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The effect of vegetation on mine tailings
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering.
2003 (English)In: Program with Abstracts : Joint Annual Meeting, Geological Association of Canada; Mineralogical Association of Canada , 2003, Vol. 28Conference paper, Meeting abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One of the major aims with passive remediation of sulfide-bearing mine tailings is to minimize or exclude oxygen diffusion through the tailings and decrease the oxidation of sulfides. A vegetation cover could potentially decrease the oxygen flux by oxygen consumption during decay of organic matter. The abandoned Cu mine at Laver in northern Sweden has not been remediated except for establishment of vegetation, and this offers the opportunity to investigate the effect of a vegetation cover on tailings.Whole-year sampling of surface drainage water from the tailings impoundment was performed during 1993 and 2001. The release of metals was only 5-10 % of the estimated weathering rate in the tailings during 1993 because of secondary retainment within the tailings. Results from 2001 show decreasing concentrations of several elements and increasing pH, indicating decreasing oxidation rate.Pore-gas measurement in two vertical profiles shows that vegetation on the tailings has no effect as a barrier for oxygen diffusion in comparison with barren parts.Cemented layers, which have formed at various depths in the tailings, have decreased the flux of oxygen to deeper parts; this could be an explanation of the decreased oxidation rate. The different cemented layers in the tailings differ in chemical composition and physical characteristics. There are two major types, both of which both contain iron oxides and carbon. The origin of the carbon is possibly the vegetation cover. None of the cemented layers acts as a trap for heavy metals, but As is enriched.The effect of vegetation as a oxygen barrier is negligible, but vegetation could act as a source for organic matter that could increase aggregation of iron oxides and clay minerals, thereby enhancing the formation of cemented layers or increasing metal-organic complexes which decrease the mobility of metals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Geological Association of Canada; Mineralogical Association of Canada , 2003. Vol. 28
Research subject
Applied Geology
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-37488Local ID: b89d67f0-a8b6-11dc-9057-000ea68e967bOAI: diva2:1010986
Geological Association of Canada, Mineralogical Association of Canada; Joint annual meeting : 26/05/2003 - 28/05/2003
Godkänd; 2003; 20071212 (ysko)Available from: 2016-10-03 Created: 2016-10-03Bibliographically approved

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Alakangas, LenaÖhlander, Björn
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