Studies On Acid Production Potential Of Some Sulphide Minerals And Bioremediation Of Acid Mine Drainage
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Acid mine drainage (AMD) is a worldwide environmental problem associated with the mining wastes, generated from active and inactive mining sites from mineral processing activities. AMD is defined as the drainage that occurs as a result of oxidation of sulphide minerals/wastes/tailings when exposed to air and water in the presence of chemolithotrophs namely the Acidithiobacillus sp. AMD is characterised by low pH and increased acidity due to elevated heavy metals and sulphate concentration. The acid production potential was carried out for sulphide minerals such as pyrite and chalcopyrite and copper tailings sample in the absence and presence of bacteria namely Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans. Acidity was generated in all the cases due to the oxidation of the mineral samples. The oxidation was found to occur at a higher rate in the presence of the bacteria compared to the control samples. Bioremediation experiments were conducted on acid mine water collected from the Ingaldahl Mines, Chitradurga, Karnataka, India, using organic and inorganic substrates. In the experiments with rice husk, complete removal of metal ions from the acid mine water was achieved with an attendant increase in the pH of the acid mine water from 2.3 to 5.5. About 21% of sulphate could be removed using Dsm. nigrificans from acid mine water pretreated with rice husk at pH 5.5 and this was further increased to 40% by the supplementation of organic components. The rice husk filtrate was found to serve as a good growth medium for Dsm. nigrificans. About 96 % of Fe, 75 % of Zn, 92 % of Cu and 41 % of sulphate removal was achieved from the acid mine water of pH 2.4 with a concomitant increase in the pH value by two units after interaction with the tree bark. About 56 % and 71 % of sulphate reduction could be achieved at initial pH values of 4.1 and 5.5 respectively of the acid mine water pretreated with E. tereticornis (Sm) bark, after inoculation with Dsm. nigrificans. The complete removal of Fe2+ and Fe3+, 80% of Zn, 83% of Cu and 62% of sulphate could be removed from acid mine water using fly ash as the substrate with an increase in pH of acid mine water from 2.3 to 7. About 68% of sulphate reduction at pH 6.8 could be achieved in acid mine water pretreated with fly ash in the presence of Dsm. nigrificans. With red mud as the substrate, complete removal of all the metal ions namely Fe2+, Fe3+, Zn, and Cu from acid mine water was achieved with a concomitant increase in the pH from 2.3 to 8. The sulphate reduction was increased to about 51% at pH 7.2 when the acid mine water pretreated with red mud was inoculated with Dsm. nigrificans. The adsorption experiments carried out on the acid mine water using either organic or inorganic substrates indicated that the free energy of adsorption was negative for all the chosen metal ions attesting to favorable interaction. The adsorption isotherms of the metal ions for rice husk exhibited Langmuirian behaviour, while those for the other substrates adhered to both Langmuir and Freundlich relationships. The adsorption process was found to be endothermic in nature for rice husk, fly ash and red mud. On the contrary, the adsorption onto tree bark showed exothermic behaviour. The adsorption kinetics of the metal ions onto the various substrates adhered to the first order Lagergren equation. The metal uptake processes by the organic and inorganic substrates chosen for this study involve ionic, chemical and physical forces of adsorption. The different types of functional groups present on the surface of the substrates such as carboxyl, hydroxyl and carbonyl, as revealed by FTIR spectroscopic studies, partake in metal binding. The metal ions will also be adsorbed by complexing with the negatively charged reaction sites on the substrate surfaces. Furthermore, the complex solution chemistry of the metals as a function of pH has also to be taken into consideration. The mechanism of sulphate reduction by Dsm. nigrificans in the presence of organic carbon can be illustrated as: 2CH2O + SO42- + 2H+ 2CO2 + 2H2O + H2S M2 + H2S MS + 2H+ where, CH2O represents the organic matter and M represents the metal ion.