Enhancement of Au–Ag–Te contents in tellurium-bearing ore minerals via bioleaching

Nag Choul Choi, Kang Hee Cho, Bong Ju Kim, Soonjae Lee, Cheon Young Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to enhance the content of valuable metals, such as Au, Ag, and Te, in tellurium-bearing minerals via bioleaching. The ore samples composed of invisible Au and Au paragenesis minerals (such as pyrite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite and galena) in combination with tellurium-bearing minerals (hessite, sylvanite and Tellurobismuthite) were studied. Indigenous microbes from mine drainage were isolated and identified as Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, which were used in bioleaching after adaption to copper. The effect of the microbial adaption on the bioleaching performance was then compared with the results produced by the non-adaptive process. The microbial adaption enhanced the Au–Ag–Te contents in biological leaching of tellurium-bearing ore minerals. This suggests that bioleaching with adapted microbes can be used both as a pretreatment and in the main recovery processes of valuable metals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-270
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Minerals, Metallurgy and Materials
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 1


  • Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans
  • Au–Ag–Te
  • adaptation
  • bioleaching
  • tellurium-bearing mineral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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