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Literature review on potential geochemical and geotechnical effects of adopting paste technology under cold climate conditions
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
2013 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this literature review is to summarize the recent research regarding geochemical and geotechnical stability of paste tailings, identify knowledge gaps and future research needs. The present study has been conducted by the Division of Geosciences and Environmental Engineering together with the Division of Mining and Geotechnical Engineering at Luleå University of Technology on behalf of Boliden Mineral, LKAB and Outotec.A survey conducted by MEND (Mine Environment Neutral Drainage) in 2006 on the environmental effects related to the use of paste tailings summarizes that only a few studies had been performed about long-term effects on the surface and groundwater quality. Instead, the focus had been on the additives and the strength of the paste. It is still uncertain how the paste technology affects the long-term environmental stability from a geochemical point of view. Concerns regarding the stability of paste with high sulphide content are still relevant. Studies performed indicate that sulphide oxidation occurs within cemented paste as well as on the surface of non-cemented paste and cracks formed on the surfaces could induce oxidation. For cemented paste, metals released by sulphide oxidation might be sequestered due to high pH induced by the alkaline additives, but anion such as Se has been shown to be mobilized. The leachate has been shown to be near-neutral initially, but the neutrality decreases with time and probably metals sequestered in the matrix will also be released. Again, it should be noted that no long term study was performed on leaching of paste, cemented or uncemented. The longest leaching study was performed for one year. Arsenic has been proven to be retained in Ca-arsenates in cemented paste, but the long term stability of these precipitates is relatively unknown. Expanded secondary phases e.g. gypsum and ettringite have been observed to form when there is sulphate in the process or drainage of water. These phases could crack the paste, but, on the other hand, can also fill former cracks when deposited in layers. The effects of the formation of these phases are relatively uncertain in a long-term perspective. Presence of different elements such as ammonium, sulphates and metals in the water has been shown to negatively affect the curing process and therefore water is suggested to be treated before use. The presence of carbon dioxide during the paste formation could also affect the curing process, but could sequester metals in carbonate phases.Geotechnical and rheological properties of paste is well defined and documented. Several case studies have been found in literature providing valuable information about the details of the works being carried out. However, a difficulty has been noted during the investigation of the effects of cold climate conditions when current practice is applied in the colder parts of the world. It is not certain how some specific and vital parameters are going to be affected by cold temperatures. Parameters such as deposition slopes and deposition scheme, strength development of the paste are expected to be responsive to cold climate conditions. There are predictions about which properties are going to be affected in what way, but there is also a need to establish a scientific base for discussion. These have been highlighted as research needs and information gaps at the end of the report.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2013. , 36 p.
Keyword [en]
paste tailings, thickened tailings, tailings geochemistry, cold climate, tailings properties, tailings disposal, Civil engineering and architecture - Geoengineering and mining engineering
Keyword [sv]
Samhällsbyggnadsteknik och arkitektur - Geoteknik och gruvteknik
Research subject
Soil Mechanics; Applied Geology
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-25066Local ID: da3b398f-0b0e-4c3b-b920-076d89fef9a9OAI: diva2:998118
Godkänd; 2013; 20130821 (dendag)Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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