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Column Bioleaching of Arsenic from Mine Tailings Using a Mixed Acidophilic Culture: A Technical Feasibility Assessment
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 Title & Authors
Column Bioleaching of Arsenic from Mine Tailings Using a Mixed Acidophilic Culture: A Technical Feasibility Assessment
Borja, Danilo; Lee, Eunseong; Silva, Rene A.; Kim, Heejae; Park, Jay Hyun; Kim, Hyunjung;
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Heap bioleaching for detoxification of mine tailings is a promising technology; however, long-term studies that aim to understand the potential of this process are scarce. Therefore, this study assesses the feasibility of column bioleaching as an alternative technology for treatment of mine tailings with high concentrations of arsenic during a long-term experiment (436 days). To accomplish this objective, we designed a 350-mm plastic column that was packed with 750 g of mine tailings and inoculated with an acidophilic bacterial culture composed of A. thiooxidans and A. ferrooxidans. Redox potential, pH, ferric ion generation, and arsenic concentration of the off-solution were continuously monitored to determine the efficiency of the technology. After 436 days, we obtained up to 70% arsenic removal. However, several drops in removal rates were observed during the process; this was attributed to the harmful effect of arsenic on the bacteria consortium. We expect that this article will serve as a technical note for further studies on heap bioleaching of mine tailings.
mine tailings;column bioleaching;heap bioleaching;arsenic toxicity;
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