Paper presented to the 10th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Florida, 14-16 July 2014.
The bioleaching unlike the leaching is a process catalyzed by bacteria to obtain copper. Generally, the material containing copper is previously agglomerated to build piles. A three dimensional mathematical model to describe the fluid mechanics, mass and heat transport that consider source terms for oxidation reaction, biological kinetic, and oxygen depletion due to methanogenic bacteria (15-45 °C), is presented. The results of computational simulations made with original programs using the proposed mathematical model, the finite volume method and RECT computational package were validated comparing it with experimental results obtained from a leaching pile of tailing agglomerated. These shown good concordances between them. When the effect of the catalyzing bacteria was included, is possible to predict their effect over the temperature, oxygen concentration and acid consume for a pile with bioleaching process.