Special Issue "Environmental Mineralogy"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Tsutomu Sato

Laboratory of Environmental Geology, Faculty of Engineering, Hokkaido University, Kita 13 Nishi 8, Kita-Ku, Sapporo 060-8628, Japan
E-Mail
Interests: mineral–water interaction; clay minerals; waste disposal

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

“Environmental mineralogy” has developed over the past decade in response to the recognition that minerals are unambiguously linked, in many important ways, to, not only the local and global ecosystem, but also geo-engineering technology, such as mining and waste disposal. A broad spectrum of issues encountered in geo-engineering require an accurate and detailed understanding of the nature and extent of mineral–water interactions at the interface between built and natural environments. Such issues include the disposal of hazardous and radioactive waste, treatment of acid mine drainage and waste water, capture and storage of carbon dioxide, construction using cement, slag, and fly ash, and the health effect of minerals, such as asbestos. Safety and performance assessments in such cases require the results of cutting-edge scientific research in many areas: (1) the kinetics of dissolution, alteration, and formation of minerals; (2) pollutant uptake by and release from minerals; (3) geochemical buffering of acid–base and redox reactions by minerals; and (4) mineral–microbe interactions and so on. In this Special Issue, we seek to assemble a balanced combination of field, laboratory, and computational studies that represent recent advances and the future challenges in this field.

Prof. Dr. Tsutomu Sato
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Acid mine drainage
  • Asbestos
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Cement
  • Fly ash
  • Mining
  • Slag
  • Waste disposal
  • Water treatment

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Key Factors Affecting Strength Development of Steel Slag-Dredged Soil Mixtures
Minerals 2018, 8(5), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8050174
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
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Abstract
Some of the steel slag from ironworks and dredged soils from marine and waterfront engineering work are partially treated as waste. However, a mixture of these two kinds of waste has the potential to be used as construction materials when mixed, due to [...] Read more.
Some of the steel slag from ironworks and dredged soils from marine and waterfront engineering work are partially treated as waste. However, a mixture of these two kinds of waste has the potential to be used as construction materials when mixed, due to chemical reactions forming secondary phases. Utilizing waste of such kind as a resource will help to improve sustainability in society by reducing waste and replacing virgin resources such as cement. Recently, it was reported that mixtures of steel slag and dredged soil hardens under specific conditions. The phase compositions of dredged soils and steel slags vary depending on the quantity of each component, which results in unpredictable strength development of mixtures. The effect of the variations in the components of steel slags and dredged soils on strength development of the mixtures is not yet clear, limiting the utilization of both materials. Understanding the hardening mechanisms of the mixtures will enable the prediction of strength development. Focusing on the variations in the components in steel slags and, especially of dredged soils, this study aims to identify the components in both materials that affect the secondary phase formation that are responsible for strength development. We found support for suggestions that calcium silicate hydrate, C-S-H, is one of the secondary phases responsible for the strength development of the mixtures. From a comparison of two kinds of steel slags and various dredged soils, the amount of portlandite in the steel slags and the amount of amorphous silica in the dredged soils are suggested as a couple of the key components of starting materials involved in the C-S-H formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mineralogy)
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Open AccessArticle
Formation of Fe- and Mg-Rich Smectite under Hyperalkaline Conditions at Narra in Palawan, the Philippines
Minerals 2018, 8(4), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8040155
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 30 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
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Abstract
The formation of Fe- and Mg-rich smectite and zeolite under alkaline conditions, as secondary minerals after the alkaline alteration of bentonite in repositories for radioactive waste, is of major concern. It is crucial for safety assessments to know whether smectite is formed as [...] Read more.
The formation of Fe- and Mg-rich smectite and zeolite under alkaline conditions, as secondary minerals after the alkaline alteration of bentonite in repositories for radioactive waste, is of major concern. It is crucial for safety assessments to know whether smectite is formed as a secondary mineral after the alkaline alteration of bentonite. In the present paper, Fe- and Mg-rich smectite, which interacted with the hyperalkaline groundwater at Narra in Palawan, Philippines, was used. Mineralogical and geochemical investigation was conducted to understand the formation process of the smectite and the factors determining the formation of secondary mineral species. The results suggest that a certain amount of smectite may be generated under hyperalkaline conditions, by alteration from amorphous or poorly crystalline components such as M-S-H and F-S-H. Therefore, the controlling factor determining whether smectite or zeolite will be generated as secondary minerals after alkaline alteration of bentonite could be whether nuclei of M-S-H and/or F-S-H are formed. Whether such formation takes place may be determined by the presence of dissolved Mg2+ and Fe2+ in the environment. The formation process of smectite under alkaline conditions, suggested by the results here, is analogous to the generally accepted model of smectite formation as it may have occurred on early Mars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mineralogy)
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Open AccessArticle
Dissolved Silica Effects on Adsorption and Co-Precipitation of Sb(III) and Sb(V) with Ferrihydrite
Minerals 2018, 8(3), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8030101
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
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Abstract
Elevated antimony concentrations in aqueous environments from anthropogenic sources are becoming of global concern. In this respect iron oxides are known to strongly adsorb aqueous antimony species with different oxidation states, but the effect of silica on the removal characteristics is not well [...] Read more.
Elevated antimony concentrations in aqueous environments from anthropogenic sources are becoming of global concern. In this respect iron oxides are known to strongly adsorb aqueous antimony species with different oxidation states, but the effect of silica on the removal characteristics is not well understood despite being a common component in the environment. In this study, ferrihydrite was synthesized at various Si/Fe molar ratios to investigate its adsorption and co-precipitation behaviors with aqueous antimony anionic species, Sb(III) and Sb(V). The X-ray diffraction analyses of the precipitates showed two broad diffraction features at approximately 35° and 62° 2θ, which are characteristics of 2-line ferrihydrite, but no significant shifts in peak positions in the ferrihydrite regardless of the Si/Fe ratios. The infrared spectra showed a sharp band at ~930 cm−1, corresponding to asymmetric stretching vibrations of Si–O–Fe bonds which increased in intensity with increasing Si/Fe molar ratios. Further, the surface charge on the precipitates became more negative with increasing Si/Fe molar ratios. The adsorption experiments indicated that Sb(V) was preferentially adsorbed under acidic conditions which decreased dramatically with increasing pH while the adsorption rate of Sb(III) ions was independent of pH. However, the presence of silica suppressed the adsorption of both Sb(III) and Sb(V) ions. The results showed that Sb(III) and Sb(V) ions were significantly inhibited by co-precipitation with ferrihydrite even in the presence of silica by isomorphous substitution in the ferrihydrite crystal structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mineralogy)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Dissolved Silica on Immobilization of Boron by Magnesium Oxide
Minerals 2018, 8(2), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8020076
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 16 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
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Abstract
The effect of silica on the immobilization reaction of boron by magnesium oxide was investigated by laboratory experiments. In the absence of silica, due to dissolution of the magnesium oxide, boron was removed from solutions by the precipitation of multiple magnesium borates. In [...] Read more.
The effect of silica on the immobilization reaction of boron by magnesium oxide was investigated by laboratory experiments. In the absence of silica, due to dissolution of the magnesium oxide, boron was removed from solutions by the precipitation of multiple magnesium borates. In the presence of silica, magnesium silica hydrate (M-S-H) was formed as a secondary mineral, which takes up boron. Here 11B magic-angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (MAS-NMR) and Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FT-IR) data show that a part of the boron would be incorporated into M-S-H structures by isomorphic substitution of silicon. Another experiment where magnesium oxide and amorphous silica were reacted beforehand and boron was added later showed that the shorter the reaction time of the preceding reaction, the higher the sorption ratio of boron. That is, boron was incorporated into the M-S-H mainly by coprecipitation. The experiments in the study here show that the sorption of boron in the presence of silica is mainly due to the incorporation of boron during the formation of the M-S-H structure, which suggests that boron would not readily leach out, and that stable immobilization of boron can be expected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mineralogy)
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Open AccessArticle
Coal-Mining Tailings as a Pozzolanic Material in Cements Industry
Minerals 2018, 8(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8020046
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
The generation of enormous volumes of mine-tailing waste is standard practice in the mining industry. Large quantities of these tailings are also sources of kaolinite-rich materials that accumulate in slag heaps, causing significant environmental degradation and visual impacts on the landscape. The consequences [...] Read more.
The generation of enormous volumes of mine-tailing waste is standard practice in the mining industry. Large quantities of these tailings are also sources of kaolinite-rich materials that accumulate in slag heaps, causing significant environmental degradation and visual impacts on the landscape. The consequences of coal refuse dumped in slagheaps calls for the study of eco-innovative solutions and the assessment of waste types. Moreover, the environmental benefits of reusing large amounts of contaminated waste are also evident. Hence, the objective of this investigation is to expand current knowledge of new siliceous-aluminium minerals and their pozzolanic activity. Four raw tailing samples are characterized to determine their chemical (by ICP/MS analysis), morphological (by SEM/EDX analysis), and mineralogical (by XRD analysis) compositions prior to their thermal activation that transforms the inert wastes at various temperatures into materials with cementitious properties. The results of XRD analysis following activation confirmed that the kaolinite content is fully transformed into metakaolinite. The coal refuse samples presented sufficiently reliable levels of pozzolanic activity for use as additives in industrial cements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mineralogy)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Salinity and Pb on the Precipitation of Zn in a Model System
Minerals 2018, 8(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8020043
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 18 January 2018 / Accepted: 22 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract
Fly ash from solid waste incineration plants is a source of a significant mass flow of Zn- and Pb-containing waste. Acidic leaching removes most heavy metals from fly ash, but leads to high concentrations of soluble salts in the solution, resulting in a [...] Read more.
Fly ash from solid waste incineration plants is a source of a significant mass flow of Zn- and Pb-containing waste. Acidic leaching removes most heavy metals from fly ash, but leads to high concentrations of soluble salts in the solution, resulting in a saline solution enriched in heavy metals. Common treatment methods cause voluminous sludge that is mostly disposed of as hazardous waste and hence leads to a loss of Zn and other heavy metals. On a laboratory scale, precipitation experiments with 2000 mg/L Zn were performed to investigate the impact of salinity (0 to >70,000 mg/L Cl, 0 to 5400 mg/L SO4) and Pb concentration (0 to 800 mg/L) on the formation of mineral phases. The removal efficiency of Zn and Pb after alkalization of the solution was studied. Characterization of the precipitates showed that salinity has a significant impact on the phases produced. At a low salt concentration, zincite (ZnO) is formed. With increasing salinity, the higher concentration of chloride and sulfate increases the stability of various Zn sulphate hydroxides. At a medium salinity of 7000 mg/L, bechererite is predominantly formed, whereas a higher salinity leads to the formation of gordaite. Addition of low amounts of Pb enlarges the stability field of zincite to medium saline solutions but causes lower removal efficiency. The lower removal efficiency observed at low salinity increases at a higher salinity. In high saline solutions, high Pb concentrations (800 mg/L) are needed to form laurionite, a Pb-hydroxychloride phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mineralogy)
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Open AccessArticle
Metal Recovery from the Mobile Phone Waste by Chemical and Biological Treatments
Minerals 2018, 8(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8010008
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 24 December 2017 / Accepted: 28 December 2017 / Published: 2 January 2018
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Abstract
Recycling electronic waste is an important subject not only from the point of view of waste treatment, but also regarding the recovery of valuable metals. This research examined the stepwise recovery of metals in mobile phone waste using chemical treatment via pH swing [...] Read more.
Recycling electronic waste is an important subject not only from the point of view of waste treatment, but also regarding the recovery of valuable metals. This research examined the stepwise recovery of metals in mobile phone waste using chemical treatment via pH swing and the biological method using biomineralization. In chemical treatment, the metal fraction attached to the printed circuit board (PCB) and camera parts were separated from the mobile phone waste and were then pulverized into particles with a size less than ~2 mm. The metal fraction was dissolved in aqua regia, and the pH of the solution was increased to 10.5 by adding NH4OH. The first precipitate was iron oxide, produced by raising the pH to 3.1~4.2 with NH4OH. Sequentially, copper chloride and rare earth-metal complex were produced at pH 5.7~7.7 and 8.3~10.5, respectively. In the biological method, the filtrate at pH 7.7 was added to a metal-reducing bacteria growth medium as a precursor. After two weeks of incubation, rhodochrosite and calcite were precipitated as nano-sized minerals. The results indicate that effective metal recovery of mobile phone waste is feasible using chemical and biological treatments, and the recovered metals and rare earth metals can be recycled into raw materials for various industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mineralogy)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Flowing Water on Sr Sorption Changes of Hydrous Sodium Titanate
Minerals 2017, 7(12), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7120247
Received: 10 November 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 11 December 2017 / Published: 14 December 2017
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Abstract
Radioactive contaminated water has been generated at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power station (F1NPS). Hydrous sodium titanate (SrTreat®) is able to remove radioactive Strontium (Sr) from this water. Knowing the amount of radioactive nuclides in the used as-received SrTreat® is [...] Read more.
Radioactive contaminated water has been generated at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power station (F1NPS). Hydrous sodium titanate (SrTreat®) is able to remove radioactive Strontium (Sr) from this water. Knowing the amount of radioactive nuclides in the used as-received SrTreat® is important for effective disposal and deposition of the F1NPS waste. This study investigated changes in the ability of SrTreat® to sorb Sr, and to understand the causes of changes in the sorbing. An investigation of the Sr sorption ability of SrTreat® is important for calculating the initial radioactive inventory of used SrTreat®. This study carries out Sr sorption studies with acid-base titrations and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) to characterize the properties. After exposure to simulated treated water for 99 h, the surface structure of the SrTreat® was changed, and the percentage of sorbed Sr and the buffer capacity for protons decreased. When the amount of radioactive nuclides contained in the used SrTreat® is calculated from the sorption data of the as-received SrTreat®, the radioactive Sr content will be overestimated with a concomitant increase in the deposition and disposal costs of the used SrTreat®. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mineralogy)
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Open AccessArticle
Visible Light Enhanced Extracellular Electron Transfer between a Hematite Photoanode and Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Minerals 2017, 7(12), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7120230
Received: 23 October 2017 / Revised: 19 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 23 November 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2665 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Exploring the interplay between sunlight, semiconducting minerals, and microorganisms in nature has attracted great attention in recent years. Here we report for the first time the investigation of the interaction between a hematite photoelectrode and Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 under visible light irradiation. Hematite [...] Read more.
Exploring the interplay between sunlight, semiconducting minerals, and microorganisms in nature has attracted great attention in recent years. Here we report for the first time the investigation of the interaction between a hematite photoelectrode and Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 under visible light irradiation. Hematite is the most abundant mineral on earth, with a band gap of 2.0 eV. A hematite electrode was electrochemically deposited on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO). It was thoroughly characterized by environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM), Raman, and UV–Vis spectroscopy, and its prompt response to visible light was determined by linear sweep voltammetry (LSV). Notably, under light illumination, the hematite electrode immersed in a live cell culture was able to produce 240% more photocurrent density than that in the abiotic control of the medium, suggesting a photoenhanced extracellular electron transfer process occurring between hematite and PAO1. Different temperatures of LSV measurements showed bioelectrochemical activity in the system. Furthermore, I–t curves under various conditions demonstrated that both a direct and an indirect electron transferring process occurred between the hematite photoanode and PAO1. Moreover, the indirect electron transferring route was more dominant, which may be mainly attributed to the pyocyanin biosynthesized by PAO1. Our results have expanded our understanding in that in addition to Geobacter and Shewanella it has been shown that more microorganisms are able to perform enhanced extracellular electron transfer with semiconducting minerals under sunlight in nature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mineralogy)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Acid Rock Drainage or Not—Oxidative vs. Reductive Biofilms—A Microbial Question
Minerals 2018, 8(5), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8050199
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 1 May 2018 / Published: 7 May 2018
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Abstract
Measures to counteract Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) generation need to start at the mineral surface, inhibiting mineral-oxidizing, acidophilic microbes. Laboratory and long-term field tests with pyrite-containing mining wastes—where carbonaceous phosphate mining waste (CPMW) was added—resulted in low acidity and near neutral drainage. The [...] Read more.
Measures to counteract Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) generation need to start at the mineral surface, inhibiting mineral-oxidizing, acidophilic microbes. Laboratory and long-term field tests with pyrite-containing mining wastes—where carbonaceous phosphate mining waste (CPMW) was added—resulted in low acidity and near neutral drainage. The effect was reproducible and confirmed by several independent research groups. The improved drainage was shown to involve an organic coating, likely a biofilm. The biofilm formation was confirmed when CPMW was added to lignite coal waste with an initial pH of 1. Forty-five days after the addition, the coal waste was dominated by heterotrophic microorganisms in biofilms. Reviewing the scientific literature provides ample support that CPMW has physical and chemical characteristics which can induce a strong inhibitory effect on sulphide oxidation by triggering the formation of an organic coating, a biofilm, over the mineral surface. CPMW characteristics provide the cornerstone of a new technology which might lead to reduction of sulphide oxidation in mine wastes. A hypothesis for testing this technology is presented. The use of such a technology could result in an economical and sustainable approach to mine waste and water management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mineralogy)
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