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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253

Abstract

MULOPO, J.. Making sense of our mining wastes: Removal of heavy metals from AMD using sulphidation media derived from waste gypsum. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2015, vol.115, n.12, pp.1193-1197. ISSN 2411-9717.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2411-9717/2015/v115n12a7.

This study investigates the recovery of water and the selective removal of valuable metals from acid mine drainage (AMD) using sulphidation media (CaS) derived from waste gypsum. AMD systems containing Fe(II), Ni, Co, Zn, and Pb were investigated using CaS produced from the carbothermal reduction of Anglo Coal waste gypsum at 1025°C to precipitate metals as insoluble metal sulphides. The results show a sulphidation dependence on the pH, sulphide dosage, and metal concentration. The selective sulphi-dation of metals also showed significant dependence on the respective metal sulphide solubility order as a function of pH. According to the Department of Environmental Affairs' South African Waste Information Centre, over 42 million cubic metres of general waste is generated every year in South Africa and mining waste is by far the biggest contributor to the solid waste (about 72%)). Although alarming, these vast quantities of waste also present an opportunity for integrated economic development, particularly in the recycling sector. The major argument has always been that the mining sector generates a large number of waste streams which show strong differences in time, in their treatment methodologies, or even in their spatial distribution. This paper presents a case of a simple strategy for integrated recycling of two mining waste streams and highlights the need for the mining industry to break away from the traditional 'linear' cul-de-sac disposal of wastes and think of new sustainable ways of waste management.

Keywords : acid mine drainage; waste gypsum; CaS; metals removal.

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