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J Hazard Mater. 2009 Nov 15;171(1-3):901-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.06.089. Epub 2009 Jun 23.

Separate recovery of copper and zinc from acid mine drainage using biogenic sulfide.

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  • 1Environmental Engineering Department, Harran University, 63000 Sanliurfa, Turkey.


Precipitation of metals from acid mine drainage (AMD) using sulfide gives the possibility of selective recovery due to different solubility product of each metal. Using sulfate reducing bacteria to produce sulfide for that purpose is advantageous due to in situ and on-demand sulfide production. In this study, separate precipitation of Cu and Zn was studied using sulfide produced in anaerobic baffled reactor (ABR). ABR fed with ethanol (1340 mg/L chemical oxygen demand (COD)) and sulfate (2000 mg/L) gave a stable performance with 65% sulfate reduction, 85% COD removal and around 320 mg/L sulfide production. Cu was separately precipitated at low pH (pH<2) using sulfide transported from ABR effluent via N(2) gas. Cu precipitation was complete within 45-60 min and Zn did not precipitate during Cu removal. The Cu precipitation rate increased with initial Cu concentration. After selective Cu precipitation, Zn recovery was studied using ABR effluent containing sulfide and alkalinity. Depending on initial sulfide/Zn ratio, removal efficiency varied between 84 and 98%. The low pH of Zn bearing AMD was also increased to neutral values using alkalinity produced by sulfate reducing bacteria in ABR. The mode of particle size distribution of ZnS and CuS precipitates was around 17 and 46 microm, respectively.

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