Chalcopyrite concentrate leaching with biologically produced ferric sulphate

P. H.M. Kinnunen, S. Heimala, M. L. Riekkola-Vanhanen, J. A. Puhakka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Biological ferric iron production was combined with ferric sulphate leaching of chalcopyrite concentrate and the effects of pH, Fe3+, temperature and solids concentration on the leaching were studied. The copper leaching rates were similar at pH of 1.0-1.8 and in the presence of 7-90 g L-1 Fe3+ despite massive iron precipitation with 90 g L-1 Fe3+. Increase of the leaching temperature from 50 °C to 86 °C and solids concentration from 1% to 10% increased the copper leaching rate. Increase in solids concentration from 1% to 10% decreased the copper yields from 80% to 40%. Stepwise addition of ferric iron did not improve the copper yields. CuFeS2, Ag and Cu1.96S potentials indicated the formation of a passivating layer, which consisted of jarosite and sulphur precipitates and which was responsible for the decreased leaching rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1727-1734
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2006
MoE publication typeNot Eligible


  • Chalcopyrite
  • Electrochemistry
  • Ferric sulphate leaching
  • Passivation


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