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ANC–BNC Titrations and Geochemical Modeling for Characterizing Calcareous and Siliceous Mining Waste

Abstract : Pyrite and calcite are mineral phases that play a major role in acid and neutral mine drainage processes. However, the prediction of acid mine drainage (AMD) or contaminated neutral drainage (CND) requires knowledge of the mineral composition of mining waste and the related potential for element release. This paper studies the combination of acid–base neutralizing capacity (ANC–BNC) with geochemical modeling for the characterization of mining waste and prediction of AMD and CND. The proposed approach is validated with three synthetic mineral assemblages: (1) siliceous sand with pyrite only, representing mining waste responsible for AMD, (2) siliceous sand with calcite and pyrite, representing calcareous waste responsible for CND, and (3) siliceous sand with calcite only, simulating calcareous matrices without any pyrite. The geochemical modeling approach using PHREEQC software was used to model pH evolution and main element release as a function of the added amount of acid or base over the entire pH range: 1 < pH < 13. For calcareous matrices (sand with calcite), the results are typical of a carbonated environment, the geochemistry of which is well known. For matrices containing pyrite, the results identify different pH values favoring the dissolution of pyrite: pH = 2 in a pyrite-only environment and pH = 6 where pyrite coexists with calcite. The neutral conditions can be explained by the buffering capacity of calcite, which allows iron oxyhydroxide precipitation. Major element release is then related to the dissolution and precipitation of the mineral assemblages. The geochemical modeling allows the prediction of element speciation in the solid and liquid phases. Our findings clearly prove the potential of combined ANC–BNC experiments along with geochemical modeling for the characterization of mining waste and the assessment of risk of AMD and CND.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 3:49:38 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 3:27:15 AM

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Clémentine Drapeau, Cécile Delolme, Clément Vézin, Denise Blanc, Thomas Baumgartl, et al.. ANC–BNC Titrations and Geochemical Modeling for Characterizing Calcareous and Siliceous Mining Waste. Minerals, MDPI, 2021, 11 (3), pp.257. ⟨10.3390/min11030257⟩. ⟨hal-03170980⟩

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