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Valorisation of Partially Oxidized Tailings in a Cover System to Reclaim an Old Acid Generating Mine Site

Gabrielle Dublet-Adli, Thomas Pabst, Gudny Okkenhaug, Christian Sætre, Anna Vårheim, Mari Tvedten, Samuel Gelena, Andreas Smebye, Marianne Kvennås and Gijs Breedveld

Article (2021)

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Abstract

The reclamation of acid-generating mine tailings typically involves building cover systems to limit interactions with water or oxygen. The choice of cover materials is critical to ensure long-term performance, and partly determines the environmental footprint of the reclamation strategy. The objective of this research was to evaluate if tailings pre-oxidized on-site could be used in cover systems. Column experiments were performed to assess the effectiveness of a cover with capillary barrier effects (CCBE), where the moisture retention layer (MRL) was made of pre-oxidized tailings with little to no remaining sulfides (LS tailings). The columns were submitted to regular wetting and drying cycles, and their hydrological and geochemical behaviour was monitored for 510 days. The LS tailings showed satisfying hydrological properties as an MRL and remained saturated throughout the test. The concentrations of Cu in the drainage decreased by more than two orders of magnitude compared to non-covered tailings. In addition, the pH increased by nearly one unit compared to the control column, and Fe and S concentrations decreased by around 50%. Despite these improvements, the leachate water remained acidic and contaminated, indicating that acid drainage continued to be generated despite a hydrologically efficient CCBE.

Uncontrolled Keywords

mine tailings; sulfides; acid mine drainage; oxidation; reclamation; cover with capillary barrier effects; sustainability

Subjects: 1400 Mining and mineral processing > 1400 Mining and mineral processing
Department: Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering
Funders: Norwegian Directorate of Mining - project 20140321 Folldal gruver, Research Council of Norway, Norwegian Geotechnical Institute - Research Council of Norway and internal funds - research projects GBV20160117 and SP12
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/9415/
Journal Title: Minerals (vol. 11, no. 9)
Publisher: MDPI
DOI: 10.3390/min11090987
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/min11090987
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2022 15:43
Last Modified: 12 May 2023 04:42
Cite in APA 7: Dublet-Adli, G., Pabst, T., Okkenhaug, G., Sætre, C., Vårheim, A., Tvedten, M., Gelena, S., Smebye, A., Kvennås, M., & Breedveld, G. (2021). Valorisation of Partially Oxidized Tailings in a Cover System to Reclaim an Old Acid Generating Mine Site. Minerals, 11(9), 987 (20 pages). https://doi.org/10.3390/min11090987

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