Bioleaching

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Bioleaching is getting metals from their ores by using living organisms. This is much cleaner than the traditional method using cyanide.[1] Bioleaching is one of several methods used to recover copper, zinc, lead, arsenic, antimony, nickel, molybdenum, gold, silver, and cobalt.

Bioleaching uses certain types of bacteria to produce a solution called a "leachate". By leaving these bacteria with a low-grade metal ore, they can produce leachates which have a compound of that metal. Because this is in a solution it can be used in electrolysis to make the pure metal. This only produces small amounts each time, and is repeated to make it economically viable.

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