Bioleaching and toxicity of metallurgical wastes

Anna Potysz*, Artur Pȩdziwiatr, Sebastian Hedwig, Markus Lenz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Metallurgical wastes contain metals that are unrecovered during industrial processing. The disposal of these wastes is technically difficult due to the potential release of metals through weathering. Therefore, alternative management methods are currently sought. The high leaching susceptibility of these wastes combined with the need for alternative sources of rare and critical metals creates a need for residual element recovery. This study evaluated the leaching potential of lead matte and copper slag through chemical mineral acid leaching as well as indirect bioleaching with organic acids and direct bioleaching using Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans. The leaching efficiency of these acids was compared based on different normality equivalents. Additionally, the effects of pulp density (1-10%) and extraction time (24-48 h) were assessed. Slag toxicity was assessed with a germination test in concentrated and diluted leachates using Brassica juncea. The results demonstrated that copper slag is particularly suitable for chemical treatment because as much as 91 wt.% Cu and 85 wt.% Zn or 70 wt.% Cu and 81 wt.% Zn were extracted using HNO3 or bacterial leaching, respectively. The residual slag was characterized by significant metal depletion and the presence of gypsum, rendering it more suitable for further use or disposal. Lead matte released 65 wt.% Cu and 8 wt.% Zn using mineral acid leaching while 70 wt.% Cu and 12 wt.% Zn were released using bacterial leaching. Further process optimization is needed for lead matte to generate residue depletion in toxic metals. Toxicity assessment showed toxic characteristics in metal-loaded leachates originating from waste treatment that inhibited germination rates and root development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104450
JournalJournal of Environmental Chemical Engineering
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • bioleaching
  • copper slag
  • lead matte
  • metals
  • toxicity

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