Effect of pyrite concentration on the quality of ferric sulfate coagulants obtained by leaching from coal tailings
Coagulants rich in ferric sulfate can be obtained from pyrite-containing coal tailings using a biohydrometallurgical process. The aim of this study is to evaluate the relationship between quantity of pyrite and rate of oxidation, with regard to the consequent production of ferric sulfate for potential use as a coagulant for water and wastewater treatment. Leaching experiments were carried out on the laboratory scale on four coal tailings with different concentrations of pyrite. Characterization of the coal tailings was conducted for the following parameters: total sulfur, pyritic sulfur, sulfate sulfur, organic sulfur, and elemental analysis of CHN (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen). The samples were also subjected to X-ray diffraction analysis to assess their mineral compositions. The leaching experiments were accomplished using a laboratory column constructed as a packed bed reactor with a sprinkling system in a closed circuit. After four weeks of leaching, the liquor was filtered and evaporated to an iron concentration of about 12 percent w/w, which is typical of the ferric sulfate coagulants commercialized in Brazil.
Key wordsCoal tailings Pyrite oxidation Acid mine drainage (AMD) Ferric sulfate Coagulants
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