'Working together to promote premier, multi-disciplinary research and development in the area of minerals beneficiation'

Mpho Namane

MSc (Eng) Project title
An initial electrochemical study into the bioleaching of chalcopyrite
(Supervisors: A/Prof J Petersen, Prof S Harrison, Prof J-P Franzidis)
Graduated: 2012

Numerous studies have focussed on the kinetics of ferrous iron oxidation by micro-organisms and mineral oxidation by ferric ions in solution. However, the interactions between the minerals and the micro-organisms attached to the mineral surface are still only partially understood. This project investigated the chemical/electrochemical environment created at the surface of minerals under chemical and bio-leaching conditions in order to develop a more fundamental understanding of the mechanisms involved. A three electrode electrochemical set-up was utilized to perform experiments.

Linear scan voltammetry (LSV) and cyclic voltametry (CV) experiments were performed in acidic media, ferric/ferrous media and ferric/ferrous-bacteria media, at slower scan rates than previous studies, between 1 – 5 mV/s or lower. All experiments were carried out in conditions suitable for meso-, moderate meso- and thermo-philic bacteria.