Adsorbing colloid flotation for removal of metal ions in waters from base metal mines

H. Sabti, R. R. Brooks, R. B. Stewart, Monwar Hossain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Adsorbing Colloid Flotation (ACF) has been shown in laboratory experiments to be effective for the removal of heavy metals (Zn, Cu, Cd and Pb) from dilute solutions. Sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) and sodium oleate (NaOl) were used as surfactants in single or mixed form, with Fe(OH)3as a flocculant for colloid formation. These reagents worked best for zinc and copper ions for a feed concentration of 50 parts per million (ppm). The removal of lead improved significantly by the use of Fe(OH)3and NaLS (Sodium lauryl sulphate), while the best removal of cadmium was achieved by the use of Al(OH)3and HTMABr (hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide). Flotation experiments were conducted with feed concentrations of 50 and 500 parts per billion (ppb) and 50 ppm (parts per million). The experimental results showed that the residual concentration of metal ions decreased significantly with the decrease in the feed concentration. This could be the effect of excessive (much more than stoichiometric ratio) amounts of surfactant and flocculant, compared to the feed concentrations, required in the effective flotation of dilute feed solutions. The surfactant concentration and feed pH had the largest effects on the process, as observed in the case of cadmium removal. This can be attributed to the floc formation and flotation tendencies of the colloid-metal complexes at various solution pH and surfactant concentrations. The ACF method was applied to a number of natural drainage solutions from the metal mines at Te Aroba, New Zealand, and the experimental results demonstrate that significant removal is achieved for most of the heavy metals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Progress
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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