Use of red mud to rehabilitate AMD-generating tailings - Dunraine site case history

Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Denis Isabel, Martine Paradis, Serge Vézina, Clément Brisson,
Abstract The old Duraine Mine tailings pond contains acid mine drainage generating tailings. The concept proposed to rehabilitate the site is to use the high alkaline potential of red mud from aluminium smelters to neutralize mine tailings. By applying a certain quantity of red mud to the surface of the pond, neutralization of the acidity is activated. Moreover, the alkalis contained in the red mud will cause the precipitation of stable minerals (sulphates such as jarosite). This precipitation of minerals will form an indurated layer, thus making oxygen and water circulation difficult. Even though this concept has been verified in the laboratory, they still are hypotheses that must be verified in actual working conditions.

The main questions arising from the use of red mud, apart from the geochemical concept, is the technical and economic context. Indeed, transporting a significant amount of wet, clayey material represents quite an economic challenge. Besides this challenge, handling and spreading this product onto tailings ponds comprised of fine saturated material also represents a significant challenge. This article presents the findings of a technical and economic study on the transportation, handling and spreading of red mud on the tailings ponds located in the Abitibi.
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Summary: The Poirier Mine site in Joutel was rehabilitated between 1998 and 2001. The main element of the work was the rehabilitation of the tailings pond and the spill zones, which totalled 4.5 million tonnes of tailings, spread over 74 hectares. The tailings are strong generators of acid mine drainage.

The first part of the presentation will comprise a brief review of rehabilitation concepts followed by a description of the main elements of the work with emphasis on what was learned from carrying...
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Year: 2002
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Summary: Brunswick Mine has been involved in a comprehensive research program investigating site specific aspects of thiosalt management to eliminate its adverse environmental effects. Minimum annual reagent cost estimates for thiosalt treatment using hydrogen peroxide and hyperchlorite are $400K and $1.5 million respectively. Also, minimum costs for the use of bicarbonate to buffer the pH depression associated with thiosalt oxidation in the receiving environment is in the order of $400K annually. A...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Author(s): Michael Li, Pascale St-Germain, Alan Thibodeau, Craig Wood
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Summary: The environmental aspects of mining activities carried out across Quebec fall within the scope of various legal, prescribed or other frameworks (directives, policies, guides) at provincial and federal levels. These frameworks apply to one or another of the three major steps of a project: preliminary design, mining and closure. As the number of environmental regulations has greatly increased during the past few years, the object of this presentation is to state the main provincial and federal...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Year: 2002
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Summary: Mine waste rock containing sulphides can cause acid mine drainage. Several important combined physical and chemical processes occur in the coarse and partially saturated material. Oxidation of the sulphides, catalyzed by bacterial activity, consumes oxygen and produces heat. These processes partly control the oxygen supply through diffusion and thermal convection at the oxidation sites. To quantify these processes, one must use digital modelling. The present article reviews the currently...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Author(s): Frédéric Jacques
Year: 2002
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Summary: The new Canadian Metal Mining Effluent Regulation was enacted on June 6, 2002. Within the scope of this Regulation, all mines subject to the Regulation must carry out studies to monitor the effects of their effluents on the aquatic environment, especially on fish, fish habitat and halieutic resources. This presentation will emphasize the implementation of the Program as well as the requirements and technical guidelines associated with the EEM program; it will also include a schedule for...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Year: 2002
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Summary: Directive 019 pertaining to the mining industry was enacted in 1989; it is used by the ministère de l'Environnement du Québec for the environmental control and evaluation of mining projects tabled before the Ministère in order to obtain a certificate of authorization.

This document presents the environmental requirements that must be respected by the mining establishments during mining and after closure. Directive 019 also states the information required by the ministère de l'Environnement...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Year: 2002
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Summary: Tailings ponds represent an environmental risk that requires adequate management. Following the publication of A Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities, in September 1998, members of the mining industry have put into practice the management elements of the Guide, thus continually improving operations. In February 2000, the mining industry indicated the need for more specific guidelines to safely operate tailings facilities. Within this framework, the Canadian Mining Association...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Year: 2002
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Summary: In 1988, the Quebec Government decided to launch an integrated program to reduce industrial pollution; aiming for a reduction of waste into the aquatic and atmospheric environments and a reduction of residual wastes. This program called Programme de reduction des rejets industriels or PPRI [Industrial Waste Reduction Program] is translated into facts by the issuance of a depollution attestation to companies belonging to the main industrial sectors active in Quebec.

The depollution attestatio...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Year: 2002
Text
Summary: The old Duraine Mine tailings pond contains acid mine drainage generating tailings. The concept proposed to rehabilitate the site is to use the high alkaline potential of red mud from aluminium smelters to neutralize mine tailings. By applying a certain quantity of red mud to the surface of the pond, neutralization of the acidity is activated. Moreover, the alkalis contained in the red mud will cause the precipitation of stable minerals (sulphates such as jarosite). This precipitation of...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Author(s): Denis Isabel, Martine Paradis, Serge Vézina, Clément Brisson
Year: 2002
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Summary: The Raglan Mill had been in production for less than a year when the initial toxicity tests on the effluent revealed that it was defined as “toxic” under regulations. Testwork was begun to address the fundamental reasons for the toxicity and a systematic approach was initiated to identify causes. Elimination of the problem presented a challenge once the main conclusion identified high dissolved solids as the principal culprit. In particular, normally benign soda ash (sodium bicarbonate)...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Year: 2002
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Summary: Surface deposited tailings in paste form offers potential environmental and financial advantages as compared to alternative surface disposal methods. However, these advantages will only be fully realized if care is taken to adequately characterize the depositional and geotechnical properties of the paste, using both laboratory testing and field monitoring techniques. Laboratory tests are described that enable the site to be engineered with the appropriate geometry (footprint and slopes) and...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Year: 2002
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Summary: A large number of mines in British Columbia, are faced with the high cost and technical challenges associated with ARD mitigation. The objective of this paper is to use British Columbia mines to demonstrate some of the components of cost effective mitigation, how increased understanding of this complex subject can reduce both environmental risk and the post-mining liability, and a number of the remaining challenges.

Potential mitigation strategies for individual mine components should be...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
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Summary: Cemented paste backfilling is used more and more in underground mines. Another alternative to using paste for backfilling is to pump it onto the surface and to stock it in piles. In addition to physical stability advantages, the cemented paste on surface would also stabilize the contaminants in the matrix through the solidification and stabilization process.

In this study, various paste piles made of sulphide mine tailings containing much arsenic and various binders were tested to evaluate...
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Author(s): Philippe Marion, Isabelle Picquet, Bruno Bussière
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Summary: Paste backfill as a means of supporting underground mining is gaining popularity. Despite this trend, engineering and design of mine paste backfill systems are still largely based on empirical methods rather than established scientific principles. Because of a lack of sound understanding of mineral paste flow, some degree of trial and error is often involved during commissioning and operating of new paste fill systems. New operations often have to be built with flexibilities and contingencie...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Year: 2002
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Summary: Until the early 1980's, rehabilitation of mine tailings ponds after mine closures only totalled about 400 hectares. It's a good thing things have changed since; indeed, at the present time, not only are the areas systematically rehabilitated after definitive closure but mining companies have already rehabilitated or are currently doing so at their old sites. Practically speaking, more than 3400 hectares, with about a third concerning acid areas, have undergone rehabilitation work over the...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
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Summary: The new regulations presently being enacted will require mining companies to monitor the effect of their effluents on the environment. Troilus Mine has been operating since 1996 and it is located on territory under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. Due to this fact, an impact assessment of the project has been presented and recommendations for operating the mine have been emitted. One recommendation concerned monitoring the effects of mining on the environment through fish sampling...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Year: 2002
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Summary: Located in the Témiscamingue, the Lorraine Mine operated from 1964 to 1968, generating about 600 000 tonnes of tailings placed in a pond covering nearly 10 hectares. The tailings in the non-saturated zone remained exposed to the elements for over 30 years, allowing the activation of sulphide oxidation reactions and the generation of acidic leachate at the foot of the permeable embankments. In 1998, following a characterization study and the analysis of rehabilitation scenarios, the ministère...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Author(s): Michel Aubertin, Bruno Bussière, Johanne Cyr, René Fontaine
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Summary: Generating acid mine drainage (AMD) involves the
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has however come to light in the last few years, namely
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Summary: Laronde Mine has been working since a few years to identify the substances that contribute to the toxicity of the process water and to search for an effective treatment system. The first studies had identified ammonia, nitrate, cyanide and thiocyanides, cyanates, dissolved organic carbon, copper and zinc as potential substances for the origin of the toxicity. Laboratory tests were carried out with the help of Lakefield Research in order to find an effective treatment to eliminate water...
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Summary: When processing zinc concentrate, the Valleyfield CEZinc plant generates a mine waste called “jarosite”. Up until 1998, jarosite was transported hydraulically into clay basins. Settled jarosite has a very low consistency (it is impossible to walk on the consolidated tailings) and a high metal content in the interstitial water. These particular jarosite characteristics made construction and closing of tailings ponds very expensive.

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Year: 2002
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Summary: Oxidized sulfidic tailings contain significant amounts of accumulated acidity in the form of water-soluble secondary sulfate minerals and thus constitute long-term sources of acid drainage at many metal mining sites. As part of site remediation activities, alkaline amendments are often added to the oxidized tailings to increase the pH and immobilize the metals. This study assessed the advantages and limitations of using lime mud, a byproduct of Kraft pulp mills rich in calcium carbonate (~ 90...
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Summary: Most systematic studies carried out since 1978 on passive treatment systems incorporating the use of limestone drains under aerobic or anaerobic conditions essentially deal with the treatment of effluents from American coal mines. A limestone drain typically comprises a trench filled with limestone rocks surrounded by impervious materials. In the case of anoxic drains, the trench is generally isolated under a geomembrane liner covered with soil. Contaminated, unaired (anaerobic condition) or...
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Summary: The legacy of orphaned/abandoned mines, with the associated environmental liability, human health concerns and the financial costs of clean-up is a serious issue facing Canada. In 1999 and 2000, a number of stakeholders put forth requests to the Mines Ministers to establish a joint industry-government working group, assisted by other stakeholders to review the issue of abandoned mines. The Ministers supported this initiative and asked that a multistakeholder workshop be organized to identify...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
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Summary: Five types of forestry wastes (coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous barks, dating back to 1965), inoculated with sulphate reducing bacteria from sediments or sewage sludge, were placed into closed vessels with a synthetic solution of acid mine drainage, with or without dolostone, and allowed to react, in order to assess their importance in the initiation and the evolution of sulphate reduction reactions. pH, alkalinity, and Fe2+ and SO42- concentrations were measured at intervals, over...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
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Summary: Dry cover systems are commonly used at various mine sites around the world to prevent and control acid rock drainage. The primary purpose of these covers is to minimize further degradation of the receiving environment following closure of the waste impoundment by minimizing the influx of water and oxygen into the waste. Dry covers can be simple or complex, encompassing single or multiple layers of native soils, non-reactive tailings and/or waste rock, geosynthetic materials, and oxygen...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
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Summary: Waste rock piles from metal mining operations are often comprised of large surface deposits of unsaturated, coarse grained soil and rock. The unsaturated condition and coarse grained nature of these deposits often make them difficult to monitor or characterise. Some of the key parameters that must be evaluated include; volume-mass relationships (e.g. water content, air content, porosity, density, degree of saturation, grain-size), transport properties (e.g. air-permeability, gas...
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Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Year: 2002
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Summary: To protect aquatic life, the current water quality criteria for metals are based on total concentrations. However, complexation (association of these metals with ligands in solution) can significantly reduce the toxicity of metals for aquatic organisms. In order to evaluate the importance of complexation in lowering the toxicity of metals in mine and metallurgical effluents, we studied the speciation of metals and the chronic toxicity of various mine and metallurgical effluents. The dissolved...
Proceedings: Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
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Summary: Waste piles containing reactive sulphide minerals constitute a favourable environment for the production of acid mine drainage (AMD). Within the waste piles, the physical, geochemical and biological processes leading to AMD are numerous and complex. Water distribution and movement in the piles are some of the critical aspects affecting AMD generation. Through digital modelling, we can understand, and eventually control, the movement of water (and thus reduce AMD production) in the waste piles...
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Summary: Traditional mining methods for waste management produce two waste streams for the construction of separate disposal facilities. The design of containment structures for tailings is usually controlled by physical stability. Alternatively, waste rock materials offer high shear strength characteristics for waste dump construction, but hydraulic properties that create ideal conditions for oxidation. The problem of oxidation is significantly reduced for tailings due to a fine texture that augments...
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