Removal of nitrogen compounds from mine process water using redox barriers

Open pit mining with drilling and blasting results in formation of quarry water and drainage water impure with inorganic nitrogen compounds (ions of ammonium, nitrite and nitrate) which are the products of decomposition and incomplete consumption of explosives made of ammonium nitrate. Discharge of quarry effluents in open water bodies results in eutrophication of water, triggers active development of microflora, stimulates anaerobic processes in beds and intensifies accumulation of decay products of organic substances, such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, which leads to ruin of organic organisms and to deprivation of their recreational functionality. Abatement of the impact exerted by mine effluents on surface and ground water requires purification technologies and methods to be selected with regard to heavy tonnage of effluents and to low content of organic compounds in them. Treatment of effluent requires development of efficient, economical and feasible technologies based on physicochemical cleaning procedures. One of such approaches is creation of artificial geochemical redox barriers. This article describes research findings on application of galvanocoagulation in manmade permeable barriers containing a galvanic couple composed of broken iron and carbon materials to remove nitrate ions from mine water. It is found that zerovalent iron and ions Fe (II) formed in electrochemical interaction of the galvanic couple are capable to recover nitrate ions and to ensure water purification to 99%. The article also gives data on application of peat for removal of ammonium ions NH+ from effluents. Efficiency of the permeable reactive barrier in combination with natural mechanisms in reduction of content of nitrogen compounds in effluents of mining and processing plants is demonstrated. The method developed for removal of nitrogen compounds from open mine effluents involves construction of a reactive barrier (sorption trench) filled with broken iron, carbon materials and sand for removal of nitrogen ions from effluents, and arrangement of peat sites for fine purification of effluents from ions NH+ .

Keywords: open pit mine water, nitrogen compounds, permeable reactive barrier, galvanic couple, zerovalent iron, peat, reduction of nitrates.
For citation:

Glushankova I. S., Bessonova E. N., Blinov S. M., Rudakova L. V., Belkin P. A. Removal of nitrogen compounds from mine process water using redox barriers. MIAB. Mining Inf. Anal. Bull. 2021;(10):58-68. [In Russ]. DOI: 10.25018/0236_1493_2021_10_0_58.


The research was supported by the Perm Research and Education Centre for Rational Use of Subsoil, 2021.

Issue number: 10
Year: 2021
Page number: 58-68
ISBN: 0236-1493
UDK: 504.4.054+628.349.08+628.345.9
DOI: 10.25018/0236_1493_2021_10_0_58
Article receipt date: 15.01.2021
Date of review receipt: 01.03.2021
Date of the editorial board′s decision on the article′s publishing: 10.09.2021
About authors:

I.S. Glushankova1, Dr. Sci. (Eng.), Professor,
E.N. Bessonova1, Engineer, e-mail:,
S.M. Blinov2, Cand. Sci. (Geol. Mineral.), Assistant Professor, Head of Laboratory,
L.V. Rudakova1, Dr. Sci. (Eng.), Professor, Head of Chair,
P.A. Belkin2, Cand. Sci. (Geol. Mineral.), Researcher,
1 Perm National Research Polytechnic University, Perm, Russia,
2 Perm State University, Perm, Russia.


For contacts:

E.N. Bessonova, e-mail:


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