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The effects of hardpan layers on the water chemistry from the leaching of pyrrhotite-rich tailings material


Gilbert, SE and Cooke, DR and Hollings, P, The effects of hardpan layers on the water chemistry from the leaching of pyrrhotite-rich tailings material, Environmental Geology, 44, (6) pp. 687-697. ISSN 0943-0105 (2003) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00254-003-0810-5


Column leaching experiments were used to determine the effects of an iron-rich hardpan layer, on the rate of tailings oxidation and the composition of leachate waters, from the Renison Bell tailings dams in western Tasmania, Australia. One-meter-long PVC columns, filled with tailings, cover material (Cassiterite Flotation Tailings) and hardpan samples from the tailings dams, were leached over a period of 14 weeks. Under dry cover conditions, when hardpan was present, the solute loads peaked at 21-49 days (Fe at 2,294 ppm and SO4 2- at 4,700 ppm), and stabilised at much lower concentrations after 9 weeks. In contrast, the solute loads steadily increased over time in the column where hardpan was absent (SO4 2- from 1,800 to 3,100 ppm, and Fe from 407 to 1,692 ppm). Under saturated cover conditions, the solute concentrations in the leachate also increased with time (SO4 2- from 1,900 to 17,000 ppm, and Fe from 480 to 8,500 ppm). The presence of a hardpan layer between the reactive tailings and cover material has been found to improve leachate water chemistry and lessen the rate of sulphide oxidation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geochemistry
Research Field:Inorganic geochemistry
Objective Division:Mineral Resources (Excl. Energy Resources)
Objective Group:Environmentally sustainable mineral resource activities
Objective Field:Environmentally sustainable mineral resource activities not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Gilbert, SE (Ms Sarah Gilbert)
UTAS Author:Cooke, DR (Professor David Cooke)
ID Code:28005
Year Published:2003
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:Centre for Ore Deposit Research - CODES CoE
Deposited On:2003-08-01
Last Modified:2007-10-17

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