IWA Publishing

Pilot test of pollution control and metal resource recovery for acid mine drainage


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The study was undertaken in order to recover the metal resources from acid mine drainage (AMD). A 300 m3/d continuous system was designed and fractional precipitation technology employed for the main metals Fe, Cu, Zn, and Mn recovery. The system was operated for six months using actual AMD in situ. The chemicals' input and also the retention time was optimized. Furthermore, the material balance was investigated. With the system, the heavy metals of the effluent after the Mn neutralization precipitation were below the threshold value of the Chinese integrated wastewater discharge limit. The precipitates generated contained 42%, 12%, 31%, and 18% for Fe, Cu, Zn, and Mn, respectively, and the recovery rates of Fe, Cu, Zn, and Mn were 82%, 79%, 83%, and 83%, respectively. The yield range of the precipitate had significant correlation with the influent metal content. Using the X-ray diffraction analysis, the refinement for Fe, Cu, and Zn could be achieved through the processes of roasting and floatation. Cost–benefit was also discussed; the benefit from the recycled metal was able to pay for the cost of chemical reagents used. Most important of all, through the use of this technology, the frustrating sludge problems were solved.

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