Use of O
2 and CO 2 production in kinetic cells to delineate pyrite oxidation - carbonate buffering and microbial respiration in unsaturated media
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Lee, ES and Hendry, MJ and Hollings, P, Use of O
2 and CO 2 production in kinetic cells to delineate pyrite oxidation - carbonate buffering and microbial respiration in unsaturated media, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 65, (3) pp. 203-217. ISSN 0169-7722 (2003) [Refereed Article]
Identifying zones of sulphide oxidation and carbonate buffering is important in the development of a management plan for mine waste-rock piles. In this study, we used a kinetic cell technique to measure rates of O2 consumption and CO2 production in low sulphide (<0.12 wt.% S), low inorganic carbon (<0.20 wt.% Cinorganic), gneissic waste rock and associated organic-rich lake sediment (0.7 wt.% Corganic), and forest soil (1.4 wt.% Corganic) collected from the Key Lake uranium mine in Saskatchewan, Canada. Solid chemistry, stable carbon isotope, pore water sulphate concentration data, and stoichiometric considerations indicated that O2 consumption and CO2 production were constrained by microbial respiration in the lake sediment and forest soil and by pyrite oxidation-carbonate buffering in the gneissic waste rock. Mean ratios of molar CO2 production to O2 consumption rates were 0.5 for lake sediment, 0.7 for forest soil, and 0.2 for gneissic waste rock. The different O2/CO2 ratios suggested that O2-CO2 monitoring may provide a practical tool for identifying the zones of microbial respiration and pyrite oxidation-carbonate buffering in mine waste-rock piles. Rates of O2 consumption and CO2 production were about one order of magnitude greater in lake sediment than in gneissic waste rock, indicating that microbial respiration would exert a control on the distribution of O2 and CO2 gas in waste-rock piles constructed upon the dewatered lake sediments. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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