Increasing the initial pH of the spent growth medium to above 12 resulted in a 25-30% increase in dissolution of Cu, Co and Ni. The pKa value for the spent growth medium was observed to be in the range of 11.5-12.5. UV-visible spectroscopy of the growth medium at pH values above 10.0 suggested a change in the structure of complexing phenolic substances present therein. A four-step leaching process using the spent growth medium, each step lasting for about 4 h, was able to bring around 60% Cu and Ni and 85% Co in solution. About 85% Co, 90% Cu and 60% Ni were dissolved in two-stage leaching, in which the bioleached residue was treated with the spent growth medium from Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans in the second cycle. The effects of concentration of starch (0.1-10%) as an organic reductant to the spent growth medium were also studied. The dissolution of Cu, Co and Ni stabilized at about 80-85% at a starch concentration of 3% and did not increase much thereafter.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology
Publisher: Society of Chemical Industry
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Society of Chemical Industry
Keywords: bioleaching;polymetallic nodules;Bacillus M1
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Materials Engineering (formerly Metallurgy)
Division of Mechanical Sciences > Chemical Engineering
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2004
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:12
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/323

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