BioHeap Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Areas specialising in bacterial oxidation of sulphide ores. The BioHeap™ process is an internationally patented bacterial leaching technology which has been in development for over two decades and uses proprietary farmed bacteria..
BioHeap utilises a suite of bacterial cultures to leach or liberate valuable metals from sulphide ores, each culture is bred specifically to target the sulphide of interest. Nickel, copper, cobalt, zinc and refractory gold ores are all suited to BioHeap processing.
BioHeap™ is used to commercially recover nickel and reject arsenic from a waste stream produced in the Cosmic Boy Concentrator (CBC). The nickel leaches into solution and is recovered into a high-grade nickel sulphide product which can either be mixed with the CBC concentrate or sold as a separate product suitable to be processed in a refinery. Arsenic is rejected as a stable ferroarsenate and reports to the tailings stream. The application of BioHeap™ to the CBC waste stream has benefitted the concentrator operation as the focus has moved to a higher-grade, clean product rather than focussing on nickel losses. The nickel reporting to the waste stream is recovered and a high-grade product is generated. The waste stream is now an additional source of revenue for Western Areas.
In line with Western Areas environmental and sustainability policies, BioHeap has a low environmental impact and is well suited to remote locations. BioHeap is simple to operate and produces high-value products.