University of Oulu

Jenni Kiventerä, Isabella Lancellotti, Michelina Catauro, Francesco Dal Poggetto, Cristina Leonelli, Mirja Illikainen, Alkali activation as new option for gold mine tailings inertization, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 187, 2018, Pages 76-84, ISSN 0959-6526,

Alkali activation as new option for gold mine tailings inertization

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Author: Kiventerä, Jenni1; Lancellotti, Isabella2; Catauro, Michelina3;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Fiber and Particle Engineering, P.O. Box 4300, FIN-90014, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Engineering “Enzo Ferrari”, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
3Department of Industrial and Information Engineering, Second University of Naples, Via Roma 29, 81031 Aversa Italy
4ECORICERCHE, Srl, Via Principi Normanni, 81043 Capua CE, Italy
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-06-08


The mining industry produces a huge quantity of sulphidic mine tailings, which cause several short- and long-term environmental problems when disposed by landfilling in impounding lakes. The possibility of immobilizing several heavy metals from gold mine tailings by reactive geopolymerization technique has been investigated in the present study. The chemical stability of geopolymers synthetized by the alkali activation of metakaolin and blast furnace slag and the addition of 40–50 wt% gold mine tailings is demonstrated. The geopolymers were cured at room temperature, and the effects of different Si/Al and Na/Al molar ratios and curing times were investigated. The inertization effectiveness was evaluated by means of leaching tests carried out according to standard EN 12457 after 7 and 28 days and after 18 months. The samples were immersed into the water for 1 day, and the leachable metals in the test solution were determined by ICP-OES. The results show that various elements (Cr, Cu, Ni, Zn and Mn) from gold mine tailings are able to immobilize almost completely by alkali activation with proper co-binder material. The immobilization efficiency were highly improved with longer curing period also for the problematic elements As, V, Sb and B.

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Series: Journal of cleaner production
ISSN: 0959-6526
ISSN-E: 1879-1786
ISSN-L: 0959-6526
Volume: 187
Pages: 76 - 84
DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.03.182
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
215 Chemical engineering
Funding: This work was conducted as part of the ERA-MIN project entitled ‘GEOSULF,’ which is supported by the Finnish Agency for Technology and Innovation (TEKES); the Portuguese National Funding Agency for Science, Research and Technology (FCT); The National Centre for Research and Development (BR); and various companies (Outotec, Agnico Eagle, and First Quantum Minerals). The support of TES-Tekniikan edistämissäätiö is also appreciated. The authors would like to thank Dr. Maria Cannio and Eng. Fernanda Andreola for their support for the experiments. Thank you also for the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation for the financial support of the work.
Copyright information: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (