skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Geochemical and mineralogical controls on metal(loid) mobility in the oxide zone of the Prairie Creek Deposit, NWT

Abstract

Prairie Creek is an unmined high grade Zn-Pb-Ag deposit in the southern Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories, located in a 320 km2 enclave surrounded by the Nahanni National Park reserve. The upper portion of the quartz-carbonate-sulphide vein mineralization has undergone extensive oxidation, forming high grade zones, rich in smithsonite (ZnCO3) and cerussite (PbCO3). This weathered zone represents a significant resource and a potential component of mine waste material. This study is focused on characterizing the geochemical and mineralogical controls on metal(loid) mobility under mine waste conditions, with particular attention to the metal carbonates as a potential source of trace elements to the environment. Analyses were conducted using a combination of microanalytical techniques (electron microprobe, scanning electron microscopy with automated mineralogy, laser-ablation inductively-coupled mass spectrometry, and synchrotron-based element mapping, micro-X-ray diffraction and micro-X-ray absorbance). The elements of interest included Zn, Pb, Ag, As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Sb and Se.

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
OSTI Identifier:
1409554
Report Number(s):
BNL-114606-2017-JA¿¿¿
Journal ID: ISSN 1467-7873
DOE Contract Number:
SC0012704
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis; Journal Volume: 17; Journal Issue: 1
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES

Citation Formats

Stavinga, Drew, Jamieson, Heather, Layton-Matthews, Daniel, Paradis, Suzanne, and Falck, Hendrik. Geochemical and mineralogical controls on metal(loid) mobility in the oxide zone of the Prairie Creek Deposit, NWT. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1144/geochem2015-378.
Stavinga, Drew, Jamieson, Heather, Layton-Matthews, Daniel, Paradis, Suzanne, & Falck, Hendrik. Geochemical and mineralogical controls on metal(loid) mobility in the oxide zone of the Prairie Creek Deposit, NWT. United States. doi:10.1144/geochem2015-378.
Stavinga, Drew, Jamieson, Heather, Layton-Matthews, Daniel, Paradis, Suzanne, and Falck, Hendrik. Wed . "Geochemical and mineralogical controls on metal(loid) mobility in the oxide zone of the Prairie Creek Deposit, NWT". United States. doi:10.1144/geochem2015-378.
@article{osti_1409554,
title = {Geochemical and mineralogical controls on metal(loid) mobility in the oxide zone of the Prairie Creek Deposit, NWT},
author = {Stavinga, Drew and Jamieson, Heather and Layton-Matthews, Daniel and Paradis, Suzanne and Falck, Hendrik},
abstractNote = {Prairie Creek is an unmined high grade Zn-Pb-Ag deposit in the southern Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories, located in a 320 km2 enclave surrounded by the Nahanni National Park reserve. The upper portion of the quartz-carbonate-sulphide vein mineralization has undergone extensive oxidation, forming high grade zones, rich in smithsonite (ZnCO3) and cerussite (PbCO3). This weathered zone represents a significant resource and a potential component of mine waste material. This study is focused on characterizing the geochemical and mineralogical controls on metal(loid) mobility under mine waste conditions, with particular attention to the metal carbonates as a potential source of trace elements to the environment. Analyses were conducted using a combination of microanalytical techniques (electron microprobe, scanning electron microscopy with automated mineralogy, laser-ablation inductively-coupled mass spectrometry, and synchrotron-based element mapping, micro-X-ray diffraction and micro-X-ray absorbance). The elements of interest included Zn, Pb, Ag, As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Sb and Se.},
doi = {10.1144/geochem2015-378},
journal = {Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis},
number = 1,
volume = 17,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}
  • Accounting for microbially-mediated CO2 transformation is pivotal to assessing geochemical implications for elevated CO2 in subsurface environments. A series of batch-reactor experiments were conducted to decipher links between autotrophic methanogenesis, CO2 dynamics and aqueous Fe, As and Pb concentrations in the presence of sulfide minerals. Microbially-mediated solubility-trapping followed by pseudo-first order reduction of HCO3- to CH4 (k’ = 0.28-0.59 d-1) accounted for 95% of the CO2 loss from methanogenic experiments. Bicarbonate-to-methane reduction was pivotal in the mitigation of CO2-induced acidity (~1 pH unit) and enhancement of reducing conditions (Eh change from -0.215 to -0.332V ). Methanogenesis-associated shifts in pH-Eh valuesmore » showed no significant effect on aqueous Pb but favored, 1) increased aqueous As as a result of microbially-mediated dissolution of arsenopyrite and 2) decreased aqueous Fe due to mineral-trapping of CO2-mobilized Fe as Fe-carbonate. Its order of occurrence (and magnitude), relative to solubility- and mineral-trapping, highlighted the potential for autotrophic methanogenesis to modulate both carbon sequestration and contaminant mobility in CO2-impacted subsurface environments.« less
  • Cited by 3
  • The legacy of copper (Cu) mining at Špania Dolina-Piesky and Lubietová-Svätodušná (central Slovakia) is waste rock and soil, surface waters, and groundwaters contaminated with antimony (Sb), arsenic (As), Cu, and other metals. Copper ore is hosted in chalcopyrite (CuFeS2) and sulfosalt solid-solution tetrahedrite-tennantite {Cu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13–Cu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13} that show wide-spread oxidation characteristic by olive-green color secondary minerals. Tetrahedrite-tennantite can be a significant source of As and Sb contamination. Synchrotron-based μ-XRD, μ-XRF, and μ-XANES combined with electron microprobe analyses have been used to determine the mineralogy, chemical composition, element distribution, and Sb speciation in tetrahedrite-tennantite oxidation products in waste rock. Our results show thatmore » the mobility of Sb is limited by the formation of oxidation products such as tripuhyite and roméite group mineral containing 36.54 wt% Sb for samples where the primary mineral chemical composition is close to tetrahedrite end-member. Antimony K-edge μ-XANES spectra of these oxidation products indicate that the predominant Sb oxidation state is 5+. Arsenic and Cu are also hosted by amorphous phases containing 6.23 wt% Sb on average and these are intergrown with tripuhyite and roméite. Antimony in this environment is not very mobile, meaning it is not easily released from solid phases to water, especially compared to As, Cu, and S. For samples where the primary sulfosalt is close to tennantite composition, the oxidation products associated with tennantite relicts contain 2.43 wt% Sb and are amorphous. The variable solubility of the secondary minerals that have been identified is expected to influence mobility of Sb and As in near-surface environment.« less
  • Localized zones or lenses of naturally reduced sediments have the potential to play a significant role in the fate and transport of redox-sensitive metals and metalloids in aquifers. To assess the mineralogy, microbiology, and redox processes that occur in these zones, we examined several cores from a region of naturally occurring reducing conditions in a uranium-contaminated aquifer (Rifle, CO). Sediment samples from a transect of cores ranging from oxic/suboxic Rifle aquifer sediment to naturally reduced sediment were analyzed for uranium and iron content, oxidation state, and mineralogy, reduced sulfur phases, and solid phase organic carbon content using a suite ofmore » analytical and spectroscopic techniques on bulk sediment and size fractions. Solid-phase uranium concentrations were higher in the naturally reduced zone, with a high proportion of the uranium present as reduced U(IV). The sediments were also elevated in reduced sulfur phases and Fe(II), indicating it is very likely that U(VI), Fe(III), and sulfate reduction occurred or is occurring in the sediment. The microbial community was assessed using lipid- and DNA-based techniques, and statistical redundancy analysis was performed to determine correlations between the microbial community and the geochemistry. Increased concentration of solid phase organic carbon and biomass in the naturally reduced sediment suggests that natural bioreduction is stimulated by a zone of increased organic carbon concentration associated with fine-grained material and lower permeability to groundwater flow. Characterization of the naturally bioreduced sediment provides an understanding of the natural processes that occur in the sediment under reducing conditions and how they may impact natural attenuation of radionuclides and other redox sensitive materials. Results also suggest the importance of recalcitrant organic carbon for maintaining reducing conditions and uranium immobilization.« less
  • Localized zones or lenses of naturally reduced sediments have the potential to play a significant role in the fate and transport of redox-sensitive metals and metalloids in aquifers. To assess the mineralogy, microbiology and redox processes that occur in these zones, several cores from a region of naturally occurring reducing conditions in a U-contaminated aquifer (Rifle, CO) were examined. Sediment samples from a transect of cores ranging from oxic/suboxic Rifle aquifer sediment to naturally reduced sediment were analyzed for U and Fe content, oxidation state, and mineralogy; reduced S phases; and solid-phase organic C content using a suite of analyticalmore » and spectroscopic techniques on bulk sediment and size fractions. Solid-phase U concentrations were higher in the naturally reduced zone, with a high proportion of the U present as U(IV). The sediments were also elevated in reduced S phases and Fe(II), indicating it is very likely that U(VI), Fe(III), and SO4 reduction has occurred or is occurring in the sediment. The microbial community was assessed using lipid- and DNA-based techniques, and statistical redundancy analysis was performed to determine correlations between the microbial community and the geochemistry. Increased concentrations of solid-phase organic C and biomass in the naturally reduced sediment suggests that natural bioreduction is stimulated by a zone of increased organic C concentration associated with fine-grained material and lower permeability to groundwater flow. Characterization of the naturally bioreduced sediment provides an understanding of the natural processes that occur in the sediment under reducing conditions and how they may impact natural attenuation of radionuclides and other redox sensitive materials. Results also suggest the importance of recalcitrant organic C for maintaining reducing conditions and U immobilization.« less