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J Hazard Mater. 2006 Jun 30;134(1-3):112-9. Epub 2005 Dec 1.

Red mud and fly ash for remediation of mine sites contaminated with As, Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn.

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Department of Geoengineering and Environmental Technologies (DIGITA), University of Cagliari, Piazza D'Armi, 09123 Cagliari, Italy.


The paper presents the results of a laboratory investigation conducted for assessing the feasibility of immobilising the heavy metals (As, Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn) contained in a disused mine tailings dam. Samples of tailings were mixed with relatively small proportions of bauxite red mud and power station fly ash. The sorption capacity of these two materials, already determined for Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn, has been determined here for arsenic by means of batch experiments on purposely prepared solutions. The results of this preliminary investigation show that sorption capacity is strongly influenced by pH. While the red mud performs better at low pH, the ability of fly ash to adsorb As increases with increasing pH. Tests carried out in leach columns containing tailings alone and tailings mixed with 15% by weight neutralized red mud or fly ash demonstrate the heavy metal sorption potential of the two materials, the red mud proving to be the more effective.

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