Electrodialytic removal of tungsten and arsenic from secondary mine resources – Deep eutectic solvents enhancement

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Tungsten is a critical raw material for European and U.S. economies. Tungsten mine residues, usually considered an environmental burden due to e.g. arsenic content, are also secondary tungsten resources. The electrodialytic (ED) process and deep eutectic solvents (DES) have been successfully and independently applied for the extraction of metals from different complex environmental matrices. In this study a proof of concept demonstrates that coupling DES in a two-compartment ED set-up enhances the removal and separation of arsenic and tungsten from Panasqueira mine secondary resources. Choline chloride with malonic acid (1:2), and choline chloride with oxalic acid (1:1) were the DES that in batch extracted the average maximum contents of arsenic (16%) and tungsten (9%) from the residues. However, when ED was operated at a current intensity of 100 mA for 4 days, the extraction yields increased 22% for arsenic and 11% for tungsten, comparing to the tests with no current. From the total arsenic and tungsten extracted, 82% and 77% respectively were successfully removed from the matrix compartment, as they electromigrated to the anolyte compartment, from where these elements can be further separated. This achievement potentiates circular economy, as the final treated residue could be incorporated in construction materials production, mitigating current environmental problems in both mining and construction sectors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number136364
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2020


  • Critical raw material
  • Harmful compound
  • Secondary resource
  • Electro-based technology
  • Choline chloride/malonic acid
  • Choline chloride/oxalic acid


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