Beneficiation of Iron Oxides from Cupola Furnace Slags for Arsenic Removal from Mine Tailings Decant Water


  • Bennetta Koomson
  • John Koomson
  • Elias K Asiam


Large volumes of ferrous metallurgical slags (FMS) are generated annually as waste materials from metal extraction, purification, casting and alloying processes worldwide. Some attempts have been made to use bulk FMS in metal precipitation and concrete works but little success has been achieved because of unstable precipitates and volume expansion of concrete structures. As a result, significant quantities of FMS are still disposed in landfills. This disposal leads to land conflicts and poor environmental practices. The present study focuses on the characterization and separation of iron oxide from selected bulk FMS (Cupola Furnace Slag - CFS) obtained from Ghana into constituent components for use as engineering materials. Quantitative X-ray diffractometry was used to determine the mineralogy of CFS. Iron oxide morphology and spot composition in the CFS were determined using scanning electron microscopy, combined with energy dispersive spectroscopy. The inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry was used to ascertain the chemical composition of CFS after acid digestion. Wet low intensity magnetic separation technique was employed for beneficiating iron oxides from the CFS. It is shown that the CFS is amorphous and consist of ferrous and non-ferrous material. Results of the investigation confirmed that ferrous materials in the slags can be separated using magnetic separation technique. The study further confirmed that fine grinding (- 75 µm) liberates the magnetic portions of the slag efficiently, and as such, they can be recovered using a low magnetic field. The recovery was 99.04 % and the concentrates obtained from the beneficiation process consist primarily of pigeonite, quartz, magnetite and jacobsite.  The beneficiated concentrates have the capacity to adsorb arsenic from mine effluent. This study has demonstrated that, slags can be utilized as secondary resources rather than a waste.






Environmental and Safety Eng. Articles