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Survey of sulphates in process water of LKAB - Kiruna operation
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Sustainable Process Engineering. Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Minerals and Metallurgical Engineering.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 300 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Kartläggning av sulfat i LKAB:s processvattensystem - Kiruna (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Sulphate-rich wastewater is an increasing concern for industries as LKAB. The water chemistry of the LKAB Kiruna water system is characterized by high alkalinity, high pH (pH 7.5-9.0) and high concentrations of chemical species and soluble minerals. The sulphate content in the water system of Kiruna is associated with the dissolution of calcium sulphate as anhydrite (CaSO4) and gypsum (CaSO4 2H2O). However, the high concentrations of sulphate in the effluents from the LKAB Kiruna operation are unique for iron ore mining. 

 

The aim of the thesis was to study and evaluate the behavior of sulphate in the process water system of the Kiruna concentrator plants. This was done by laboratory grinding (leaching tests), equilibrium calculations with the HSC software and mass balancing of the concentrator KA3 in Kiruna. The highest concentrations of sulphate have been detected in the process water of KA3, hence the focus has been on KA3 regarding sampling, evaluation and comparison. Water treatment technologies for sulphate and the effect of process water on ore processing have not been included in this project.

 

The laboratory grinding was done using process water and ore from the concentrator KA3. During the experimental work with laboratory grinding the parameters pH, temperature and operating times for primary- and secondary grinding, respectively, were varied. The observations from the experimental work were further confirmed by equilibrium calculations and mass balancing. The following conclusions were drawn.  

 

  • Anhydrite/gypsum is not leached from the ore during ore processing with process water having concentrations of sulphate already close to the saturation point at approximately 1800 mg/L. If the process water is diluted with water with lower sulphate content, e.g. mine water or a diluted return water from the pond system (e.g. during spring flood), anhydrite/gypsum in ore will be dissolved until the sulphate concentration reaches the saturation point.

  • The ionic strength of the process water controls the saturation point and thus the sulphate concentration.

  • Leaching of anhydrite/gypsum in saturated process water, with respect to sulphate, is not affected by grinding time or adjusted conditions in the process water, such as temperature or pH value. 

 

For further work, it is recommended to investigate the behavior of sulphate in the tailings pond system to increase knowledge of the overall behavior in the water system. In addition, a similar investigation of the behavior of uranium in the process water is recommended in order to face future environmental standards.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Sulphate, iron ore mine, process water, anhydrite, laboratory grinding, equilibrium calculations, mass balance
National Category
Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-76411OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-76411DiVA, id: diva2:1361597
External cooperation
LKAB
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Sustainable Process Engineering, master's level
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-10-22 Created: 2019-10-16 Last updated: 2019-10-22Bibliographically approved

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3839404142434441 of 68
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