Adsorption recovery of Ag(I) and Au(III) from an electronics industry wastewater on a clay mineral composite

  • Youness Rakhila
  • Abdellah Elmchaouri
  • Allal Mestari
  • Sophia Korili
  • Meriem Abouri
  • Antonio GilEmail author


The aim of this work is to investigate the ability of an adsorbent of a clay mineral composite to remove and recover gold and silver ions from wastewater. The composite was prepared by mixing phosphogypsum (PG), obtained from an industrial waste, and a natural clay mineral. The materials were characterized before and after use in adsorption by several techniques. Batch adsorption experiments were carried out, and the effects of the contact time and the pH and temperature of solution on the removal processes were investigated. The optimum pH for the adsorption was found to be 4. The adsorption of these metal ions reached equilibrium after 2 h of contact. The pseudo-first- and the pseudo-second-order kinetic models, as well as the Freundlich and the Langmuir isotherm equations, were considered to describe the adsorption results. The maximum adsorbed amount of 85 mg·g−1 Ag(I) and 108.3 mg·g−1 Au(III) was found. The recovery of the adsorbed gold and silver ions from the adsorbent was also analyzed. Strong acids appeared to be the best desorption agents to recover gold and silver ions. The use of aqua regia gave regeneration rates close to 95.3% and 94.3% for Ag(I) and Au(III), respectively. Finally, the removal of gold and silver ions from an industrial wastewater was tested in batch experiments, and percentage recoveries of 76.5% and 79.9% for Ag(I) and Au(III), respectively, were obtained. To carry out the industrial application of the proposed methodology, an economic viability study is required.


adsorption clay composite industrial wastewater gold silver 


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Gil thanks Santander Bank for funding through the Research Intensification Program.


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Copyright information

© University of Science and Technology Beijing and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Youness Rakhila
    • 1
  • Abdellah Elmchaouri
    • 1
  • Allal Mestari
    • 1
  • Sophia Korili
    • 2
  • Meriem Abouri
    • 1
  • Antonio Gil
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Laboratoire de Chimie Physique et de Chimie BioorganiqueUniversité Hassan II de CasablancaMohammediaMorocco
  2. 2.INAMAT-Science Department, Los Acebos BuildingPublic University of Navarra, Campus of ArrosadiaPamplonaSpain

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