Bioleaching of Zinc and Iron from Steel Plant Waste using Acidithiobacillus Ferrooxidans

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The bacterial leaching of zinc and iron from solid wastes at the Isdemir iron and steel plant has been investigated using Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans as the bacterial agent. The effects of a range of operational parameters, including particle size, solids concentration and pH, on the efficiency of the bioleaching process were investigated. In each test, several variables were determined to assess the efficiency of leaching, including slurry pH and redox potential, temperature, bacteria population and concentrations of zinc and iron in solution. Experimental results demonstrated that pulp solids concentration, slurry pH and solids particle size were all important parameters in the bacterial leaching process. Maximum extraction was achieved at pH values around 1.3 and a solids concentration of 1% w/v, with 35% of the Zn content and 37% of the Fe being dissolved.

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