Potassium and Phosphorous Bearing Ores of the Sishen Iron Ore

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INTRODUCTION

As global technologies and civilisation have advanced, the utilization of diverse mineral products has increased, resulting in the progressive depletion of high*grade mineral deposits (Jian and Sharma, 2004). Consequently, metal production has to rely more on the use of lower*grade or complex ores, as well as metal extraction from mining and industrial wastes (Torma, 1986; Ehrlich, 1999; Costa et al., 2003). Since 1986, depletion of the richer iron ore deposits (>60% Fe; <0.24% K) worldwide necessitated the processing of lower*quality iron ore (<60% Fe; >0.24% K) (Personal communication*). Impurities, such as phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) contained within the lower*quality iron ore have a detrimental effect on the steel*making process, and therefore, steel*making plants charge penalties when purchasing iron ore with P and K levels exceeding 0.24%.

Iron Ore Deposits in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa

The largest known resources of high*grade hematite ore on the Southern African sub* continent can be found at the Palaeo*Preterozoic Transvaal Supergroup in the  Northern Cape Province of South Africa (Carney and Mienie, 2003). The presence of  excavations in the Northern Cape has been recorded from as far back as 1804  (Cairncross and Dixon, 1995), while mining activities in the Postmasburg area date back to 2000 BC (Carney and Mienie, 2003). In 1945 the first commercial*scale  exploitation of hematite ore commenced after the potential of the iron resources in  this region was recognised (Carney and Mienie, 2003). Kumba Iron Ore, Ltd extracts hematite ore at the Sishen Iron Ore Mine for local and international markets (Figure 2.1) (Carney and Mienie, 2003).

Regional Geology

Superior*type banded iron formations (BIF’s) of the Transvaal Supergroup crop out along the western margin of the Kaapvaal craton in the Northern Cape Province (Carney and Mienie, 2003). These BIF’s consist of a range of distinctive hills, stretching for 400 km from Prieska in the south to Pomfret in the north (Carney and Mienie, 2003). The Postmasburg and Sishen areas are host to the bulk of the high*grade hematite ore (Carney and Mienie, 2003).

Muscovite

Muscovite (Table 2.1), also known as potash mica, is frequently found in igneous, metamorphic and detrital sedimentary rocks, and has a layered structure of aluminium silicate sheets, which are weekly bonded together by K+ions (Amethyst Galleries’ Mineral Gallery, 1996; Wikipedia, 2006d). The K+ions are responsible for the perfect cleavage of muscovite, producing thin sheets or flakes that are highly flexible and elastic (Figure 2.3) (Amethyst Galleries’ Mineral Gallery, 1996).

CHAPTER 1: Introduction
CHAPTER 2: Literature Review
Introduction
Iron Ore Deposits in the Northern Cape Province of South
Africa
Regional Geology
The Sishen Iron Ore Mine
Potassium and Phosphorous Bearing Ores of the Sishen Iron Ore
Mine
Muscovite
Apatite
Woodhouseite
Goyazite
Blast Furnace Technology
The Basic Functioning of a Blast Furnace
The Effect of Alkalis on the Functioning of the Blast Furnace
Conventional Bioleaching
Historical Overview of Bioleaching
Development of the Bioleaching Industry
Microbiology of Bioleaching
The Diversity Among Leaching Bacteria
Attachment of Leaching Bacteria to Sulphide Minerals
The Effect of Temperature on Bioleaching
Industrial Bioleaching Processes
The BIOX® Process
The GEOCOAT™ Process
The BioCOP™ Process
The BacTech/Mintek Process
Complexation of Non*Sulphide Minerals
Citric Acid Production by Aspergillus niger
Uptake of Glucose Based on Passive Diffusion
Regulation of Glycolysis
Hexokinase and Glucokinase
6*Phosphofructo*1*kinase
Fermentation Conditions Affecting Citric Acid Production
Recommendations
References
CHAPTER 3: Microbial Community Study of the Process1 and Ground Water of the Sishen Iron Ore Mine, South Africa
Abstract
Introduction
Materials and Methods
Sample Selection and Processing
Chemical Analysis of the Process# and Ground Water
Total Plate Counts of the Process# and Ground Water
Preparation of Pure Cultures
Bacterial Identification of the Bacteria Isolated from the
Process Water
16S Polymerase Chain Reaction for the Amplification of
Bacterial D.A from the Ground Water Sample
Sequence Analysis of the Bacterial D.A from the Ground Water
Sample
Results and Discussion
Conclusions
References
CHAPTER 4: Microbial Community Study of the Iron Ore Concentrate of the Sishen Iron Ore Mine, South Africa
Abstract
Introduction
Materials and Methods
Sample Selection
Bacterial Isolation
Fungal Isolation
Bacterial D.A Extraction
Fungal D.A Extraction
16S Polymerase Chain Reaction of Amplification of Bacterial
D.A from the Iron Ore
Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE)
Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) Region Polymerase Chain
Reaction of Fungal D.A from the Iron Ore/Soil Samples
Sequence Analysis of the Bacterial and Fungal D.A from the
Iron Ore/Soil
Results and Discussion
Conclusions
References
CHAPTER 5: Chemical Leaching of Iron Ore Using a Range of Acids and Oxidative Chemicals
Abstract
Introduction
Materials and Methods
Sample Selection
Phosphorous and Potassium Phase Determination of the
Untreated Iron Ore
Chemical Preparation of Leaching Agents
Chemical Leaching of Iron Ore
Results and Discussion
Conclusions
References
CHAPTER 6: The Production and Use of Citric Acid for the Removal of Phosphorous and Potassium from the Iron Ore Concentrate of the Sishen Iron Ore Mine, South Africa
Abstract
Introduction
Materials and Methods
Microorganism and Preparation of Inoculum
Solid Substrate
Basal Salt Solution for Solid Substrate Fermentation
Fermentation Medium for Submerged Fermentation
Fermentation Conditions for Solid Substrate Fermentation
Fermentation Conditions for Submerged Fermentation
Analytical Procedure
Citric Acid Concentration Analysis
Chemical Leaching of Iron Ore Concentrate with Citric Acid
“Heap Leaching” of Iron Ore Concentrate Using Aspergillus
niger
Chemical Analysis of the Treated Iron Ore Concentrate
Results and Discussion
Conclusions
References
CHAPTER7: The Use of Aspergillus niger for the Removal of Phosphorous and Potassium from the Iron Ore Concentrate of the Sishen Iron Ore Mine, South
Africa
Abstract
Introduction
Materials and Methods
Microorganism and Preparation of Inoculum
Iron Ore Concentrate Sample Selection
Bioleaching Fermentation Medium
Bioleaching Conditions for the Removal of Phosphorous and
Potassium from the Iron Ore Concentrate
Analytical Procedure
Citric Acid Concentration Analysis
Chemical Analysis of the Treated Iron Ore Concentrate
Results and Discussion
Conclusions
References
CHAPTER 8: Conclusions

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THE USE OF ASPERGILLUS IGER FOR THE REMOVAL OF POTASSIUM AD PHOSPHOROUS FROM THE IRO ORE OF THE SISHE IRO ORE MIE, SOUTH AFRICA

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