Unlike other bacterial leaching technologies, BioHeap does not utilize bacteria that are indigenous to the ore body, but instead introduces a culture that is adapted to the specific ore and optimized for leaching. By utilizing a specially designed BioHeap bacterial farm, this culture is continuously generated and applied to the ore, which reduces ramp up times, and improves the bacterial dispersion through the heap.
BioHeap cultures are tolerant to a wide temperature range, and have been demonstrated to leach sulphide ores at heap temperatures as low as 15°C and as high as 95°C, which simplifies the control systems required on active leach pads.
A wide range of starter cultures are available at BioHeap, that have been developed over a number of years. These include cultures that can operate in sea water or hypersaline cultures up to 200 g/L salt, cultures that are tolerant to high arsenic levels and cultures that can leach virtually all of the liberated copper from primary copper ores, including Chalcopyrite.
Over a number of years, BioHeap has refined the testwork process to three main phases of testwork for the development of a project.