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Book Chapter

The Hydrogeochemistry of a Nickel-Mine Tailings Impoundment—Copper Cliff, Ontario

By
C.J. Coggans
C.J. Coggans
1
CH2M Gore & Storrie Limited, 600-180 King Street South, Suite 600 Waterloo, Ontario N2J 1P8 Canada
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D.W. Blowes
D.W. Blowes
1
CH2M Gore & Storrie Limited, 600-180 King Street South, Suite 600 Waterloo, Ontario N2J 1P8 Canada
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W.D. Robertson
W.D. Robertson
1
CH2M Gore & Storrie Limited, 600-180 King Street South, Suite 600 Waterloo, Ontario N2J 1P8 Canada
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J.L. Jambor
J.L. Jambor
2
Environmental Laboratory, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0G1 Canada
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Published:
January 01, 1997

Abstract

The Copper Cliff tailings disposal area near the town of Copper Cliff, Ontario (Fig. 21.1) has been used continuously since 1936 and constitutes one of the largest mine disposal areas in the world. The six tailings impoundments within the disposal area cover 21 km2, accounting for more than 10% of all sulfide mine tailings in Canada (Feasby et al., 1991).

Approximately 35,000 t/day of ore from the Sudbury Igneous Complex, a fine-to-medium-grained noritic to gabbroic rock locally containing up to 60 wt% sulfides, is mined by INCO Ltd. and processed at the Copper Cliff mill. Monoclinic and hexagonal pyrrhotite (Fe1-xS), pentlandite ((Ni,Fe)9S8), chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), pyrite (FeS2), and cubanite (CuFe2S3) comprise the bulk of the sulfides. Minor concentrations of cobalite (CoAsS), nickelite (NiAs), galena (PbS), and millerite (NiS) are present (Hawley and Stanton, 1962; Naldrett, 1984). Approximately 95% of the copper and 80% of the nickel are recovered in the milling process, and the remainder is discharged to the impoundments with the bulk tailings (INCO Ltd. staff, personal commun., 1991).

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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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