ACID-GENERATING POTENTIAL CALCULATION USING MINERALOGICAL STATIC TEST: MODIFICATION OF THE PAKTUNC EQUATION

World Mining Congress
Sulfidic tailings, subjected to atmospheric water and oxygen action, can generate acid mine drainage (AMD); which is the most important environmental problem facing the mining industry. AMD generating potential can be assessed by the static tests which consist of a screening method where the neutralization potential (NP) and the acid-generating potential (AP) of a given rock sample are determined. The AP and NP are determined separately in the different static test existing procedures which can be divided into two distinct classes: chemical and the mineralogical methods. For some chemical method, the AP is calculated on the basis of total sulfide sulfur content in the sample which may overestimate its AP if significant quantities of non-sulfide sulfur species are present (e.g. organic S in coals, some sulfate as gypsum, barite, etc.). However, the mineralogical method evaluates the AP by the sum of the individual sulfides participation on acid generation based on their concentration within the sample and can be more accurate than the chemical method. For AP calculation, the Paktunc (1999a) mineralogical static test takes into consideration all sulfide minerals occurring in the sample. However, it does not take into account the rates of acidity production of these sulfides submitted to weathering conditions. So, the present study focusses on the modification of Paktunc AP calculation by considering the acidity production rates of these minerals. To reach this objective, five base-metal sulfides (pyrite as reference, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, arsenopyrite, galena), diluted within quartz (25–75 wt.%) simulating mill tailings were subjected to a kinetic test to evaluate their AP. The results show that all the studied sulfides minerals generate acidity at different rates, so the Paktunc’s equation for AP calculation has been adapted accordingly.
Keywords: minerals; mineral; pyrite; sphalerite; Chalcopyrite; Tests; test;
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