Nowadays bioleaching occupies an increasingly important place among the available mining technologies. Today bioleaching is no longer a promising technology but an actual economical alternative for treating specific mineral ores. An important number of the current large-scale bioleaching operations are located in developing countries. This situation is determined by the fact that several developing countries have significant mineral reserves and by the characteristics of bioleaching that makes this technique especially suitable for these countries because of its simplicity and low capital cost requirement.
The current situation of commercial-size bioleaching operations and ongoing projects in developing countries is presented and discussed with especial reference to copper and gold mining. It is concluded that this technology can significantly contribute to the economic and social development of these countries.