New Mexico Geological Society Annual Spring Meeting
April 13, 2018

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A laboratory simulation of Cu, Pb and Fe release from sulfide-containing mine tailings in seawater

Rodrigo Frayna Embile, Jr.1, Ingar Walder2, Christopher Schuh3 and Jenna Donatelli

1NM Institute of Mining and Tech, PO Box 3777, 801 Leroy Place, SOCORRO, NM, NM, 87801, United States,
2E&ES, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Plalce, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM, New Mexico, 87801, United States
3Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Cu, Pb and Fe release from the deposition of sulfide-containing tailings in seawater was investigated using a batch reaction experiment. Tailings from a porphyry Cu-Au and a sediment-hosted Cu deposit were submerged in 1.8 L synthetic seawater. Pore water and overlying seawater samples were collected and analyzed for pH, redox potential and trace metals (Cu, Pb and Fe) concentration. Results from this study show that there is very low Cu (10-40 μg/L), Pb (2-10 μg/L) and Fe (5-50 μg/L) released into solution throughout the course of 87 days. Trace metal concentration was generally very stable (Cu, Fe) or declined (Pb) through time. The release of acid into solution was also very low due to the high buffering capacity of seawater. Long-term trace metal release from tailings in seawater is therefore theorized to be low and is a slow process.


Trace metals, seawater, tailings

pp. 26

2018 New Mexico Geological Society Annual Spring Meeting
April 13, 2018, Macey Center, New Mexico Tech campus, Socorro, NM