Bioleaching of copper in tropical systems (2015–2020)
The proposal is focussed on bioleaching of chalcopyrite, to recover copper from currently sub-economic low-grade ore. Conventional mining processes are too energy intensive to economically extract copper from low-grade ores. However, these waste ores are still subject to natural, bacterial leaching causing environmental harm. Enhancing this natural process by removing key limitations in bacterial colonisation of metal sulphides will enhance bioleaching of low-grade ores creating a win-win scenario, reducing environmental harm while extracting value from these currently uneconomic materials.