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Coprecipitation of Co2+, Ni2+ and Zn2+ with Mn(III/IV) Oxides Formed in Metal-Rich Mine Waters

Area of Geochemistry and Sustainable Mining, Department of Geological Resources Research, Spanish Geological Survey (IGME), Calera 1, Tres Cantos, 28760 Madrid, Spain
Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Apdo. 644, 48080 Bilbao, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2019, 9(4), 226;
Received: 19 February 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 6 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acid Mine Drainage Recovery)
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Manganese oxides are widespread in soils and natural waters, and their capacity to adsorb different trace metals such as Co, Ni, or Zn is well known. In this study, we aimed to compare the extent of trace metal coprecipitation in different Mn oxides formed during Mn(II) oxidation in highly concentrated, metal-rich mine waters. For this purpose, mine water samples collected from the deepest part of several acidic pit lakes in Spain (pH 2.7–4.2), with very high concentration of manganese (358–892 mg/L Mn) and trace metals (e.g., 795–10,394 µg/L Ni, 678–11,081 µg/L Co, 259–624 mg/L Zn), were neutralized to pH 8.0 in the laboratory and later used for Mn(II) oxidation experiments. These waters were subsequently allowed to oxidize at room temperature and pH = 8.5–9.0 over several weeks until Mn(II) was totally oxidized and a dense layer of manganese precipitates had been formed. These solids were characterized by different techniques for investigating the mineral phases formed and the amount of coprecipitated trace metals. All Mn oxides were fine-grained and poorly crystalline. Evidence from X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled to Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (SEM–EDX) suggests the formation of different manganese oxides with varying oxidation state ranging from Mn(III) (e.g., manganite) and Mn(III/IV) (e.g., birnessite, todorokite) to Mn(IV) (e.g., asbolane). Whole-precipitate analyses by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometry (ICP-AES), and/or Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS), provided important concentrations of trace metals in birnessite (e.g., up to 1424 ppm Co, 814 ppm Ni, and 2713 ppm Zn), while Co and Ni concentrations at weight percent units were detected in asbolane by SEM-EDX. This trace metal retention capacity is lower than that observed in natural Mn oxides (e.g., birnessite) formed in the water column in a circum-neutral pit lake (pH 7.0–8.0), or in desautelsite obtained in previous neutralization experiments (pH 9.0–10.0). However, given the very high amount of Mn sorbent material formed in the solutions (2.8–4.6 g/L Mn oxide), the formation of these Mn(III/IV) oxides invariably led to the virtually total removal of Co, Ni, and Zn from the aqueous phase. We evaluate these data in the context of mine water pollution treatment and recovery of critical metals. View Full-Text
Keywords: manganese oxides; trace metals; coprecipitation; mine waters; sorption manganese oxides; trace metals; coprecipitation; mine waters; sorption

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Sánchez-España, J.; Yusta, I. Coprecipitation of Co2+, Ni2+ and Zn2+ with Mn(III/IV) Oxides Formed in Metal-Rich Mine Waters. Minerals 2019, 9, 226.

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