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An Alternative and Environmentally Friendly Method in Metals Recovery from E-Wastes: Biohydrometallurgy

... Although bioleaching processes are particularly suitable for the treatment of low-grade materials and small scale applications, they suffer from long residence time for metal extraction, low pulp density (i.e. <20%) and metal toxicity (Deveci et al., 2003;Ilyas et al., 2010;Ciftci and Akcil, 2010). Bioleaching of metals from e-wastes is often performed using iron oxidizing strains of acidophilic bacteria (Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and Leptospirillum ferrooxidans), which readily oxidize ferrous iron (Fe 2+ ) to generate ferric iron (Fe 3+ ) (Eq. (9)). ...
a b s t r a c t Waste of electric–electronic equipment (WEEE) with an annual growth rate of about 3–5% is the fastest growing waste stream in municipal wastes. Notwithstanding their environmental pollution potential, waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) with their high content of base and precious metals, in particular, are regarded as a potential secondary resource when compared with ores. For the recovery of metals from WEEE, various treatment options based on conventional physical, hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical processes are available. These process options with particular reference to hydromet-allurgical processes were reviewed in this study. With their relatively low capital cost, reduced environ-mental impact (e.g. no hazardous gases/dusts), potential for high metal recoveries and suitability for small scale applications, hydrometallurgical processes are promising options for the treatment of WEEE. Since the metals are present in native form and/or as alloys, an oxidative leaching process is required for the effective extraction of base and precious metals of interest. A two-stage process based on oxidative acid leaching of base metals (Cu in particular) followed by leaching of precious metals using cyanide, thiosulfate, thiourea or halide as lixiviant(s) can be suitably developed for the hydrometallurgical treat-ment of WEEE. However, further research is required to develop new, cost effective and environmentally friendly processes and/or refine existing ones for leaching and, in particular, downstream processes.
Gold is one of most important sources of currency entry in the economics of any state. Besides mining raw materials, fit for effective gold extraction, residues of gold extraction factories are the source of this precious metal. Moreover, the role of industrial wastes, which has a rich source of non-ferrous and noble metals, increases. Processing expediency of complicated wastes is determined by their harmful ecological influence on the environment. Involving to processing of gold the enumerated sources demands the use of high leading technologies, taking into account the variety of their composition. One of the ways of increasing effectiveness of processing the gold-containing materials may be introduction of direct hydrometallurgy processes. Hydrometallurgical methods of processing differ in low power capacity, simplicity of implement process, decreasing pollution of the environment. It is necessary for this not only to sort out selective solvents, but also to elaborate methods of regeneration and recycling of the used solutions and solvents. At present leaching of gold-containing raw materials by cyanide is the main hydrometallurgical process and the main advantage of cyanide is high selectivity with regard to gold. However, leaching by cyanide solutions has a set of substantial drawbacks: process duration, high cost of the reagent, non-adaptability of “stubborn” ores and concentrates, absence of possible regeneration of cyanide solutions and the main thing is high toxicity of cyanide compounds. Therefore elaboration of new hydrometallurgical methods of extracting gold using selective non-toxic reagents, in particular, iodine solutions is important scientific and practical task.
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