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South African Journal of Science

On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353


VADAPALLI, Viswanath R.K. et al. Synthesis of zeolite-P from coal fly ash derivative and its utilisation in mine-water remediation. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2010, vol.106, n.5-6, pp.62-68. ISSN 1996-7489.

Solid residues resulting from the active treatment of acid mine drainage with coal fly ash were successfully converted to zeolite-P under mild hydrothermal treatment conditions. Scanning electron microscopy showed that the zeolite-P product was highly crystalline. The product had a high cation exchange capacity (178.7 meq / 100 g) and surface area (69.1 m2/g) and has potential application in waste-water treatment. A mineralogical analysis of the final product identified zeolite-P, as well as mullite and quartz phases, which indicated incomplete dissolution of the fly ash feedstock during the ageing step. Further optimisation of the synthesis conditions would be required to attain complete utilisation of the feedstock. The zeolite-P was tested for decontamination potential of circumneutral mine water. High removal efficiency was observed in the first treatment, but varied for different contaminants. The synthesised zeolite-P exhibited a high efficiency for the removal of heavy metal cations, such as aluminium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper and nickel, from contaminated mine water, even with repeated use. For potassium, calcium, strontium and barium, the removal was only efficient in the first treatment and decreased rapidly with subsequent treatments, indicating preferential adsorption of the other metals. A continuous release of sodium was observed during decontamination experiments, which decreased with subsequent treatments, confirming that sodium was the main exchangeable charge-balancing cation present in the zeolite-P product.

Keywords : acid mine drainage; circumneutral mine waters; fly ash; low temperature synthesis; solid residues; zeolite-P.

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