Green Mining | Low-cost adsorbents from industrial wastes – Adsmat
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Low-cost adsorbents from industrial wastes – Adsmat

Low-cost adsorbents from industrial wastes – Adsmat

Name: Low-cost adsorbents for the treatment of mining wastewaters

Acronym: ADSMAT

Duration: 1.1.2012-30.6.2014

Total costs (€)/Tekes support 500000 €/450000 €

Leading research organization partner: Lappeenranta University of Technology

Contact persons Professor Mika Sillanpää, Lappeenranta University of Technology, mika.sillanpaa(at) and Professor Marjatta Louhi-Kultanen, Lappeenranta University of Technology, marjatta.louhi-kultanen(at)


Research organization partners: University of Turku, Finland

Company partners: Nordkalk, Oyj, Ekokem Oy, Miktech Oy and Norilsk Nickel Oy. Cooperation also with Joint Stock Company Comita, St.Petersburg, Russia

International partners: Curtin University, Australia, Vaal University of Technology, South Africa, Tshwane University of Technology,
South Africa, Mälardalen University, Sweden, University of Florida, Miami, Khon Kaen University, Thailand and AGH University of Science and Technology, Poland

Number of reviewed publications, incl. submitted manuscripts: 2

Number of other publications and reports: 8

Number of thesis: Doctoral 1 (under preparation), Master 3, Bachelor 2

Need and motivation of the project:
The aim of this project was to study a potential of adsorption technology in the treatment of wastewaters of mining activities. The main target was to find low-cost adsorption materials that are suitable for this application and improve the efficiency of the water treatment with low-cost. Most importantly, the project seeked to establish tight collaboration between different industries by following the idea that another one can utilize the waste of one party. This is one of the key ideas in the creation of industrial ecosystems and relates strongly to the principles of Green Chemistry.

Main set targets:

In the research point of view the main objective are:

  • To utilize low-cost adsorption materials such as byproducts of steel making industry, agricultural and wood industry wastes, waste rock from mining industry, mineral mixtures (silica-calcite), zeolites and other natural minerals, chitosan, and silica gel in the remediation of metals and anions from mining wastewaters
  • To test different modification techniques (novel oxidation methods, etc.) to improve stability and adsorption performance of the above mentioned adsorbents
  • To enhance regeneration of adsorbents
  • To minimize wash liquor consumption in adsorbent regeneration
  • To optimize adsorbent material properties (e.g. particle size distribution, grinding of side-stones)

In mining and processing industries, the neutralization and metal ions removal from acid mine drainage are necessary. To minimize process water consumption and to enhance circulation of process waters, water treatment, removal of anions, metal ions and radioactive substances are required. On the other hand, amount of mining solid wastes produced annually is about 60-70 billion tones.

The industrial partners provided the most important ecological challenges for nowadays mining industries. Objectives were formulated for LGC and LST as follows:

  • To study the solid industrial wastes as adsorbents for process- and wastewater treatment (well mixed suspension tests based on stirred flask experiments, fixed bed experiments)
  • To study pretreatment of side-stones with potential adsorbents
  • To consider the possibility of using these adsorbents without/or with minimum modification for:
    • Wastewater treatment from arsenic and cyanides,
    • AMD treatment and metal ions (Fe, Cu, Ni, Zn) removal from real wastewater
    • Mine process water treatment from cations (SO4, Cl, NH4).

The objective of the project was to find cheaper methods for mining wastewater treatment. Optimize the mine-industries water treatment by increasing the purification efficiency while decreasing its cost. Mining and ore processing industries are our future users.


Key results

There are adsorbents which have many benefits for users:

  • reuse of solid wastes
  • low-cost method for waste and process water treatment
  • neutralization of effluents
  • saving energy and facilities

However, storage and utilization of solid wastes before its reuse is an open issue.

Several of the studied adsorbents could be used for waste- and process water treatment. For example:

  • FF and FS from Nordkalk for AMD treatment
  • RH from Ekokem for arsenic removal
  • DI-60 from Metsä Tissue for process water treatment from anions
  • CaFe-Cake and SuFe from Norilsk Nickel for cyanide removal


Commercialization measures and/or potential:

For particular industrial application of these adsorbents, further experiments to confirm of selected adsorption parameters, properties of adsorbents and preparation of granules from powder adsorbents are required. The granulation allows provide a suitable material for wastewater treatment by passive and columns methods.



  • Jenni Tervaportti, Kaivannaisteollisuuden vedenkäsittelyn tarpeet, 2014, LUT


  • Eduard Musin, Adsorption Modeling, 2013, MAMK
  • Aleksandr Murzin, Adsorption modeling for As(III) and As(V) removal from synthetic wastewater by low-cost adsorbents, 2015, MAMK

Master Theses

  • Maria Nikitenko, Treatment of Ni-containing acidic mine waters with calcite side-stones, 2013, LUT
  • Ghali El Oumari, Treatment of Fe-containing acid mine wasters in fixed bed adsorption column with calcite side-stone, 2014, LUT
  • Heini Rytkönen, Adsorption of arsenic from ammonia containing waste water by ferrous hydroxide waste, 2015, LUT