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Methods and Costs for Stabilizing Fine-sized Mineral Wastes.

Dean KC; Havens R; Glantz MW
NTIS: PB 233 426 :26 pages
Fine-sized mineral wastes discarded by ore milling plants require stabilization to prevent air and water pollution. Stabilization has been attained by physical, chemical, vegetative, and combination procedures. Vegetative reclamation is preferred to physical and chemical stabilization but is difficult to achieve because the wastes are sterile, contain deleterious inorganic salts, and lack the essential nutrients and physical characteristics required for sustaining vegetative growth. Methods now have been developed for attaining vegetative growth on all but excessively acidic, basic, or saline tailings at costs ranging from $120 to $650 per acre. The cost for stabilizing tailings requiring more intensive treatment techniques may range upward to $1,750 per acre. This report summarizes procedures developed by the Bureau of Mines and industry for vegetating amenable tailings, lists costs for the various processes, and suggests procedures that may be applicable for stabilizing saline and pyrite-containing tailings. Ridged planting beds, drip irrigation, and deep-furrow planting techniques are suggested for stabilizing saline wastes. A combination of mill tailings and sewage sludge can be used for producing synthetic soils, and layers of sewage sludge buried under a layer of tailings offer promise of inhibiting acid formation from oxidation of sulfides in mineral wastes.
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Report of Investigations
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
RI 7896
NIOSH Division
Source Name
NTIS: PB 233 426
Page last reviewed: December 10, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division