British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Flooding of oxidized waste rock amended with alkaline by-products Bäckström, Mattias; Domeij, Joel; Sartz, Lotta


Leaching of trace elements (Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn) from oxidized waste rock amended with different alkaline by-products was studied during flooding. It has been argued that water covers for oxidized waste would significantly increase leaching through reductive dissolution of the pre-formed hydrous ferric oxides and the associated trace elements. After approximately three weeks pH in the reference had reached 2.5 and 3.3 in the pore and overlying water, respectively. This can be compared with pH from 6.1 (water works granules) to above 10 (lime kiln dust) in the amended systems. It is clear that the carbonate dominated alkaline by-products have lower pH than the oxide/hydroxide based by-products. However, the systems amended with carbonate based by-products have significantly higher alkalinity. Cadmium, Cu, Pb and Zn concentrations within the waste decreased with at least 99% compared to the reference. In most systems the surface waters can even be used as drinking water. Cadmium, copper and zinc concentrations are clearly related to pH with decreasing concentrations with increasing pH. Lead concentrations, on the other hand, decrease to pH 8, where the concentrations start to increase slightly again due to the formation of soluble Pb(OH)₃⁻ and Pb(OH)₄²⁻ species. The results indicate that flooding of oxidized waste rock amended with alkaline by-products can be used as a successful remediation technique.

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