Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage Sludge by Leaching and Metal Recovery Using Activated Silica

El-Ammouri, E. ; Disten, P. A. ; Rao, S. R. ; Finch, J. A. ; Ngoviky, K.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Sludges produced by lime treatment of acid mine drainage (AMD) can contain significant quantities of base metals which represent both a potential hazard and a loss of values. A new technique for metal recovery from sludge is proposed by combining selective acid leaching and adsorption of metal ions by activated silica sol. The process is demonstrated on two AMD sludges, one containing primarily nickel and the second zinc. They were first treated with sulphuric acid (pH 3.5) to selectively leach the target metals and then activated silica sol was added to the leach solution to adsorb the nickel and zinc. Thickening and centrifuging gave about 90 percent rejection of the input volume to effluent. The adsorbed metals were redissolved by strong acid into a concentrated solution relative to the feed and the silica sol was recycled.
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