Immobilization of copper flotation waste using red mud and clinoptilolite

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Courtesy of SAGE Publications

The flash smelting process has been used in the copper industry for a number of years and has replaced most of the reverberatory applications, known as conventional copper smelting processes. Copper smelters produce large amounts of copper slag or copper flotation waste and the dumping of these quantities of copper slag causes economic, environmental and space problems. The aim of this study was to perform a laboratory investigation to assess the feasibility of immobilizing the heavy metals contained in copper flotation waste. For this purpose, samples of copper flotation waste were immobilized with relatively small proportions of red mud and large proportions of clinoptilolite. The results of laboratory leaching demonstrate that addition of red mud and clinoptilolite to the copper flotation waste drastically reduced the heavy metal content in the effluent and the red mud performed better than clinoptilolite. This study also compared the leaching behaviour of metals in copper flotation waste by short-time extraction tests such as the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP), deionized water (DI) and field leach test (FLT). The results of leach tests showed that the results of the FLT and DI methods were close and generally lower than those of the TCLP methods.

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