IORR – Iron Oxide Resource Recovery

EPCAMR believes Iron Oxide Resource Recovery (IORR) is the link to long-term AMD treatment.

For the past 10 years in Pennsylvania, there have been studies looking at the potential to recover precious metals from Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) and find a market for them. Iron is one of the metals found in abundance in most AMD in PA.

Want to know more about Oxide Resource Recovery? Please see this brochure.

There are many uses for Iron in the United States and world wide. The current market for low-grade Iron oxide in the U.S. is approximately 175,000 tons per year (1995 estimate; Hedin Environmental SBIR), while the current world market for a similar grade product is approximately 850,000 tons per year.

The typical revenue from this quality of material is approximately $0.10 – 0.75/lb (Hoover Color; Bayferrox Corp). Higher value “specialty” Iron oxide products are typically used in the animal vitamin supplement or cosmetics markets and have a higher associated economic value, as much as $3.00 – 4.00/lb.

Groups in Western Pennsylvania, such as Hedin Environmental, have already begun recovering Iron oxide sediments in bulk from several treatment sites and marketing the product for sale.


Here in Eastern Pennsylvania, IORR has not yet begun at the mass level of Hedin Environmental. However, EPCAMR harvests Iron oxide at a smaller scale. We recover and process small amounts of Iron oxide for educational purposes and local artists. If you are interested in purchasing Iron oxide pigment or any of the products EPCAMR produces with Iron oxide, please visit our Online Store.

EPCAMR began an inventory study of the abandoned mine discharges to determine what type of Iron oxide is produced, an estimate of how much Iron oxide is currently there, and an estimate of how much may accumulate in the future. There are several proposals currently being evaluated to extract Iron oxide in Eastern Pennsylvania at a level close to that of Hedin Environmental.


Want to know more? Read about the EPCAMR Sludge Sampling Project or our project titled From PA’s Northeast to the Middle East: Abandoned Mine Drainage, Environmental Art, and Global Water Resources.

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