Acid production potentials of massive sulfide minerals and lead–zinc mine tailings: a medium-term study
Weathering of sulfide minerals is a principal source of acid generation. To determine acid-forming potentials of sulfide-bearing materials, two basic approaches named static and kinetic tests are available. Static tests are short-term, and easily undertaken within a few days and in a laboratory. In contrast, kinetic tests are long-term procedures and mostly carried out on site. In this study, experiments were conducted over a medium-term period of 2 months, not as short as static tests and also not as long as kinetic tests. As a result, pH and electrical conductivity oscillations as a function of time, acid-forming potentials and elemental contents of synthetically prepared rainwater leachates of massive sulfides and sulfide-bearing lead–zinc tailings from abandoned and currently used deposition areas have been determined. Although the lowest final pH of 2.70 was obtained in massive pyrite leachate, massive chalcopyrite leachate showed the highest titrable acidity of 1.764 g H2SO4/L. On the other hand, a composite of currently deposited mine tailings showed no acidic characteristic with a final pH of 7.77. The composite abandoned mine tailing leachate had a final pH of 6.70, close to the final pH of massive galena and sphalerite leachates, and produced a slight titrable acidity of 0.130 g H2SO4/L.