Document Type: Original Research Paper


1 Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science, University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

2 Department of Mineralogy, Faculty of Mining, Geology and Civil Engineering, University of Tuzla, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina

3 Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

4 Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

5 Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science, University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Oxidation of sulfide-containing ores is the main cause of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), which is an environmental problem associated with both the abandoned and active mines. Iron-bearing sulfide minerals can be oxidized and form mine waters with high sulfate content, low pH, high electrical conductivity, high redox potential, and high concentrations of iron, aluminum, and other heavy metals. In the process of AMD, precipitation of poorly crystalized oxy-hydroxides of iron with a large active surface can occur. On the surface of iron oxy-hydroxide, the precipitated particulate matter, anions, and cations (metals) could be adsorbed. Mine waters can contain a certain amount of precious metals that can also be adsorbed onto an iron particulate matter surface, which is investigated in this research work. In this work, the samples of iron oxy-hydroxide particulate matter at abandoned gold mine waste in Bakovići (Central Bosnia and Herzegovina) are used. Several parameters including pH, water content, particle size distribution, sulfate content, electrical conductivity, redox potential, and amounts of gold, silver, and iron are measured on the selected mine waste samples. The results obtained indicate that significant amounts of gold (average: 6.8 mg/kg) and silver (average: 7.13 mg/kg) are present in the iron precipitate. Adsorption of precious metals onto the iron oxy-hydroxide surface is strongly pH-dependent. At a very low pH value, desorption of precious metals is favorite. Thus, precious metals are only partially adsorbed onto the iron oxy-hydroxide surface.


Main Subjects

[1]. Akcil, A. and Koldas, S. (2006). Acid mine drainage (AMD): causes, treatment and case studies, Journal of Cleaner Environment. 14: 1139 – 1145.

[2]. Cosani, S., Ianni, M.C., Dinelli, E., Capello, M., Cotroneo, L. and Carbone, C. (2018). Assessment of metal distribution in different Fe precipitates related to Acid Mine Drainage through two sequential extraction procedures, Journal of Geochemical Exploration196, 247 – 258.

[3]. Paul, R., Holmes., Frank, K. and Crudwell, K. (2000). Geochimica and Chosmochimica Acta, 64, 263.

[4]. Oelofse, S.H.H, Hobbs, P.J., Rascher, J. and Cobbing Csir, J.E., (2007). The pollution and destruction threat of gold mining waste on the Witwatersrand – A West Rand case study, Natural Resoruces and Envirobnment, 617 – 626.

[5]. Zänker, H., Moll, H., Richter, W., Brendler, V., Hening, C., Reich, T., Kuluge, A. and Hitting, G (2002) The colloid chemistry of acid rock drainage solution from abandoned Zn-Pb-Ag mine. Applied Geochemistry, 17: 633-648.

[6]. Kim, J.J. and Kim, S.J. (2004) Seasonal factors controlling mineral precipitation in the acid at Donghae coal mine, Korea, Science of Total Environment, 325: 181 – 191.

[7]. Lee, J.S., Chon, H.T. (2006). Hydrogeochemical characteristics of acid mine drainage in the vicinity of an abandoned mine , Daduk Creek, Korea, Journal of Geochemical Exploration. 88: 37 – 40.

[8]. Lottermoser, B.G. (2007). Mine wastes – Characterization, Treatment, Environmental Impact, Springer

[9]. Smith, S.K. (1999). Metal sorption on mineral surfaces: an overview with examples relating to mineral deposits, The Environmental Geochemuistry of Mineral Deposits, 7: 161-172.

[10]. Cornell, R.M. and Schwertmann, U. (2003). The iron oxides. Second Edition, Wiley

[11]. Tiberg, C. (2016). Metal sorption to ferrihydrite, doctoral thesis, Uppsala.

[12]. Falagán C., Grail, B.M. and Johnson, D.B. (2016). New aproaches for extracting and recovering metals from mine tailings, Minerals Engineering. 106: 71-78.

[13]. Jurković, I. (1995). Bakovici the biggest gold deposit of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rudarsko-geološko - naftni zbornik, vol. 7, 1 – 15.

[14]. Langmuir, D. (1997). Aqueous environmental geochemistry, Prentice Hall, Upper Sadlle River

[15]. Jurković, J., Muhić – Šarac, T., Kolar, M. (2014). Chemical Characterization of acid mine drainage from an abandoned gold mine site, Chemicke Listy, 108 165 – 170.

[16]. España, J.S. (2007). The behvior of iron and aluminium in acid mine drainage: speciation, mineralogy, and environmental significance, Thermodinamics, Solubility and Environmental Issues, 137 – 150.

[17]. Precejus, B. (2014). Hydroxides and Oxidic Hydrates, Water-bearing Oxides with Layered Structure, The Ore Minerals Under the Microscope. Second edition 870-897.

[18]. Cerón, J.C., Grande, J.A., de la Torre, M.L., Borrego, J., Santisteban, M. and Valente, M. (2014). Hydrochemical characterization of an acid mine drainage-affected water reservoir: The Sancho Dam (Huelva, SW Spain). 59 (6): 1213-1224.

[19]. Equeenuddin, S.M., Tripathy, S., Sahoo, P.K. and Panigrahi, M.K. (2013). Metal behavior in sediment asswociated with acid mine drainage stream: Role of pH, Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 124, 230-237.

[20]. Williams-Jones, A.E., Bowell, L.R. and Migdisov, A.A. (2009). Gold in solution, Elements, 5: 281-287.

[21]. Karapinar, N. (2016). Removal of Heavy Metal Ions by Ferrihydrite: an Opportunity to the Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage, Water, Air, Soil Pollut, Springer, 227: 193, 1-8.