UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Geochemical Controls on Uranium Release from Neutral-pH Rock Drainage Produced by Weathering of Granite, Gneiss, and Schist Skierszkan, Elliott Karl; Dockrey, John W.; Mayer, K. Ulrich; Bondici, Viorica F.; McBeth, Joyce M.; Beckie, Roger D.

Abstract

We investigated geochemical processes controlling uranium release in neutral-pH (pH ≥ 6) rock drainage (NRD) at a prospective gold deposit hosted in granite, schist, and gneiss. Although uranium is not an economic target at this deposit, it is present in the host rock at a median abundance of 3.7 µg/g, i.e., above the average uranium content of the Earth’s crust. Field bin and column waste-rock weathering experiments using gneiss and schist mine waste rock produced circumneutral-pH (7.6 to 8.4) and high-alkalinity (41 to 499 mg/L as CaCO₃) drainage, while granite produced drainage with lower pH (pH 4.7 to >8) and lower alkalinity (

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