Abatement of Heavy Metals Concentration in Mine Waste Water Using Activated Carbons from Coconut Shells Prepared in a Gas-Fired Static Bed Pyrolysis/Activation Reactor

William K Buah, Shadrack Fosu, Samuel A Ndur


Mining and minerals processing provide significant quantities of metals and other minerals required for human development. Despite the numerous benefits derived from mining and mineral operations, issues such as land degradation and heavy metals contamination of water bodies are major concerns. Consequently, there is the need to reduce concentration of heavy metals in mine wastewaters using efficient and cost-effective methods that do not produce toxic residues. Activated carbons (AC) are used widely for the adsorption of heavy metals. In this work, activated carbons prepared from coconut shells using a locally developed gas-fired static bed pyrolysis/activation reactor were used to remove heavy metals from mine wastewater. The coconut shells were washed to remove dirt, dried, sized to (-5 +1) mm and carbonised in the reactor at 900 ºC pyrolysis temperature to produce char. The char was then activated at 900 ºC activation temperature at different durations. The derived ACs were contacted with mine wastewater containing Fe, Mn, Pb and As ions at 3.242 mg/L, 1.622 mg/L, 0.002 mg/L and 360.35 µg/L, respectively. The results show that the concentrations of metals in the wastewater were reduced to environmentally acceptable limits at different times. This research demonstrates the potential of the ACs, produced in a locally developed reactor, for removal of heavy metals in wastewater. The ACs could be used as excellent, effective and inexpensive materials for removing heavy metals from mine wastewater.


Heavy Metals, Activated Carbon, Adsorption, Mine Waste Water

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