As near-surface oxide orebodies are depleted, mines are having to process deeper sulfide ores that are lower in metal grade and metallurgically more complex. Modern technologies that are simple, cost effective and environmentally sound are required for their extraction. In many cases, bioleaching is the most suitable process.

BHP-Billiton Heap Bioleach Project

In an experimental project undertaken for BHP-Billiton Base Metals, the ability of high temperature heap bioleaching to leach chalcopyrite copper ore was demonstrated, with 75 per cent copper extraction being achieved in about 280 days.