Aquatic toxicity and environmental fate of xanthates

Boening, D. W.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1999
Xanthate salts have demonstrated effectiveness as a flotation reagent in the recovery of heavy metals from mining wastewater. However, due to their strong ionic potentials, they are generally toxic to aquatic life. Under ambient environmental conditions, the half¬life of a xanthate is approximately four days. As a soluble salt, xanthates will complex with the metallic ions contained in water and fish. Some researchers have proposed that this complexing may extend the halflife, as well as optimizing the transfer of a given metal from solution across the gill surface. Leakage of xanthate treated wastewater into the surrounding surface waters is the most common route of exposure for aquatic plants, invertebrates and fish. Because this is an emerging mineral-recovery technology, more information is needed regarding xanthate toxicity and environmental fate before environmental impacts can be assessed with any degree of certainty.
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