This study investigated passive neutralization of acid mine drainage using basic oxygen furnace slag as neutralization material over 90 days, with monitoring of the parameters' quality and assessment of their removal kinetics. The quality was observed to significantly improve over time with most parameters removed from the influent during the first 10 days. In this regard, removal of acidity, Fe(II), Mn, Co, Ni and Zn was characterized by fast kinetics while removal kinetics for Mg and SO42- were observed to proceed slowly. The fast removal kinetics of acidity was attributed to fast release of alkalinity from slag minerals under mildly acidic conditions of the influent water. The removal of acidity through generation of alkalinity from the passive treatment system was also observed to generally govern the removal of metallic parameters through hydroxide formation, with overall percentage removals of 88–100% achieved. The removal kinetics for SO42− was modelled using two approaches, yielding rate constant values of 1.56 and 1.53 L/(day mol) respectively, thereby confirming authenticity of SO42− removal kinetics experimental data. The study findings provide insights into better understanding of the potential use of slags and their limitations, particularly in mine closure, as part of addressing this challenge in South Africa.
- First received 16 September 2016.
- Accepted in revised form 25 November 2016.
- © IWA Publishing 2017