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Challenges in recovering resources from acid mine drainage

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Abstract

Metal recovery from mine waters and effluents is not a new approach but one that has occurred largely opportunistically over the last four millennia. Due to the need for low-cost resources and increasingly stringent environmental conditions, mine waters are being considered in a fresh light with a designed, deliberate approach to resource recovery often as part of a larger water treatment evaluation. Mine water chemistry is highly dependent on many factors including geology, ore deposit composition and mineralogy, mining methods, climate, site hydrology, and others. Mine waters are typically Ca-Mg-SO4±Al±Fe with a broad range in pH and metal content. The main issue in recovering components of these waters having potential economic value, such as base metals or rare earth elements, is the separation of these from more reactive metals such as Fe and Al. Broad categories of methods for separating and extracting substances from acidic mine drainage are chemical and biological. Chemical methods include solution, physicochemical, and electrochemical technologies. Advances in membrane techniques such as reverse osmosis have been substantial and the technique is both physical and chemical. Biological methods may be further divided into microbiological and macrobiological, but only the former is considered here as a recovery method, as the latter is typically used as a passive form of water treatment.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Challenges in recovering resources from acid mine drainage
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher International Mine Water Association
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Central Branch
Description 9 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Mine Water and Circular Economy
First page 1138
Last page 1146
Conference Title IMWA 2017
Conference Location Lappeenranta, Finland
Conference Date June 25-30, 2017