DOI: 10.3390/w16060821 ISSN: 2073-4441

Alkaline Chemical Neutralization to Treat Acid Mine Drainage with High Concentrations of Iron and Manganese

Pingping Zhao, Ruiming Zhang, Mengdi Hu
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry

Due to its high acidity and toxic metal content, acid mine drainage (AMD) needs to be properly treated before being discharged into the environment. This study took the AMD collected from one specific mine in China as a sample and investigated the treatment methodology for AMD. The water quality of the AMD was measured, and the sample was treated with caustic soda (NaOH) and shell powder (one kind of conventional neutralizer, mainly composed of CaCO3) by the neutralization method. The results show that the AMD has a relatively low pH (2.16) and contains high concentrations of Fe (77.54 g/L), Mn (621.29 mg/L), Cu (6.54 mg/L), Ca (12.39 mg/L), and Mg (55.04 mg/L). NaOH was an effective neutralizer to treat the AMD and performed much better than shell powder. Various metals were precipitated, in the order of Fe(III), Cu, Fe(II), Mn, Ca, and Mg. The metal removal mechanisms included precipitation, adsorption, and co-precipitation. The optimal reaction conditions were the reaction duration was selected as 5 min and the mass ratio of NaOH to AMD was 0.16:1 (w:v). By this stage, the pH rapidly increased from 2.16 to 8.53 during AMD-NaOH interactions and various metals were efficiently removed (from 86.71% to 99.99%) by NaOH. The residual mass concentrations of Fe, Mn, Cu, Ca, and Mg after the treatment were 1.52, 1.77, 0.10, 1.65, and 2.17 mg/L, respectively. These data revealed that NaOH was a good treatment regent for this kind of AMD, based on the discharge criteria of China (GB28661 2012). Also, the shell powder was a helpful neutralizer for pH adjustment and copper removal. This neutralization method has the advantages of convenient operation, high speed, good effect, simple equipment, and low infrastructure cost. In addition, the resulting neutralized residue is a valuable and high-quality raw material, which can be used in metal smelting and separation.

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