Natural attenuation of antimony in mine drainage water
Access this Article
Search this Article
In this study, we investigated the natural attenuation of antimony (Sb) in the drainage water of an abandoned mine. Drainage water, waste rocks, and ocherous precipitates collected from the mine were investigated in terms of their mineralogy and chemistry. The chemistry of the drainage water was analyzed by measuring pH, oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), and electric conductivity on site as well as by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and ion chromatography. As the drainage flowed downstream, the pH decreased rapidly from 7.05 to 3.26 and then increased slowly to 3.50. In a section where the pH increased, ocherous precipitates occur on a drainage water channel. We determined Sb levels in the drainage water, and the distribution of Sb in the mineral phases of waste rocks and precipitates was estimated by means of a sequential extraction procedure. The results of these investigations indicated that Sb, which is generated by the dissolution of stibnite (Sb<sub>2</sub>S<sub>3</sub>) and secondary formed Sb minerals in waste rocks, was attenuated by iron-bearing ocherous precipitates, especially schwertmannite, that form over time in the drainage water. The Sb concentrations in the ocherous precipitates were up to 370 mg/kg, whereas the Sb concentrations in the drainage water downstream were below background levels (0.6 μg/L). Bulk distribution coefficients (<i>K</i><sub>d</sub>) for this Sb adsorption to the precipitates ranges up to at least 10<sup>5</sup> L/kg.
- Geochem. J.
Geochem. J. 41(1), 17-27, 2007-02-01
GEOCHEMICAL SOCIETY OF JAPAN