Forecasting geoenvironmental risks: Integrated applications of mineralogical and chemical data
Parbhakar-Fox, A and Fox, N and Jackson, L and Cornelius, R, Forecasting geoenvironmental risks: Integrated applications of mineralogical and chemical data, Minerals, 8, (12) Article 541. ISSN 2075-163X (2018) [Refereed Article]
Management of solid mine wastes requires detailed material characterisation at the start of a project to minimize opportunities for the generation of acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD). Mine planning must focus on obtaining a thorough understanding of the environmental properties of the future waste rock materials. Using drill core obtained from a porphyry Cu project in Northern Europe, this study demonstrates the integrated application of mineralogical and geochemical data to enable the construction of enviro-geometallurgical models. Geoenvironmental core logging, static chemical testing, bulk-and hyperspectral mineralogical techniques, and calculated mineralogy from assay techniques were used to critically evaluate the potential for AMD formation. These techniques provide value-adding opportunities to existing datasets and provide robust cross-validation methods for each technique. A new geoenvironmental logging code and a new geoenvironmental index using hyperspectral mineralogical data (Hy-GI) were developed and embedded into the geochemistry-mineralogy-texture-geometallurgy (GMTG) approach for waste characterisation. This approach is recommended for new mining projects (i.e., early life-of-mine stages) to ensure accurate geoenvironmental forecasting, therefore facilitating the development of an effective waste management plan that minimizes geoenvironmental risks posed by the mined materials.