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Title: SUBAQUEOUS DISPOSAL OF MILL TAILINGS

Abstract

A study of mill tailings and sulfide minerals was carried out in order to understand their behavior under subaqueous conditions. A series of electrochemical experiments, namely, cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and galvanic coupling tests were carried out in artificial seawater and in pH 6.8 buffer solutions with chloride and ferric salts. Two mill tailings samples, one from the Kensington Mine, Alaska, and the other from the Holden Mine, Washington, were studied along with pyrite, galena, chalcopyrite and copper-activated sphalerite. SEM analysis of mill tailings revealed absence of sulfide minerals from the Kensington Mine mill tailings, whereas the Holden Mine mill tailings contained approximately 8% pyrite and 1% sphalerite. In order to conduct electrochemical tests, carbon matrix composite (CMC) electrodes of mill tailings, pyrite and galena were prepared and their feasibility was established by conducting a series of cyclic voltammetry tests. The cyclic voltammetry experiments carried out in artificial seawater and pH 6.8 buffer with chloride salts showed that chloride ions play an important role in the redox processes of sulfide minerals. For pyrite and galena, peaks were observed for the formation of chloride complexes, whereas pitting behavior was observed for the CMC electrodes of the Kensington Mine mill tailings.more » The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy conducted in artificial seawater provided with the Nyquist plots of pyrite and galena. The Nyquist plots of pyrite and galena exhibited an inert range of potential indicating a slower rate of leaching of sulfide minerals in marine environments. The galvanic coupling experiments were carried out to study the oxidation of sulfide minerals in the absence of oxygen. It was shown that in the absence of oxygen, ferric (Fe3+) ions might oxidize the sulfide minerals, thereby releasing undesirable oxidation products in the marine environment. The source of Fe{sup 3{minus}} ions may be attributed to iron-bearing sulfide (and oxide) minerals present in the mill tailings. However, the concentration of available Fe{sup 3{minus}} ions can be reduced by the precipitation of insoluble ferric hydroxides (Fe(OH ){sub 3}) by seawater due to its near neutral pH. In such case, the oxidation of a sulfide mineral is inhibited due to the absence of an oxidizing agent (viz. oxygen and/or Fe{sup 3+} ions). The experiments carried out in this study provided a better understanding of behavior of sulfide minerals and mill tailings in subaqueous conditions and may be useful for further investigation of sulfide minerals and mill tailings in other environments.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Federal Energy Technology Center, Morgantown, WV (US); Federal Energy Technology Center, Pittsburgh, PA (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
US Department of Energy (US)
OSTI Identifier:
757222
Report Number(s):
DE-FG22-97PX97809-01
TRN: AH200029%%211
DOE Contract Number:  
FG22-97PX97809
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 3 Sep 1999
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; CHALCOPYRITE; GALENA; LEACHING; MILL TAILINGS; OXIDATION; PRECIPITATION; PYRITE; SEAWATER; SULFIDE MINERALS; GEOCHEMISTRY; REDOX REACTIONS

Citation Formats

Neeraj K. Mendiratta, Roe-Hoan Yoon, and Paul Richardson. SUBAQUEOUS DISPOSAL OF MILL TAILINGS. United States: N. p., 1999. Web. doi:10.2172/757222.
Neeraj K. Mendiratta, Roe-Hoan Yoon, & Paul Richardson. SUBAQUEOUS DISPOSAL OF MILL TAILINGS. United States. doi:10.2172/757222.
Neeraj K. Mendiratta, Roe-Hoan Yoon, and Paul Richardson. Fri . "SUBAQUEOUS DISPOSAL OF MILL TAILINGS". United States. doi:10.2172/757222. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/757222.
@article{osti_757222,
title = {SUBAQUEOUS DISPOSAL OF MILL TAILINGS},
author = {Neeraj K. Mendiratta and Roe-Hoan Yoon and Paul Richardson},
abstractNote = {A study of mill tailings and sulfide minerals was carried out in order to understand their behavior under subaqueous conditions. A series of electrochemical experiments, namely, cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and galvanic coupling tests were carried out in artificial seawater and in pH 6.8 buffer solutions with chloride and ferric salts. Two mill tailings samples, one from the Kensington Mine, Alaska, and the other from the Holden Mine, Washington, were studied along with pyrite, galena, chalcopyrite and copper-activated sphalerite. SEM analysis of mill tailings revealed absence of sulfide minerals from the Kensington Mine mill tailings, whereas the Holden Mine mill tailings contained approximately 8% pyrite and 1% sphalerite. In order to conduct electrochemical tests, carbon matrix composite (CMC) electrodes of mill tailings, pyrite and galena were prepared and their feasibility was established by conducting a series of cyclic voltammetry tests. The cyclic voltammetry experiments carried out in artificial seawater and pH 6.8 buffer with chloride salts showed that chloride ions play an important role in the redox processes of sulfide minerals. For pyrite and galena, peaks were observed for the formation of chloride complexes, whereas pitting behavior was observed for the CMC electrodes of the Kensington Mine mill tailings. The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy conducted in artificial seawater provided with the Nyquist plots of pyrite and galena. The Nyquist plots of pyrite and galena exhibited an inert range of potential indicating a slower rate of leaching of sulfide minerals in marine environments. The galvanic coupling experiments were carried out to study the oxidation of sulfide minerals in the absence of oxygen. It was shown that in the absence of oxygen, ferric (Fe3+) ions might oxidize the sulfide minerals, thereby releasing undesirable oxidation products in the marine environment. The source of Fe{sup 3{minus}} ions may be attributed to iron-bearing sulfide (and oxide) minerals present in the mill tailings. However, the concentration of available Fe{sup 3{minus}} ions can be reduced by the precipitation of insoluble ferric hydroxides (Fe(OH ){sub 3}) by seawater due to its near neutral pH. In such case, the oxidation of a sulfide mineral is inhibited due to the absence of an oxidizing agent (viz. oxygen and/or Fe{sup 3+} ions). The experiments carried out in this study provided a better understanding of behavior of sulfide minerals and mill tailings in subaqueous conditions and may be useful for further investigation of sulfide minerals and mill tailings in other environments.},
doi = {10.2172/757222},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1999},
month = {9}
}