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Laboratory Study of Submerged Metal-mine Tailings 3: Factors Influencing the Dissolution of Metals.

Doepker RD; Drake PL
Proceeds 2nd Int'l Conf Abatement of Acidic Drainage Quebec Canada 2:139-155
The dissolution of metals from various metal-mine tailings has been studied through a series of batch tests of submerged tailings at U.S. Bureau of Mines laboratories. Samples included basic sulfidic tailings, acidic sulfidic tailings, and nonsulfidic oxidized tailings. Initial concentrations of metals in the slurry depended on the nature and amount of specific minerals in the waste. The tests indicated that changes in metal concentrations in supernatant liquids were influenced by percentage of oxygen saturation (aeration), solid-liquid contact time, ratio of contact surface area to liquid volume, amount of nonsubmerged (exposed) tailings, ph, and constituents in replacement leaching water. During the first few months, observed metal concentrations were consistently higher in aerated, reactive sulfide tailings; however, as solid-liquid contact time increased, metal concentrations tended to resemble those from unaerated systems. Metal concentrations in acidic tailings, whether neutralized or not, increased as solid-liquid contact time increased. The effects of these factors on metal dissolution from submerged tailings and their implications for tailings management are examined.
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
OP 229-91
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Proceeds 2nd Int'l. Conf. Abatement of Acidic Drainage, Quebec, Canada, V. 2, PP. 139-155
Page last reviewed: December 30, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division