From Mud to Bud – Recovering Bosnian Forgotten Iron

Gotovac, S. – Public Health Institute, Banja Luka


The iron mines along Bosnia and Herzegovina are still using quite out-of-date technologies in which a lot of apparent mullock is generated. Possibly useful iron in this mass seems lost, usually accumulated at the bottom of the artificial lakes or, even worse, released into the rivers. In the present study, an iron mine sludge was sampled, digested by acids and significant quantities of iron oxide-hydroxide was recovered proving that indeed large quantities of iron are wasted with these technologies. Moreover, the recovered iron was transformed into an ionic solution, from which, by means of microemulsion method, iron nanoparticles were precipitated. Obtained samples show rich, highly-nanoporous structures which give potential for further research especially in the area of catalysis. Iron is a material of high interest for 21st century catalysis technologies as a “green catalyst”-nontoxic, cheap and much more sustainable than precious metal ones. Iron nanoparticles were obtained relying only on waste iron from
the iron mine waste water and the progress of these experiments will be presented on the cases of Bosnian largest iron mine. Even without changing the mining technology, the waste water could probably be used as a resource for production of useful nanoparticles, and in this way the negative impact on the nature surrounding the mine reduced significantly.

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