The use of recoverable sulfur particles will enhance the feasibility and reduce the cost of bioleaching process. Three different forms of sulfur particles, powder, pastilles and pellets were used to study the utilization and recovery of sulfur, used as energy source for thiobacilli in the bioleaching process. The Langmuir isotherm was used to explain the adsorption equilibrium existing between the sorbed and suspended bacteria and the maximum adsorption capacity obtained from the Langmuir isotherm was utilized to determine the specific surface area of the sulfur particles. The specific surface area of sulfur particles was found to be the determining factor in the bioleaching process and not the particle size. The rates of pH reduction, sulfate production and metal solubilization increased with increasing specific surface area of the particles. The pH reduction and metal solubilization were significantly enhanced by the reuse of recovered sulfur particles. The efficiency of metal solubilization with recovered sulfur pastilles was comparable to that with sulfur powder. This study revealed the practicability of reusing the recovered sulfur pastilles in the bioleaching process.
- Heavy metal
- Recoverable sulfur particles