Description

En el proceso de obtención de minerales, en particular de cobre, existe la alternativa de utilizar microorganismos para extraerlo a partir de materiales sulfurados de este mineral. Este proceso, denominado Biolixiviación, se ha ido desarrollando e incorporando paulatinamente en la industria.

 

biolixiviaciongPara que el sistema sea incorporado más masivamente se requiere mejores prestaciones en los ambientes propios de la minería en Chile. Esto requiere contar con bacterias y archaeas adecuadas para la disolución de metales y condiciones ambientales apropiadas para su crecimiento, siendo la temperatura un parámetro fundamental del proceso.

El clima de alta cordillera de nuestro país es una dificultad para este proceso, ya que obliga actualmente a realizar importantes gastos de energía para el precalentamiento de las soluciones de lixiviación y un esfuerzo significativo para la mantención de la temperatura en las pilas.

Development State

The technology is tested at column level.

It is in the process of validation at mining scale.

Advantage

  • Functionality: bacteria are used to allow bioleaching copper at low temperatures (between 5 ° C and 10 ° C), a range present in mining operations in desert areas and at high altitudes.
  • Efficiency: the use of these microorganisms allows obtaining copper without the use of complementary systems for heating batteries, or improves the efficiency of current systems.

Description

In the process of obtaining minerals, in particular copper, there’s the alternative of using microorganisms to extract it from sulphide materials of this mineral. This process, called Bioleaching, has been developed and gradually incorporated into the industry.

For the system to be more massively incorporated, it requires better performance in the environments of mining in Chile. This requires having adequate bacteria and archaea for the dissolution of metals and environmental conditions appropriate for their growth, with temperature being a fundamental parameter of the process.

The high mountain climate of our country is a difficulty for this process, since at the moment it forces to make important expenses of energy for the preheating of the solutions of leaching and a significant effort for the maintenance of the temperature in the batteries.