Thorough examination of the physicochemical characteristics of a Ti-processing residue was undertaken, including mineralogical, geochemical, and radiochemical characterization, and an investigation of the environmental toxicity of soft-water leachate generated from the residue. Concentrations of most metals measured in the leachate were low; thus, the residue is unlikely to leach high levels of potentially toxic elements on exposure to low-ionic strength natural waters. Relative to stringent ecosystem health-based guidelines, only chromium concentrations in the leachate exceeded guideline concentrations for 95% species protection; however, sulfate was present at concentrations known to cause toxicity. It is likely that the high concentration of calcium and extreme water hardness of the leachate reduced the bioavailability of some elements. Geochemical modeling of the leachate indicated that calcium and sulfate concentrations were largely controlled by gypsum mineral dissolution. The leachate was not toxic to the microalga Chlorella sp., the cladoceran Ceriodaphnia dubia, or the estuarine bacterium Vibrio fischeri. The Ti-processing residue exhibited an absorbed dose rate of 186 nGy/h, equivalent to an annual dose of 1.63 mGy and an annual effective dose of 0.326 mGy. In summary, the results indicate that the Ti-processing residue examined is suitable for productive use as an environmental amendment following 10 to 100 times dilution to ameliorate potential toxic effects due to chromium or sulfate.
- Ilmenite by-product
- Productive use