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Metallurgical Testing


As the world’s population continues to increase exponentially, mining reserves and current deposits are steadily decreasing. Relatively easy-to-leach oxide ores are becoming less common place while complex low-grade sulfide ore bodies are becoming the norm. As the world demand for metals increases with the growth of technology, it is critical to find more efficient and economical ways to extract these metals from these complex sulfide ores.

Bioleaching involves the use of naturally occurring microorganisms to catalyze the oxidation of sulfide minerals to extract both base and precious metals.  These microorganisms (which include bacteria and archaea) act as catalysts by oxidizing ferrous iron into ferric iron which is what liberates the metals.  Additionally, these microbes will also oxide sulfur into sulfates, generating sulfuric acid; another constituent of heap leaching. These reactions do occur naturally through interactions with oxygen in air, but these microbes assist by increasing the reaction rates, allowing to the reactions to continue over an extended period of time, and by attaching to the ores to be able to essentially break down the minerals. 

Image by National Cancer Institute
Image by Sandy Millar

Bioleach Consulting

Sulfur and Iron Oxidizing Microbial Activity

Heterotrophic Microbial Activity

Sulfate-Reducing Microbial Activity

Green Algae Activity

Total Cell Count

Microbial Identification

Mixed and Pure Culturing





Cells/mL by phase contrast microscopy

Bench scale, pilot scale

DNA extraction, quantification, and 16S Sequencing

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