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An alternative total solution to mine water and mine spoil remediation

Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Reference Number: TOUK20160504001
Publication Date: 4 May 2016

Summary

An East of England company has developed a range of media for permanently binding metal ions in contaminated waters. The medium is in itself safe and easy to use. It is recyclable and re-usable and has successfully remediated sites of very different pH and pollution levels. Mine owners are sought globally for commercial agreements with technical assistance.

Description

The problem of surface water pollution from run-off at mines and spoil heaps has been well documented. The discharge of metal-contaminated waters must not be detrimental to the environment. At the same time, the methods and media used and the by-products they create, can be costly, hazardous and inefficient. The nature of pollution varies in time and space and no widely applicable solution has been proposed. 
An East of England company has developed an alternative total solution that is flexible, cost-efficient and easy to use. The key component is a range of related media, produced from cheap and abundant waste. They are grains or slurry with very high charge-to-mass and surface area-to-mass ratio. They permanently bind the metal pollutants in a non-bioavailable, inert form. This is true also under acidic conditions. The grains settle rapidly. The binding of ferrous ions is followed by the co-absorption of other soluble heavy metals. This way, every kilogramme of the medium turns more than 200 grams of iron and heavy metals inert. The medium also has excellent pH neutralisation properties. Another nice side effect is the removal of odorous compounds.
The media can be applied or sprayed as seen in the photos, as a passive or active method. Field tests have proven that the method usually outperforms the conventional ones. In addition to great reduction in ferrous ions, a near-elimination has been measured for arsenic, tungsten, cadmium, cobalt, nickel, zinc, copper and manganese. Furthermore, it has the advantages of:
- Coping with large variations in wastewater quality;
- The contaminated waters are remediated to a standard that allows direct application downstream where clean water is required;
- The media rich sludge can be recycled or added to mine spoil;
- The media are safe and operationally simple.
The East of England company is looking for end users-mine owners worldwide, for commercial agreements with technical assistance. The UK company assists with choosing the right media and provides technical support through the project lifetime.
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Advantages and Innovations

A cheap and abundant waste material has been tailored so as to permanently bind ferrous and heavy metal ions. It has strong neutralising properties and is in itself safe and easy to use. It copes with large fluctuations of contamination levels and only leaves behind water that is clean for direct discharge, and the medium that can be recycled and re-used.

Stage Of Development

Field tested/evaluated

Requested partner

The East of England company is looking for end users-mine owners worldwide, for commercial agreements with technical assistance. The UK company assists with choosing the right media and provides technical support through the project lifetime.

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