University of Oulu

Prokkola, H.; Nurmesniemi, E.-T.; Lassi, U. Removal of Metals by Sulphide Precipitation Using Na2S and HS−-Solution. ChemEngineering 2020, 4, 51.

Removal of metals by sulphide precipitation using Na₂S and HS⁻-solution

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Author: Prokkola, Hanna1; Nurmesniemi, Emma-Tuulia1; Lassi, Ulla1
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Sustainable Chemistry, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-10-15


Precipitation of metals as metal sulphides is a practical way to recover metals from mine water. Sulphide precipitation is useful since many metals are very sparingly soluble as sulphides. Precipitation is also pH dependent. This article investigates the precipitation of metals individually as sulphides and assesses which metals are precipitated as metal hydroxides by adjustment of the pH. The precipitation of different metals as sulphides was studied to determine the conditions under which the HS⁻ solution from the sulphate reduction reaction could be used for precipitation. H₂S gas and ionic HS⁻ produced during anaerobic treatment could be recycled from the process to precipitate metals in acidic mine drainage (AMD) prior to anaerobic treatment (Biological sulphate reduction), thereby recovering several metals. Precipitation of metals with HS⁻ was fast and produced fine precipitates. The pH of acid mine water is about 2–4, and it can be adjusted to pH 5.5 before sulphide precipitation, while the precipitation, on the other hand, requires a sulphide solution with pH at 8 and the sulphide in HS⁻ form. This prevents H₂S formation and mitigates the risk posed from the evaporation of toxic hydrogen sulphur gas. This is a lower increase than is required for hydroxide precipitation, in which pH is typically raised to approximately nine. After precipitation, metal concentrations ranged from 1 to 30 μg/L.

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Series: ChemEngineering
ISSN: 2305-7084
ISSN-E: 2305-7084
ISSN-L: 2305-7084
Volume: 4
Issue: 3
Article number: 51
DOI: 10.3390/chemengineering4030051
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
Funding: This research was funded by K.H. Renlund Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (