Acid mine drainage in the Iberian Pyrite Belt: 2. Lessons learned from recent passive remediation experiences
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The Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB), SW Spain and Portugal, contains about 100 abandoned mine wastes and galleries that release acid mine drainages (AMD) to the Tinto and Odiel rivers. In situ passive remediation technologies are especially suitable to remediate the drainages of these orphan sites. However, traditional remediation systems, designed for coal mines, have been demonstrated inefficient to treat the IPB mine waters. Due to their high acidity and metal loads, large amount of solids precipitate and fast clogging of porosity or passivation (coating) of the reactive grains occurs. To overcome these problems, the dispersed alkaline substrate (DAS) a mixture of fine-grained limestone sand and a coarse inert matrix (e.g., wood shavings) was developed. The small grains provide a large reactive surface and dissolve almost completely before the growing layer of precipitates passivates the substrate. The high porosity retards clogging. However, calcite dissolution only raises pH to values around 6.5, at which the hydroxides of trivalent metals (Al and Fe) precipitate, but it is not high enough to remove divalent metals. Caustic magnesia (MgO) buffers the solution pH between 8.5 and 10. A DAS system replacing limestone with caustic magnesia has been tested to be very efficient to remove divalent metals (Zn, Cd, Mn, Cu, Co, Ni, and Pb) from the water previously treated with calcite.
CitationAyora, C. [et al.]. Acid mine drainage in the Iberian Pyrite Belt: 2. Lessons learned from recent passive remediation experiences. "Environmental science and pollution research", Novembre 2013, vol. 20, núm. 11, p. 7837-7853.
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