VAT leaching

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Vat leach units are rectangular containers (drums, barrels, tanks or vats), usually very big and made of wood or concrete, lined with material resistant to the leaching media. The treated ore is usually coarse. The leaching reagents may be added to the leaching object in different ways.

The vats are usually run sequentially to maximize the contact time between the ore and the reagent. In such a series the leachate collected from one container is added to another vat with fresher ore. Counter current extraction increases the yield since the fresh reagents meet the most leached ore in one end and at the other end pregnant leachate encounters the fresh ore, i.e. leachate and ore moves counter-currently.

Comments on vat bioleaching

Vats are currently (2006) not used for bioleaching operations. The method suffers from lack of flexibility.

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