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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

VAN ROOYEN, M.; VAN STADEN, P.J.  and  DU PREEZ, K.A.. Sulphate removal technologies for the treatment of mine-impacted water. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2021, vol.121, n.10, pp.523-530. ISSN 2411-9717.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2411-9717/1541/2021.

Mine-impacted water, including acid mine drainage (AMD), is a global problem. While precipitation of dissolved metals and neutralization of acidity from mine-impacted water is accomplished relatively easily with lime addition, removal of sulphate to permissible discharge limits is challenging. This paper presents a high-level comparison of four sulphate removal technologies, namely reverse osmosis, ettringite precipitation, barium carbonate addition, and biological sulphate reduction. Primarily operating costs, based on reagent and utility consumptions, are compared. Each process is shown to be subject to a unique set of constraints which might favour one over another for a specific combination of location and AMD composition. Access to and cost of reagents would be a key cost component to any of the processes studied. The total cost calculated for each process also depends on the type of effluents that are allowed to be discharged.

Keywords : acid mine water; sulphate removal; reverse osmosis; ettringite; barium carbonate; and biological reduction.

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