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30 Apr 2017

Ore Leaching

Ore Leaching / Cut electricity costs for bioleaching reactors in half

Biological ore leaching is not only an interesting economic alternative to conventional pressure leaching but it is also ecologically safe – because it operates as a stirred process in closed conditions - in contrast to the usual but questionable heap leaching with respect to ecological balance. The ever increasing plant dimensions as a function of the economies of scale plant dimensions require a stirring technique which is able to suspend heavy ore particles in continuous operation and at the same time to disperse the air supply to the organisms and for the oxidation step.

The EKATO COMBIJET technology meets these requirements perfectly, since unlike conventional mixing or agitating, the suspension capacity is hardly affected at higher gassing rates. Thus, a stable operation of ten continuously stirred tanks with volumes of approximately 1,500 to 2,000m³ is possible despite load variations or varying compositions of the ore.

The good suspending capabilities of the EKATO COMBIJET allow a reduction of the power input to that which is required for the mass transfer rate, exhibiting an annual energy savings of about 5 – 10 GWh for a complete system. This is particularly important in remote mining areas without regular electricity supply. In addition, the low power input protects the microorganisms on the ore particles in an abrasive environment.

The investment costs are not only reduced because of the smaller agitator dimensions; a stable running of the impellers with gassing leads to lower hydraulic loads which also has a cost-reducing effect with respect to the vessel design and supporting structures.

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