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Incongruent weathering of Cd and Zn from mine tailings

  • D. Kossoff (a1) (a2), K. A. Hudson-Edwards (a1), W. E. Dubbin (a2) and M. Alfredsson (a3)

Abstract

Weathering ofdischarged mine tailings contaminates streams, rivers and floodplains with toxic metals on a vast scale. The magnitude of the problem depends on input tailings mineralogy, storage and dispersal, and climatic conditions. To better understand the mechanisms of long-term tailings weathering, a leaching column study was established, incorporating tailings and soil from Potosí, Bolivia, with the aim of modelling a 25 year field period. The Zn/Cd molar ratio ofthe tailings leachate water, initially 738 for the unaltered tailings, is highly variable over 15 model years of leaching, particularly in the mixed tailings-soil columns. Columns with soil have ratios as high as 2563, while pure tailings columns reach ratios of <376. We employ complementary techniques, involving atomistic computational modelling, leachate analysis and mineralogical characterization, to elucidate the mechanisms governing these incongruent Cd and Zn weathering dynamics.

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Incongruent weathering of Cd and Zn from mine tailings

  • D. Kossoff (a1) (a2), K. A. Hudson-Edwards (a1), W. E. Dubbin (a2) and M. Alfredsson (a3)

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