A numerical evaluation on the viability of heap thermophilic bioleaching of chalcopyrite

J. Vilcaez, K. Suto, C. Inoue

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


The present numerical evaluation explores into the interactions among the many variables governing the mass and heat transport processes that take place in a heap thermophilic bioleaching system. The necessity of using mesophiles together with thermophiles is proved by tracing the activity of both microorganisms individually at each point throughout the heap. The role of key variables such as the fraction of FeS2 per CuFeS2 leached was quantified and its importance highlighted. In this evaluation, the heat transfer process plays the main role because of the heat accumulation required to maintain the heap temperature within the range of 60 °C to 80 °C where thermophilic microorganisms are capable of completing the unfinished dissolution of copper started by mesophilic microorganisms at 30 °C. The evaluation was done taking into consideration: biological activity as function of the temperature in the heap, heat loss due to conduction and advection from the top and bottom of the heap, and mass transfer between the gas and liquid phases as a function of temperature. The exothermic nature of the leaching reactions of CuFeS2 and FeS2 makes the system auto-thermal.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWATER DYANMICS
Subtitle of host publication4th International Workshop on Water Dynamics
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Event4th International Workshop on Water Dynamics - Sendai, Japan
Duration: 2006 Nov 72006 Nov 8

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Other4th International Workshop on Water Dynamics


  • Bioleaching
  • Chalcopyrite
  • Temperature
  • Thermophilic & mesophilic mcroorganisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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