Abstract

Diffuse reflectance spectra of 15 mineral species commonly associated with sulphide-bearing mine wastes show diagnostic absorption bands related to electronic processes involving ferric and/or ferrous iron, and to vibrational processes involving water and hydroxyl. Many of these absorption bands are relatively broad and overlapping; however, spectral analysis methods, including continuum removal and derivative analysis, permit most of the minerals to be distinguished. Key spectral differences between the minerals are illustrated in a series of plots showing major absorption band centres and other spectral feature positions. Because secondary iron minerals are sensitive indicators of pH, Eh, relative humidity, and other environmental conditions, spectral mapping of mineral distributions promises to have important application to mine waste remediation studies.

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