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(Bio)leaching Behavior of Chromite Tailings

Bolanos-Benitez, Viviana and van Hullebusch, Eric D and Lens, Piet N L and Quantin, Cecile and van de Vossenberg, Jack and Subramanian, Sankaran and Sivry, Yann (2018) (Bio)leaching Behavior of Chromite Tailings. In: MINERALS, 8 (6).

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Official URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/min8060261


Chromite beneficiation operations in Sukinda valley (India) produce large amounts of tailings, which are stored in open air. In this study, bioleaching experiments were carried out in batch reactors with Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans or Pseudomonas putida in order to determine the potential leachability of metals contained in these tailings due to biological activity. Acidic and alkaline pH resulted from the incubation of tailings with A. thiooxidans and P. putida, respectively. Tailings were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and chemical extraction of Cr(VI) with KH2PO4 was performed. Mineralogical investigations showed that tailings are mainly composed of chromite, hematite, lizardite, chlorite, and goethite, which are all known as Cr-bearing phases. During the leaching with A. thiooxidans and P. putida, total Cr was initially extracted as Cr(VI) due to the presence of phosphates in the medium, and subsequently decreased because of Cr(VI) adsorption and reduction to Cr(III). Reduction was associated with bacterial activity, but also with the presence of ferrous iron. Despite the occurrence of siderophores in the tailings after incubation with P. putida, under acidic conditions, Fe extracted remained higher. Extracted Ni, Mn, and Al concentrations also increased over time. Given the significant amount of chromite tailings produced every year, this study shows that tailings storage and leachability represent a potential source of chromium. However, our findings suggest that the presence of bacterial communities, as well as physicochemical processes, favor Cr(VI) reduction.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: MINERALS
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belong to MDPI, ST ALBAN-ANLAGE 66, CH-4052 BASEL, SWITZERLAND
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Materials Engineering (formerly Metallurgy)
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2018 15:51
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2022 12:09
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/60251

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