Natural weathering of shale products from Kvarntorp
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
A severe shortage of many, to mankind, valuable elements are to be expected in the near future. Therefor is it of utmost importance to find these deposits and a way to refine the elements with as little negative effect on the environment as possible.
One deposit of valuable elements such as U, V, Mo and Sr are the so called alum shale. Alum shale is a variety of sulfidic black shale which is rich in pyrite, FeS2, and organic carbon. Primary due to its contents of hydrocarbons and uranium the alum shale has been mined at different sites throughout Sweden. One of these sites was Kvarntorp in the region of Närke. The shale which had have its contents of hydrocarbons extracted through dry distillation was dumped into a heap that is now known as Kvarntorpshögen.
The remaining hydrocarbons that this processed material still contain are to this day (2011) warm, with temperatures up to some hundred degrees Celsius. Due to this heat, infiltration of rainwater is held at a minimum. What no one knows however; is for how long Kvarntorpshögen will remain warm. Once it cools; many toxic elements will leak into the surrounding environment due to natural weathering caused by precipitation and frost wedging. The study also included a heating treatment of 70°C which is a temperature that the material of Kvarntorpshögen may be capable of generating by itself. This is assumed to be a good temperature for weathering processes; because it increases the kinetics of chemical reactions but also allows the presence of water.
The results of this study shows that summer will be the season that contributes the most to the leaching of elements, of which some are toxic. Newly exposed surfaces of various shale materials often contain elements that is easily leached by water. Once this coat is washed away however, further leaching of that element decreases. Exceptions from this pattern in some shale products were shown by for example vanadium and molybdenum.
The digestion data show that the completely processed shale, which makes up the majority of Kvarntorpshögen, still have a high content of rare and valuable elements. Making Kvarntorpshögen itself interesting for extraction processes in the future.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 93 p.
weathering, shale, Kvarntorp, leaching, leachate
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-16582ISRN: ORU-NAT/KEM-GK-2011/1--SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-16582DiVA: diva2:434624
Subject / course
2011-06-08, P137, Örebro Universitet, Örebro, 09:00 (Swedish)
UppsokPhysics, Chemistry, Mathematics
Bäckström, Mattias, universitetslektor
Karlsson, Stefan, universitetslektor