ISSN 1062-7391, Journal of Mining Science, 2017, Vol. 53, No. 5, pp. 915–924. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2017.
Original Russian Text © O.V. Eremin, E.S. Epova, R.A. Filenko, O.S. Rusal’, V.A. Bychinsky, 2017, published in Fiziko-Tekhnicheskie Problemy Razrabotki
Poleznykh Iskopaemykh, 2017, No. 5, pp. 131–140.
__________________________________ MINERAL _________________________________
Use of Zeolite Rocks in Metal Recovery
from Mine Water
O. V. Eremin
*, E. S. Epova
, R. A. Filenko
, O. S. Rusal’
and V. A. Bychinsky
Institute of Natural Resources, Ecology and Cryology, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Chita, 672002 Russia
Vinogradov Institute of Geochemistry, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Irkutsk, 664033 Russia
Received April 27, 2017
Abstract—Mine water at some mineral deposits in Transbaikalia contains valued metals commercially
recoverable from solutions using zeolite rocks. Experimental impregnation of metal-bearing mine water
from Sherlovaya Gora and Bom-Gorphon areas with sodium and ammonium kinds of clinoptilolite rocks
from shivyrtuin deposit has been carried out. In the laboratory conditions, metals adsorbed by zeolite rocks
are extracted by means of displacement by concentrated ammonium salts with further calcinations of the
filtrate up to 500
°С. The metal content of the obtained cakes is conditioned by metal concentrations in
solutions, by methods of impregnation and by the eluents applied. Saturation of ammonium types of
zeolites with mine water solutions from the Sherlovaya Gora lake and further extraction of adsorbed
metals by ammonium acetate yields the recovery of lantanoids of 73%. The obtained results, considering
multiple recycling of the sorbent, can be used in development of an efficient technology for extraction of
rare earth elements from mine solutions.
Keywords: Metal-bearing mine solutions, zeolite rocks, ammonium salts, metal extraction.
The ever-growing commercial demand for valuable metals makes the grounds to search for
economic processes for their production from technogenic materials, namely, metal-bearing mine
water, mine wastes, metallurgical wastes, etc., by using natural zeolites [1–3]. Zeolites exhibit strong
sorption and ion-exchange properties, amenability to modification  and regeneration , and these
properties appreciably expand the scope of zeolite applications.
More than 300-years mining activity in Transbaikalia influences the local environment, as most
water objects in industrial zones are distinguished for higher concentrations of dissolved metals and
metalloids [6, 7]. For example, the quarry lake at Sherlovaya Gora complex tin deposit contains
approximately 2 t of mostly heavy lanthanides and yttrium ; the settling ponds at Bom-Gorkhon
tungsten deposit contain light lanthanides and actinoides at concentrations of few grams per a liter .
Metal-bearing mine water can be considered both as ecologically hazardous for environment and as a
potential liquid ore, bearing a wide range of valuable chemical elements. The development of the
efficient processes for recovery of valuables could settle the challenges on comprehensive processing of
mineral resources and utilization of mining wastes.
The present research is aimed at testing the experimental metal recovery from mine solutions by
using modified zeolite-bearing rocks.