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Title: Techno-economic analysis of the reclamation of drinking water and valuable minerals from acid mine drainage.
Authors: Shabalala, Ayanda N.
School of Biology and Environmental Sciences
Keywords: Acid mine drainage.;Treatment.;Reclamation.;Techno-economic analysis.;Valorisation.;Circular economy.;Recovery of valuable minerals.
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: MDPI
Abstract: The concept of circular economy in wastewater treatment has recently attracted immense interest and this is primarily fueled by the ever-growing interest to minimise ecological footprints of mining activities and metallurgical processes. In light of that, countries such as the Republic of South Africa, China, Australia, and the United States are at the forefront of water pollution due to the generation of notorious acid mine drainage (AMD). The disposal of AMD to different receiving environments constitutes a severe threat to the receiving ecosystem thus calling for prudent intervention to redress the prevailing challenges. Recent research emphasises the employment of wastewater treatment, beneficiation and valorisation. Herein, the techno-economic evaluation of the reclamation of clean water and valuable minerals from AMD using the Magnesite Softening and Reverse Osmosis (MASRO) process was reported. The total capital expenditure (CAPEX) for the plant is ZAR 452,000 (USD 31,103.22) which includes ZAR 110,000 (USD 7569.37) for civil works on a plant area of 100 m2 . The operational expenditure (OPEX) for the pilot is 16,550,000 ZAR (South African Rand) or USD 1,138,845.72 in present value terms (10 years plant life). The plant reclaimed drinking water as specified in different water quality standards, guidelines, and specifications, including Fe-based minerals (goethite, magnetite, and hematite), Mg-gypsum, and calcium carbonate. These minerals were verified using state-of-the-art analytical equipment. The recovered valuables will be sold at ZAR 368/kL (USD 25.32), ZAR 1100/t (USD 75.69), and ZAR 2000/t (USD 137.62) for water, gypsum, and limestone, respectively. The project has an NPV of ZAR 60,000 (USD 4128.75) at an IRR of 26%. The payback period for this investment will take 3 years. The total power consumption per day was recorded to be 146.6 kWh, and 103,288 kWh/annum. In conclusion, findings of this work will significantly contribute to improving the sustainability of the mining sector by proposing economically feasible solutions for wastewater streams treatment, beneficiation, and valorisation.
Description: Please note that only UMP researchers are shown in the metadata. To access the co-authors, please view the full text.
DOI: 10.3390/min11121352
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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