Dumping of low-grade chalcopyrite encompasses several environmental problems. Despite slow dissolution rate, meso-acidophilic bioleaching is preferred for the extraction of copper from such ores. In the present study, meso-acidophilic bioleaching of a low-grade chalcopyrite in the presence of an acid-processed waste newspaper (PWp) is discussed for the first time. The study illustrated a strong catalytic response of PWp with enhanced bio-recovery of copper from acid-conditioned chalcopyrite. A maximum of 99.13% copper recovery (036% Cu dissolution/day) was obtained in 6 days of bioleaching in the presence of 2 gL(-1) PWp in contrast to only 5.7% copper in its absence. FTIR analysis of bioleached residues revealed similar spectral patterns to the original acid-conditioned ore in the presence of PWp, thus indicating less development of passivation layer which was also confirmed through a complementary Raman characterization of the bioleached residues. Further, a reaction mechanism (chemistry) was proposed suggesting the possible role of PWp as the electron donor under oxygen limiting conditions which facilitated microbial reduction of Fe (III). The resulting biochemical changes provided an energy source for the bacteria, thus allowing free flow of electrons through the ore surface, thus contributing towards enhanced bioleaching of copper. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.