Removal of Cu(II) from wastewater by using mechanochemically activated carbonate-based tailings through chemical precipitation

  • Bowen Xiong
  • Tingting Zhang
  • Yunliang ZhaoEmail author
  • Tong Wen
  • Qiwu Zhang
  • Shenxu BaoEmail author
  • Shaoxian Song
Research Article


This work explored the feasibility of utilizing the copper tailings (CT) for removing copper from the waste mine water based on the mechanochemical activation. Batch experiments were performed to evaluate the influences of various experimental parameters like the dosage of CT, reaction time, initial concentration of Cu, and anion species. By cogriding copper solution with CT in the stirred mill (mechanochemical activation), over 99.5% of copper was removed and the residual copper concentration in the solution was less than 0.5 mg/L, reaching the discharge limit. This reaction was a chemical precipitation process. The calcite of CT played a major role in precipitating copper and had a better removal effect on copper in the copper sulfate solution than copper nitrate solution. For copper sulfate solution, the copper deposit was mainly posnjakite (Cu4(SO4)(OH)6·H2O). In the copper nitrate solution, the copper sediment might consist mainly of basic copper nitrate. The stability of the two reaction products was measured by leaching test. The result showed that the sediment obtained by this method was relatively stable and was not hazardous wastes.


Mine tailings Copper removal Wet stirred mill Calcite Chemical precipitation 


Funding information

The financial supports for this work from the Natural Science Foundation of Hubei Province of China (2018CFB468, 2016CFA013) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51874220, 51674183) are gratefully acknowledged. Dr. Yunliang Zhao gratefully acknowledges financial support from China Scholarship Council (File No. 201806955006).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Resources and Environmental EngineeringWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Hubei Key Laboratory of Mineral Resources Processing and EnvironmentWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina
  3. 3.Materials Research InstituteThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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