Alkali activation as new option for gold mine tailings inertization
Kiventerä, Jenni; Lancellotti, Isabella; Catauro, Michelina; Dal Poggetto, Francesco; Leonelli, Cristina; Illikainen, Mirja (2018-03-21)
Jenni Kiventerä, Isabella Lancellotti, Michelina Catauro, Francesco Dal Poggetto, Cristina Leonelli, Mirja Illikainen, Alkali activation as new option for gold mine tailings inertization, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 187, 2018, Pages 76-84, ISSN 0959-6526, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.03.182
© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
The mining industry produces a huge quantity of sulphidic mine tailings, which cause several short- and long-term environmental problems when disposed by landfilling in impounding lakes. The possibility of immobilizing several heavy metals from gold mine tailings by reactive geopolymerization technique has been investigated in the present study. The chemical stability of geopolymers synthetized by the alkali activation of metakaolin and blast furnace slag and the addition of 40–50 wt% gold mine tailings is demonstrated. The geopolymers were cured at room temperature, and the effects of different Si/Al and Na/Al molar ratios and curing times were investigated. The inertization effectiveness was evaluated by means of leaching tests carried out according to standard EN 12457 after 7 and 28 days and after 18 months. The samples were immersed into the water for 1 day, and the leachable metals in the test solution were determined by ICP-OES. The results show that various elements (Cr, Cu, Ni, Zn and Mn) from gold mine tailings are able to immobilize almost completely by alkali activation with proper co-binder material. The immobilization efficiency were highly improved with longer curing period also for the problematic elements As, V, Sb and B.
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