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Water Science & Technology Vol 65 No 12 pp 2236–2241 © IWA Publishing 2012 doi:10.2166/wst.2012.143

Recovery of calcium carbonate from steelmaking slag and utilization for acid mine drainage pre-treatment

J. Mulopo, M. Mashego and J. N. Zvimba

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Natural Resources and the Environment, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa E-mail: jmulopo@csir.co.za


The conversion of steelmaking slag (a waste product of the steelmaking process) to calcium carbonate (CaCO3) was tested using hydrochloric acid, ammonium hydroxide and carbon dioxide via a pH-swing process. Batch reactors were used to assess the technical feasibility of calcium carbonate recovery and its use for pre-treatment of acid mine drainage (AMD) from coal mines. The effects of key process parameters, such as the amount of acid (HCl/calcium molar ratio), the pH and the CO2 flow rate were considered. It was observed that calcium extraction from steelmaking slag significantly increased with an increase in the amount of hydrochloric acid. The CO2 flow rate also had a positive effect on the carbonation reaction rate but did not affect the morphology of the calcium carbonate produced for values less than 2 L/min. The CaCO3 recovered from the bench scale batch reactor demonstrated effective neutralization ability during AMD pre-treatment compared with the commercial laboratory grade CaCO3.

Keywords: acid mine drainage; calcium carbonate; carbonation; extraction; steelmaking slag

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