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Static-Test Methods Most Commonly Used to Predict Acid-Mine Drainage: Practical Guidelines for Use and Interpretation

By
W.W. White, III
W.W. White, III
1
U.S. Department of the Interior, Research Center, Bureau of Mines, Salt Lake City, UT 84108*
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K.A. Lapakko
K.A. Lapakko
2
Division of Minerals, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN 55155
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R.L. Cox
R.L. Cox
3
2329 West Henry Alice Circle, West Jordan, UT 84084
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Published:
January 01, 1997

Abstract

Acid mine drainage (AMD) is contaminated effluent from mines and mining wastes that results from the oxidation of iron-sulfide minerals exposed to air and water. The intensity and duration of AMD formation are complex functions of deposit geology, mineralogy, and hydrology, and the subsequent interaction of climactic conditions upon ore and waste when exposed by various mining methods. Because AMD can produce effluent containing acid- and heavy-metal concentrations that exceed water quality standards and is perceived as irreversible once started, it is one of the more vexing environmental problems facing land-managing agencies and the minerals industry today. Consequently, reliable prediction tools that quantify the risk for a particular mine waste to produce AMD are actively sought by the minerals industry and regulators.

Today numerous tools in the form of various laboratory “static”- and “kinetic”-predictive tests are available for fees that range from $35 to as much as $5,200 per sample. Static tests are short term (usually measured in hours or days) and relatively low cost per sample (from $35 to $135). Their objective is to provide an estimate of a mine waste's capacity to produce acid and its capacity to neutralize acid. One shortcoming of static tests is that they measure only the capacities for acid production and consumption and do not consider the differences between the respective dissolution rates of acid-producing and acid-consuming minerals. Another potential source of error inherent to static-test-data interpretation is the assumption that all acid-producing and acid-consuming minerals present will react completely, an assumption which ignores the influence of acid-producing and acid-consuming mineral particle-size and morphology.

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Contents

Reviews

The Environmental Geochemistry of Mineral Deposits: Part A: Processes, Techniques, and Health Issues Part B: Case Studies and Research Topics

G.S. Plumlee
G.S. Plumlee
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M.J. Logsdon
M.J. Logsdon
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L.F. Filipek
L.F. Filipek
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Society of Economic Geologists
Volume
6
ISBN electronic:
9781629490137
Publication date:
January 01, 1997

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