Abstract: Acid mine drainage (AMD) with toxic arsenic (As) is commonly generated from the tailings storage facilities (TSFs) of sulfide mines due to the presence of As-bearing sulfide minerals (e.g., arsenopyrite, realgar, orpiment, etc.). To suppress As contamination to the nearby environments, As immobilization by Ca–Fe–AsO4 compounds is considered one of the most promising techniques; however, this technique is only applicable when As concentration is high enough (>1 g/L). To immobilize As from wastewater with low As concentration (~10 mg/L), this study investigated a two-step process consisting of concentration of dilute As solution by sorption/desorption using schwertmannite (Fe8O8(OH)8–2x(SO4)x; where (1 ≤ x ≤ 1.75)) and formation of Ca–Fe–AsO4 compounds. Arsenic sorption tests indicated that As(V) was well adsorbed onto schwertmannite at pH 3 (Qmax = 116.3 mg/g), but its sorption was limited at pH 13 (Qmax = 16.1 mg/g). A dilute As solution (~11.2 mg/L As) could be concentrated by sorption with large volume of dilute As solution at pH 3 followed by desorption with small volume of eluent of which pH was 13. The formation of Ca–Fe–AsO4 compounds from As concentrate solution (2 g/L As(V)) was strongly affected by temperature and pH. At low temperature (25–50 °C), amorphous ferric arsenate was formed, while at high temperature (95 °C), yukonite (Ca2Fe3–5(AsO4)3(OH)4–10·xH2O; where x = 2–11) and johnbaumite (Ca5(AsO4)3OH) were formed at pH 8 and 12, respectively. Among the synthesized products, johnbaumite showed strongest As retention ability even under acidic (pH 9) conditions.
... read more