Suppression of Pyrite Oxidation by Surface Silica Coating


The exposure of pyrite (FeS2) to atmospheric conditions during mining activity causes a series of complex oxidation reactions, resulting to acid generation and the subsequent release of toxic heavy metals in the surrounding aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The produced acidic mine waters, known as acid mine drainage (AMD), constitute one the major environmental problems of both operating and abandoned mixed sulphide, coal and other mine sites where sulphidic minerals are encountered. A sustainable approach to the environmentally safe pyrite-bearing extractive waste management is related to the prevention of oxidation by developing artificial coatings on the pyrite surfaces. In this study, experiments performed to study the conditions of the silica coating formation on the FeS2 particles contained in a pyrite concentrate are presented. Batch tests involving the treatment of pyrite samples with a coating solution, consisting of Na2SiO3, H2O2 and buffered pH, were performed under a liquid to solid ratio (L/S) 100 l/kg. The effect of parameters including SiO2 concentration (5 - 50 mM), pH values (5.0 - 8.0) and contact time up to 24 hours, was investigated. Parameters examined to monitor the silica coating formation process include analysis of Fe, Si,  and H2O2 in the aqueous phase. Scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM/EDS) was used for the examination of the chemically modified surfaces of silica-treated pyrite samples.

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Kollias, K. , Mylona, E. , Adam, K. , Papassiopi, N. , Papassiopi, N. and Xenidis, A. (2014) Suppression of Pyrite Oxidation by Surface Silica Coating. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 2, 37-43. doi: 10.4236/gep.2014.24006.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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