Semicontinuous biooxidation of high-sulfur concentrates: Relationship between volume or mass dissolution rate and pulp density
Minerals & Metallurgical Processing
, 2018, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 202-214
Song, Y.; Yang, H.Y.; Tong, L.L.; Sand, W.
Semicontinuous-flow, multistage biooxidation experiments of a Chinese refractory, high-sulfur gold concentrate were conducted with different pulp densities for gold recovery. The maximum iron, sulfur and arsenic oxidation rates of 90.0, 88.8 and 96.4 percent, respectively, were obtained in the experiments with 5 percent pulp density. The highest gold and silver recoveries of 96.1 and 68.9 percent, respectively, were achieved by cyanidation. The negative effect of high pulp density on biooxidation was related to the decrease of free and adsorbed cell concentrations with increasing pulp density. The data of iron oxidation from the semicontinuous biooxidation experiments were best fitted by a shrinking core model in which the chemical reaction controlled the rate. The dissolution kinetics of sulfur and arsenic were therefore analyzed by a shrinking core model in which the internal diffusion controlled the bioleaching rates. For the quantitative description of biooxidation efficiency, two parameters — mass dissolution rate and volume dissolution rate — were proposed. In the first stage, the mass dissolution rates of minerals were negatively correlated while the volume dissolution rates were positively correlated with the actual pulp density. The iron and sulfur mass dissolution rates decreased with increasing actual pulp densities in the third and fourth stage, while linear increasing relationships between the volume dissolution rates of minerals and the actual pulp density were observed from the second to fourth stage. The highest mass dissolution rates of minerals were obtained in the first stage with 5 percent pulp density. The highest volume dissolution rates of minerals were obtained in the first stage with 15 percent pulp density. Compared to the volume dissolution rate, the mass dissolution rate was more intuitive to reflect the negative effect of high pulp density on biooxidation efficiency.