University of Oulu

Jenni Kiventerä, Harisankar Sreenivasan, Christopher Cheeseman, Paivo Kinnunen, Mirja Illikainen, Immobilization of sulfates and heavy metals in gold mine tailings by sodium silicate and hydrated lime, Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, Volume 6, Issue 5, 2018, Pages 6530-6536, ISSN 2213-3437,

Immobilization of sulfates and heavy metals in gold mine tailings by sodium silicate and hydrated lime

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Author: Kiventerä, Jenni1; Sreenivasan, Harisankar1; Cheeseman, Christopher2;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Fiber and Particle Engineering, P.O. Box 4300, FIN-90014 University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, London, UK
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-12-09


Gold mining produces hazardous tailings wastes with elevated sulfur content and high levels of heavy metals including oxyanion elements such as V and As. This research investigated activation of these tailings with calcium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide/sodium silicate as a way to stabilize the material and limit leaching of harmful components. The effects of thermal treatment on the reactivity of the tailings and the use of different activating solutions on the physical properties, microstructure and leaching of harmful components are reported. The effect of adding ground granulated blast furnace slag to the tailings is also assessed. The use of 5 wt % Ca(OH)₂ activating solution produces optimum performance increasing the immobilization efficiency of sulfates, arsenic and the other harmful elements. Heat-treating mine tailings at 900 °C slightly improves the reactivity but did not improved the immobilization efficiency. Microstructural analysis by TEM and XRD confirmed that stabilization is based on calcium sulfate and/or ettringite formation during alkali-activation. All materials achieved reasonable compressive strength after 28 days of curing and the potential for using alkali activation as a method to treat tailings from mining is discussed.

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Series: Journal of environmental chemical engineering
ISSN: 2213-2929
ISSN-E: 2213-3437
ISSN-L: 2213-2929
Volume: 6
Issue: 5
Pages: 6530 - 6536
DOI: 10.1016/j.jece.2018.10.012
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 authors would like to thank the Renlund Foundation for its financial support. The support of Jenny ja Antti Wihuri Foundation is also appreciated.
Copyright information: © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license