The two-step neutralization ferrite-formation process for sustainable acid mine drainage treatment: Removal of copper, zinc and arsenic, and the influence of coexisting ions on ferritization.

Author(s) Igarashi, T.; Herrera, P.Salgado; Uchiyama, H.; Miyamae, H.; Iyatomi, N.; Hashimoto, K.; Tabelin, C.Baltazar
Journal Sci Total Environ
Date Published 2020 May 01

Acid mine drainage (AMD) or acid rock drainage (ARD), the most notorious environmental problem in many mines and underground construction sites, is generally managed using lime neutralization. This approach is effective but unsustainable in the long term, so we introduced the two-step neutralization ferrite-formation process in our previous works as an alternative. However, several important issues related to this new approach-the partitioning of hazardous elements during treatment, stability of generated sludges, and influence of coexisting ions-remains unclear. In this study, real AMD containing zinc (Zn), copper (Cu) and arsenic (As) was treated using a laboratory-type continuous ferrite process flow setup. Partitioning of hazardous elements in the two sludges was elucidated by X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) while the stability of sludges was determined by standard leaching experiments. The bulk of Cu and As species (both As(III) and As(V) based on XANES spectra) were partitioned in the first sludge while ~64% of Zn was associated with the ferrite sludge. In terms of stability, both sludges were relatively inert and released only minute amounts of Zn, Cu and As, all of which were below the Japanese environmental standards. The roles played by two of the most ubiquitous coexisting ions in AMD on ferritization-dissolved silica (Si) and aluminum ion (Al)-were also elucidated using 10 synthetic AMDs. Between the two, dissolved Si exhibited stronger adverse effects on ferritization than Al. At dissolved Si above 4 mg/L, Si-O-Fe surface complex formation on amorphous Fe-precipitates or Fe-oxide precursor minerals became extensive, which protected these phases from the dissolution-transformation reactions required to form strongly magnetic magnesioferrite and magnetite. These results suggest that the flexibility and applicability of this new AMD treatment approach could be improved by controlling the dissolved Si concentration prior to the ferrite formation step.

DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.136877
ISSN 1879-1026
Citation Sci Total Environ. 2020;715:136877.

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