Copper Bioleaching in Chile

Article English OPEN
Juan Carlos Gentina ; Fernando Acevedo (2016)
  • Publisher: MDPI AG
  • Journal: Minerals (issn: 2075-163X)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3390/min6010023
  • Subject: bioleaching | copper production | large scale | sulfide minerals | Mineralogy | QE351-399.2

Chile has a great tradition of producing and exporting copper. Over the last several decades, it has become the first producer on an international level. Its copper reserves are also the most important on the planet. However, after years of mineral exploitation, the ease of extracting copper oxides and ore copper content has diminished. To keep the production level high, the introduction of new technologies has become necessary. One that has been successful is bioleaching. Chile had the first commercial operation in the world exclusively via bioleaching copper sulfides. Nowadays, all bioleaching operations run in the country contribute to an estimated 10% of total copper production. This article presents antecedents that have contributed to the development of copper bioleaching in Chile.
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