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Characterization and solidification of arsenic-rich cyanided tailings
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering.
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Information on the occurrence of As species and iron sulphide minerals in tailings is essential for predicting therelease of As over extended period of time. Tailings originating from a goldmine in northern Sweden with low content of trace elements except for As were used for this purpose. The dominating sulphides were pyrrhotite and arsenopyrite. The samples used in the study were post-cyanided, tailings slurries treated with Fe2(SO4)3 and H2O2 to form arsenates and Fe-hydrates for effective As-immobilization. Speciation of the As in ore and tailings samples revealed that mining processes have dissolved the majority of the arsenopyrite in the ore, causing secondary As phases to co-precipitate with newly formed Fe-hydrates. A minor part of the As retained in the tailings was assumed to be As (III)-species. Weathering cell tests (WCT) involving 32 weekly cycles of wetting and air exposure were conducted to assess the effect of weathering on the stability of As in the tailings. As-bearing Fe-hydrates remained intact during the early stages of the WCT; the low release of As during this period was probably due to the dissolution of solubleAs(III)-phases. During the later stages of the WCT, the release of As, Fe and S increased due to pyrrhotite oxidation and the destabilization of As-bearing Fe-hydrates. The majority of the originally present As was still associated with the tailings by the end of the test, but additional pyrrhotite oxidation with the pH falling to >3 could further destabilize these As-bearing Fe-hydrates. In the second part of the study,cyanided tailings were converted into a monolith by using a method called cemented paste backfill (CPB). Two mixtures of CPB were tested; CE with 1 wt. % of cement and CE-FA consisting 2 weight (wt.) % of cement together with 1 wt. % of biofuel fly ash. The stability of As in CPB-masses andun-amended tailings were evaluated using tank leaching tests (TLT) and WCT: s. TheTLT results showed that the CPB mixtures were not suitable for use inunderground backfilling because the As content of the CPB leachates increasedcontinuously over the course of the tests. The proportion of binders inCPB-materials is usually 3-7% because such loadings are required to create amonolithic mass that physically and chemically stabilizes arsenic species intailings. The addition of small quantities of binders in CE and CE-FA maytherefore have been insufficient to ensure that the monoliths were highly saturated, which is required to prevent the transport of oxygen and water through the CPB material. In the WCT, crushed CPB materials were used and the addition of binders caused only a minor increase in the leaching of As relative to that seen with unmodified tailings. The addition of binders has re-located a minor proportion of As in As-bearing Fe-hydrates into less acid-tolerant species. During the later stages of the WCTs, the CPB mixtures were treated with acid in order to consume the buffering minerals and simulate the formation of acid mine drainage (AMD). When acid was added to crushed CPB-materials, As-release increased due to the dissolution of Fe-hydrates. The addition of binders into tailings could pose more resistance to sulphide oxidation, which in turn means that the stability of As-bearing Fe-hydrates could be prolonged on long term. Results from the WCT suggested that the addition of low proportions of binders could have a positive effect on As-leaching in a long term perspective. A relatively new method called “Surfacepaste disposal” (SPD), where mixtures of low proportions of binders and tailings is placed as a cover on the un-amended tailings has shown promising results in terms of decreasing As-leaching and the generation of AMD. Future research will, therefore, focus on the stability of As in SPD-applications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2014. , 55 p.
Licentiate thesis / Luleå University of Technology, ISSN 1402-1757
Research subject
Applied Geology
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-17804Local ID: 54cded1a-eaee-4736-a3cb-b42413e37694ISBN: 978-91-7583-071-1 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7583-072-8 (electronic)OAI: diva2:990810
Godkänd; 2014; 20141015 (rogham); Nedanstående person kommer att hålla licentiatseminarium för avläggande av teknologie licentiatexamen. Namn: Roger Hamberg Ämne: Tillämpad geologi/Applied Geology Uppsats: Characterization and Solidification of Arsenic-rich Cyanided Tailings Examinator: Biträdande professor Lena Alakangas, Institutionen för samhällsbyggnad och naturresurser, Luleå tekniska universitet Diskutant: Fil. lic / Enhetschef Bergteknik Lena Sultan, Ramboll Sverige AB Tid: Torsdag den 4 december 2014 kl 13.00 Plats: E246, Luleå tekniska universitetAvailable from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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