Electrodialytic remediation of copper mine tailings: Comparing different operational conditions

Adrian Rojo, Henrik K. Hansen, Lisbeth M. Ottosen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This work compares and evaluates sixteen electrodialytic laboratory remediation experiments on copper mine tailings. Different parameters were analyzed, such as remediation time, voltage drop, addition of desorbing agents, and the use of pulsed electrical fields. The results show that electric current could remove copper from watery tailings slowly. With addition of sulphuric acid, the process was improved due to a pH decrease from 6.7 to around 4, and the copper by this reason was released in the solution. Moreover, with citric acid addition the process was further improved due to a formation of copper citrate complexes. Using pulsed electric fields the remediation process with sulphuric acid addition was also improved by a decrease in the polarization cell. Main results: considering remediation with watery tailing as the base line, for three weeks experiments no copper removal was observed, adding sulphuric acid total copper removal reached 39%. Adding citric acid, total copper removal was improved in terms of remediation time: after 5h experiment copper removal was 16% instead of 9% obtained after 72h with sulphuric acid addition. Using pulsed electric fields total copper removal was also improved: for 72h experiment the total copper removal was doubled (from 9% to 19%) compared to DC electric fields.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMinerals Engineering
Pages (from-to)500-504
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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