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Geoenvironmental Characterisation of Heap Leach Materials at Abandoned Mines: Croydon Au-Mines, QLD, Australia


Parbhakar-Fox, A, Geoenvironmental Characterisation of Heap Leach Materials at Abandoned Mines: Croydon Au-Mines, QLD, Australia, Minerals, 6, (2) Article 52. ISSN 2075-163X (2016) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2016 the author Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.3390/min6020052


Heap leaching is a well-established metallurgical technology which allows metal recovery (e.g., Au, Cu, U) from low-grade ores. However, spent heap leach materials remaining at abandoned or historic mine sites may represent a potential source of contamination. At the Croydon Au-mines, heap leaching operations (19841985) were performed on mineralized rhyolites hosting sulphides including pyrite, galena, arsenopyrite and minor sphalerite. Characterization of spent heap leach materials (n = 14) was performed using established geochemical and mineralogical techniques, supplemented by automated mineralogical evaluations. Whilst these materials contained low sulphide-sulphur (0.08 to 0.41 wt %) and returned innocuous paste pH values (pH 5.1 to 8.6), they were classified uncertain by net acid producing potential/net acid generating criteria. This was likely due to the reaction of secondary mineral phases (i.e., beudantite, hidalgoite, kintoreite and Fe-As-Pb oxides) during these tests. It is hypothesised that during heap leaching, gangue sulphides have differentially reacted with the cyanide lixiviant, pre-conditioning the formation of these complex secondary phases during surficial oxidation, after heap leaching termination. These materials are considered to represent a moderate geoenvironmental risk as dissolved Pb in basal leachates is in excess of the World Health Organization (WHO 2006) guideline values. Considering this, these materials should be included in ongoing rehabilitation works at the site.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:mine waste, AMD, heap leach, cyanide leaching, hydrometallurgy
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geochemistry
Research Field:Exploration geochemistry
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Evaluation, allocation, and impacts of land use
UTAS Author:Parbhakar-Fox, A (Dr Anita Parbhakar-Fox)
ID Code:109199
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:CODES ARC
Deposited On:2016-06-01
Last Modified:2017-11-02
Downloads:202 View Download Statistics

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