Identification of the Origin and Behaviour of Arsenic in Mine Waste Dumps Using Correlation Analysis: A Case Study Sarcheshmeh Copper Mine

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Ph.D. candidate, Faculty of Mining, Petroleum and Geophysics, Shahrood University, Shahrood, Iran

2 Professor of Environmental Hydrogeology, Faculty of Mining, Petroleum and Geophysics, Shahrood University, Shahrood, Iran

3 Assistant Professor of Geochemistry, Faculty of Mining, Petroleum and Geophysics, Shahrood University, Shahrood, Iran

4 National Iranian Copper Industries Company (NICICO)

5 Assistant Professor of Economic Geology, Faculty of Mining, Petroleum and Geophysics, Shahrood University, Shahrood, Iran

6 Assistant Professor, Mineral Processing, Shahrood University, Shahrood, Iran

Abstract

Knowledge of the probable origin and behaviour of arsenic certainly gives valuable insights into the potential for transfer in the environment and of the risks involved in mining sites. Sequential extraction analyses are common experiments often used to study the origin and behaviour of potentially toxic elements. The method, however, presents some deficiencies, including labor-intensive procedure, interferences of phases, being impractical for testing large number of samples in heterogeneous environment as well as inability for determining the individual minerals as source or sink terms for toxic elements. This study attempts to determine the origin and behaviour of arsenic in waste dump using correlation analysis approach. To this end, sixty samples were collected from two waste dumps at the Sarcheshmeh Copper Mine in Kerman Province, Iran. The statistical results along with previous experimental investigations and also sequential extraction experiment revealed that adsorption on muscovite is the main source, and that oxy hydroxides of iron and manganese are the main adsorbent minerals which control the concentrations of arsenic in the waste dumps of the Sarcheshmeh copper mine.

Keywords