University of South Africa
Overview of innovation

The invention relates to the use of maghemite nanoparticles at pH less than 5 to remove sulphate, manganese, copper, nickel, cobalt and zinc metal ions from acid mine drainage (AMD). In conventional AMD treatment, these pollutants are only removed at higher pH, and that requires costly alkaline chemicals. The pH is extremely low and, to effectively achieve the complete removal of the pollutants, method optimization is required. Relative to the conventional way of treatment, adsorption is highly convenient, cost-effective and considered to be a noble process. For this invention, a combination of adsorption and precipitation processes has been employed to achieve high metal and sulphate removal. Overall, the employed method makes use of fewer chemicals to remediate AMD pollution under cost-effective scenarios, while the possibility exists to over valuable resources from AMD.  

Type of Intellectual Property protection
Innovation Opportunity Type
​Mining and quarrying
Technology Readiness Level
TRL 6 – Prototype tested in real-world settings