Mercury Flows in a Zinc Smelting Facility in South Korea
Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management
To prepare for the international mercury convention, the characteristics of mercury emissions from a zinc smelting facility in South Korea have been reviewed and a material flow analysis (MFA) has been conducted in this research. As inputs into the mercury MFA study, zinc ores and sulfuric acid were examined, whereas wastewater sludge, effluence water, spent catalyst, and emissions from the casting and roasting processes were examined as outputs. Mercury concentrations extracted from end products like zinc ingots, cadmium ingots, and sulfuric acid were then analyzed. Our results showed that the wastewater sludge discharged from the zinc smelting process had a relatively higher concentration of mercury, indicating that the concentration of mercury was further enriched in the wastewater sludge. The wastes discharged through the zinc smelting process should be thoroughly controlled, as results of the MFA showed that approximately 89 % of the mercury contained in the original input was later found in the waste. According to this study, the higher the concentration of mercury within zinc ores at the input stage, the higher is the mercury concentration found in the wastewater sludge at the output stage.