There is a pressing need for SMEs active in mining to develop simple, inexpensive methods for removing eco-toxic metals from mine effluents. One particularly problematic metal is zinc, which is currently difficult to remove from neutral-pH effluents at reasonable cost. Zinc is particularly a problem in the effluents from lead-zinc and/or fluorspar mines, many of which are now worked by small, local SME mining companies, which are vital sources of local employment, and yet too small to maintain their own RTD capacity. This project aims to devise some simple, reliable approaches to minimise zinc impacts from such mines by developing strategies including (i) diversion and storage of zinc-rich waters within mine voids until such time as flows in receiving streams are high, and (ii) passive treatment of effluents in simple gravity-feed geochemical reactors, using one of three possible new approaches (co-precipitation with calcite, sorption onto ochre, anaerobic sulphate reduction in the presence of organic acids).
Fields of science
Call for proposalData not available
Funding SchemeEAW - Exploratory awards
DL13 2TJ Frosterley
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