When mines are decommissioned, tailings piles can act as sources of contamination for decades or even centuries. Tailings, which usually contain high concentrations of metals and trace elements, can be reprocessed for a secondary recovery of valuable elements with an innovative approach to a circular economy. This study offers new results for tailings ponds characterisation and chemical content prediction based on an integrated geophysical-geochemical approach. The study of the Raibl Pb-Zn tailings impoundment was done using bulk chemical analysis on borehole samples, Electrical Resistivity Tomography surveys, and Ground Penetrating Radar measurements. We found valuable and statistically significant correlations between the electrical resistivity of the mining impoundments and the metal distribution, thus providing a practical opportunity to characterise large volumes of metal-bearing tailings. In particular, these results can be useful to aid in the development of environmental monitoring programs for remediation purposes or to im-plement economic secondary recovery plans.

Prediction of Trace Metal Distribution in a Tailings Impoundment Using an Integrated Geophysical and Geochemical Approach (RaiblMine, Pb-Zn Alpine District, Northern Italy)

Nicolò Barago
;
Stefano Covelli;Sara Oberti di Valnera;Emanuele Forte
2021-01-01

Abstract

When mines are decommissioned, tailings piles can act as sources of contamination for decades or even centuries. Tailings, which usually contain high concentrations of metals and trace elements, can be reprocessed for a secondary recovery of valuable elements with an innovative approach to a circular economy. This study offers new results for tailings ponds characterisation and chemical content prediction based on an integrated geophysical-geochemical approach. The study of the Raibl Pb-Zn tailings impoundment was done using bulk chemical analysis on borehole samples, Electrical Resistivity Tomography surveys, and Ground Penetrating Radar measurements. We found valuable and statistically significant correlations between the electrical resistivity of the mining impoundments and the metal distribution, thus providing a practical opportunity to characterise large volumes of metal-bearing tailings. In particular, these results can be useful to aid in the development of environmental monitoring programs for remediation purposes or to im-plement economic secondary recovery plans.
2021
Pubblicato
https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/3/1157
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2979552
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