A critical review on remediation, reuse, and resource recovery from acid mine drainage

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Environmental Pollution, 2019, 247 pp. 1110 - 1124
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Acid mine drainage (AMD) is a global environmental issue. Conventionally, a number of active and passive remediation approaches are applied to treat and manage AMD. Case studies on remediation approaches applied in actual mining sites such as lime neutralization, bioremediation, wetlands and permeable reactive barriers provide an outlook on actual long-term implications of AMD remediation. Hence, in spite of available remediation approaches, AMD treatment remains a challenge. The need for sustainable AMD treatment approaches has led to much focus on water reuse and resource recovery. This review underscores (i) characteristics and implication of AMD, (ii) remediation approaches in mining sites, (iii) alternative treatment technologies for water reuse, and (iv) resource recovery. Specifically, the role of membrane processes and alternative treatment technologies to produce water for reuse from AMD is highlighted. Although membrane processes are favorable for water reuse, they cannot achieve resource recovery, specifically selective valuable metal recovery. The approach of integrated membrane and conventional treatment processes are especially promising for attaining both water reuse and recovery of resources such as sulfuric acid, metals and rare earth elements. Overall, this review provides insights in establishing reuse and resource recovery as the holistic approach towards sustainable AMD treatment. Finally, integrated technologies that deserve in depth future exploration is highlighted. Challenges associated with AMD can be sustainability addressed through integrated treatment approaches that attain both water reuse and valuable resource recovery.
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