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Biohydrometallurgy Laboratory

Stirred tank bioreactor with stock culture

Biohydrometallurgy Laboratory has over 40 packed-bed reactors (PBRs) of different sizes and configurations and 12 stirred tank reactors available for mineral bioleaching studies.  Ten of these have been constructed such that they can be autoclaved as sealed units, allowing complete control of the experimental system.  The PBRs range from 2 kg to 120 kg systems. In addition to these 40 reactors, micro-reactor systems are available. Most of the PBRs are equipped for temperature control. Four packed bed systems are mounted on load cells to enable improved data on fluid flow. The stirred tank reactors are at the 1-, 2- and 7-litre scale with temperature control. A reactor system for operation under constant redox potential is also available. Studies of iron-and-sulphur systems predominate, including studies for metal extraction and for waste remediation.  This equipment allows detailed study of fluid flow in ore beds, solid-liquid contacting, mineral leaching kinetics, biooxidation kinetics and microbial colonisation and community dynamics, the latter integrated with our molecular biology facilities.