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Effectiveness of neutralization process in reducing heavy metals concentrations in discharged sludge from the treatment of sulphide ore for gold using instrumental neutron activation analysis

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by Gbadago, J.K. (Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Legon, Accra (Ghana); University of Ghana, Legon, Accra (Ghana). School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences); Faanhof, A. (South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, Pretoria (South Africa); Centre of Applied Radiation Science and Technology, North-West University (Mafikeng Campus), Mmabatho (South Africa)); Schandorf, C. (University of Ghana, Legon, Accra (Ghana). School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences); Darko, E.O. (Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Legon, Accra (Ghana)) 

The effectiveness of the neutralization process on heavy metals precipitated in sludge has been evaluated using instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) facilities at the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa). The elemental concentrations of Th, Fe, Ag, Co, Cr, As, Au and K were reduced after the neutralization process with the exception of Mn and Sn which appeared to be enhanced by the neutralization process. Even though the neutralization process was targeted at the basic ferric arsenate compound, it was found to be effective in reducing other elemental concentrations. The variations in the geochemical compositions of the sulphidic ores during treatment at various stages also showed that physical processing stages do not significantly alter the elemental concentrations in the feed materials, however, the chemically active processing stages do. Also, the enhancement of the elements at the chemical stages depends on total quality control, where the application was not very repeatable the pattern of variation of elements at some stages was found to be irregular irrespective of the ore grade. The elements; Sn, Fe, Th, K, Au, Ag, As, Cr, and Co were enhanced in almost all the chemically active stages. Au was much more enhanced during flotation and bio-oxidation processes. Correlation analysis performed to determine the distribution patterns show that Fe, As, Ag and Co are geochemically associated and might be enriched simultaneously. (author)riched simultaneously. (author)

Source/Report: Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry; v. 289(3); ISSN 0236-5731; Worldcat;CODEN JRNCDM; Sep 2011; p. 699-708; 22 refs.

Publ. Year: 2011

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