Mining valuable minerals from seawater: A critical review

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Journal Article
Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology, 2017, 3 (1), pp. 37 - 53
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©2017 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Seawater contains large quantities of valuable minerals, some of which are very scarce and expensive in their land-based form. However, only a few minerals, the ones in high concentrations, are currently mined from the sea. Due to recent problems associated with land-based mining industries as a result of depletion of high-grade ores, sustainable water and energy demand and environmental issues, seawater mining is becoming an attractive option. This paper presents a comprehensive and critical review of the current methods of extracting valuable minerals from seawater and seawater brines generated in desalination plants, and suggests ways to overcome some of the limitations and challenges associated with the extraction process. The extraction methods discussed are solar evaporation, electrodialysis (ED), membrane distillation crystallisation (MDC), and adsorption/desorption.
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