Document Type : Review Paper


1 School of Mining engineering, Colledge of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Mine Environment and Hydrogeology Research Laboratory (MEHR lab), University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

3 Soil Chemistry. Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran

4 Research and Development Branch, Miduk Cooper Mine, National Iranian Copper Industries Company, Shahrebabak, Iran


Copper smelting and refinery factories are the final stages of a pyrometallurgical processing chain, and they cause many environmental challenges around the world. One of the most common environmental problems of these factories is toxic emissions. These toxic gases have harmful effects on the vegetation, animal species, soils, and water resources around the factories. Phytoremediation can play an important role in the reduction of the adverse effects of environmental pollutions arising from copper smelting and refinery factories. In this paper, we first discuss different types of pollutions caused by copper metallurgical factories, and present the main research approaches and studies conducted on these factories. In the second part, we provide a summary and comparison of different remediation technologies used to reduce the environmental pollutions of these factories. Besides, the advantages and disadvantages of each method is also investigated. In the third part, we review the different aspects of the phytoremediation including the effective mechanisms, different types of plants, application environments, and the effective factors. The next part includes the selection of suitable plants for the phytoremediation process applied for copper metallurgical factories and investigation of the native and cultivated hyperaccumulator plants. In addition, different efficiency indices are introduced for evaluating the phytoremediation efficiency and selecting an appropriate hyperaccumulator plant. At the final stage, some appropriate plant species for various types of phytoremediation are introduced. The effects of different environmental stresses and the possibilities of integrating phytoremediation with other remediation technologies as well as the advantages and disadvantages of phytoremediation are eventually investigated.


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