14 May 2024

Scientists of the Yenisey Siberia Scientific Research Center have invented a method for extracting gold and antimony using bacteria

Scientists of the Siberian Federal University (SFU) and the Northeastern Federal University (NEFU) named after M.K. Ammosov, together with employees of the Scientific Center for Research on the Extreme State of the Body of the FITC KNC SB RAS, have developed a microbiological method for isolating sulfides containing gold and antimony from complex multicomponent ores. This method is unique for Russia and has no analogues today.

The researchers used not aggressive chemicals for the selection of useful minerals, but natural strains of bacteria that live in pulp — a mixture of crushed ores with water containing residual concentrations of flotation reagents. Thus, they are already adapted to the environment of tailings dumps of processing plants.

“As part of the technological scheme being developed, we are achieving more complete extraction of metals from ore and high quality of the collective concentrate. In order to selectively isolate minerals containing gold and antimony from this collective concentrate as much as possible, we propose using the so—called microbiological method — to attract natural strains of bacteria selected from the gold deposits of the Krasnoyarsk Territory,” said Natalia Algebraistova, co-author of the study, associate professor of the Department of Mineral Enrichment at the Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals of the Siberian Federal University.

According to scientists, this method is safer for the environment compared to traditional methods, and also allows you to extract more gold and antimony and obtain high-quality products. It is also cheaper: the production of a ton of concentrate with the involvement of microorganisms requires 3 times less electricity.

There is no doubt that economical and environmentally friendly methods of extracting gold and antimony are in demand. Gold, in addition to the usual methods of use in the jewelry industry, is widely used in medicine, and antimony is indispensable for obtaining materials with semiconductor properties, optical glass and enamels, ceramics, phosphors — substances that help regulate lighting and grow plants without sunlight.

Source: sfu-kras.ru