Advertisement

Environmental Geology

, 3:245 | Cite as

Geochemical investigations on fluvial sediments contaminated by tin-mine tailings, Cornwall, England

  • W. W. -S. Yim
Article

Abstract

Tin-mine tailings containing high concentrations of Sn, Cu, Zn, Fe, Mn, As, and W are discharged into the Red River of cornwall, England and are then transported into St. Ives Bay under normal flow conditions. Most of the tin-bearing particles in the fluvial sediments are smaller than 170 μm, but tin-bearing composite grains or mineral grains with tin interspersed in the crystal lattices also occur in coarser size fractions. Tin distribution in the sediments is controlledby: (1) the distance from the source of the tailings, and (2) the concentration processes operating on the river bed. Suspended sediment and sediment transported by saltation filtered from river water samples also showed high concentrations of metals although, in contrast to the bottom sediments, they vary within a narrow range. Distributions of Cu, Zn, Fe, As, and Pb in the filtered sediments probably are related to the physical and chemical behavior of their sulphide minerals during fluvial transportation.

A regional stream-sediment geochemical reconnaissance survey for tin did not show the highest concentration in the Red River; this indicated that in other rivers and streams tin reconcentration by selective removal of light minerals had taken place in the bottom sediments after mining operations had ceased. These rivers and streams also can transport large quantitiies of land-derived sediment including tin-mine tailings discharged into them when mines were operating. The minimum distance of tin transported by the Red River is at least 10 km; however, most of the tin was derived from mine tailings and is considered to be unnatural.

Keywords

Arsenic Bottom Sediment Sulphide Mineral Mine Tailing Stream Sediment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References cited

  1. Aleva, G. J. J., L. J. Fick, and G. L. Krol, 1973. Some remarks on the environmental influence on secondary tin deposits. Bull. Bur. Miner. Resour. Geol. Geophys. Aust., no. 141, p. 163–172.Google Scholar
  2. Almond, H., 1953. A field method for the determination of traces of arsenic in soils—a confined spot procedure using a Gutzeit apparatus: Additional field methods used in geochemical prospecting by the U.S. Geol. Survey, open file report, p. 8–11.Google Scholar
  3. Anon., 1979. Bad year for Cornwall: Mining Jour., v. 292, p. 424.Google Scholar
  4. Aston, S. R., I. Thornton, and J. S. Webb, 1974. Stream sediment composition: an aid to water quality assessment: Water. Air, and Soil Poll., v. 3, p. 321–325.Google Scholar
  5. , 1975. Arsenic in stream sediments and waters of South West England: The Science of the Total Environ., v. 4, p. 347–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Aston, S. R., and I. Thornton, 1977. Regional geochemical data in relation to seasonal variations in water quality. The Science of the Total Environ., v. 7, p. 247–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barton, D. B., 1967. A history of tin mining and smelting in Cornwall: Truro, Cornwall, D. Bradford Barton Ltd., 320 p.Google Scholar
  8. Bowman, J. A., 1968. The determination of tin in ores and concentrates by atomic absorption spectrometry in the nitrous oxide-acetylene flame. Anal. Chim. Acta. v. 42, p. 285–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burt, R. O., and D. J. Ottley, 1973. Developments in fine gravity concentration using the Bartles-Mozley table: Canadian Mineral Processors Fifth Annual Meeting, 1973.Google Scholar
  10. Dunlop, A. C., 1973, Geochemical dispersion of tin in stream sediments and soils in south-west England: Ph.D. thesis, University of London.Google Scholar
  11. Emery, K. O., and L. C. Noakes, 1968. Economic placer deposits of the continental shelf. Comm. Co-ord. Joint Prospecting for Min. Res. in Asian Offshore Areas Tech. Bull., v. 1, p.95–111.Google Scholar
  12. Folk, R. L., and W. C. Ward, 1957. Brazos River bar: a study in the significance of grain size parameters. Jour. Sed. Pet., v. 27, p. 3–26.Google Scholar
  13. Hazelhoff Roelfzema, B. H., and J. S. Tooms, 1969, Dispersion of cassiterite in the marine sediments of western Mounts Bay, Cornwall: in W. Fox, ed., A Second Tech. Conf. on Tin, Bangkok 1969, v. 2, p. 491–516.Google Scholar
  14. Henley, S., 1974. Geochemistry of Devonian sediments in the Perranporth area, Cornwall: Proc. Ussher Soc., v. 3, p. 128–135.Google Scholar
  15. Hosking, K. F. G., 1960. Some aspects of the stability of sulphides, and other normally unstable minerals of economic importance, in the lodes, boulders and pebbles of the Cornish beaches. Camborne Sch. Mines Mag., v. 60, p. 11–18.Google Scholar
  16. Hosking, K. F. G., 1964, Permo-Carboniferous and later primary mineralization of Cornwall and south-west Devon, in K. F. G. Hosking and G. J. Shrimpton, eds., Present views of some aspects of the geology of Cornwall and Devon: Roy. Geol. Soc. Cornwall, p. 201–245.Google Scholar
  17. Hosking, K. F. G., 1969, The nature of the primary tin ores of the south-west of England: in W. Fox, ed., A Second Tech. Conf. on Tin, Bangkok 1969, v. 3, p. 1155–1244.Google Scholar
  18. Hosking, K. F. G., 1971, Problems associated with the application of geochemical methods of exploration in Cornwall, England, in R. W. Boyle and J. I. McGerrigle, eds., Geochemical exploration: Canadian Inst. Min. Metall., special v. 11, p. 176–189.Google Scholar
  19. Hosking, K. F. G., and P. M. Ong, 1963–4. The distribution of tin and certain other heavy metals in the superficial portions of the Gwithian/Hayle beach of west Cornwall. Trans. Roy. Geol. Soc. Cornwall, v. 19, p. 351–390.Google Scholar
  20. Osborne, D., 1973. Mineral processing in Cornwall: Mining Mag., v. 128, p. 246–264.Google Scholar
  21. Stanton, R. E., 1976. The colorimetric determination of tungsten in soils, sediments and rocks by zinc dithiol. Proc. Aus. Inst. Min. Metall., v. 236, p. 59–60.Google Scholar
  22. , 1976. Analytical methods for use in geochemical exploration: London, Edward Arnold, 55 p.Google Scholar
  23. Stanton, R. E., and A. J. McDonald, 1961–2, Field determination of tin in soil and stream sediment surveys. Trans. Inst. Min. Metall., v. 71, p. 27–29.Google Scholar
  24. Thomas, W., 1913. Losses in the treatment of Cornish tin ores: Trans. Corn. Inst. Min. Mech. Metall. Engrs., v. 1, p. 56–74.Google Scholar
  25. Tooms, J. S., D. Taylor Smith, I. Nichol, P. Ong, and J. Wheildon, 1965. Geochemical and geophysical mineral exploration experiments in Mounts Bay, Cornwall, in W. F. Whittard and R. Bradshaw, eds., Submarine geology and geophysics: Colston papers, p. 363–391.Google Scholar
  26. Vorob'yev, V. P., and R. B. Krapivner, 1975. Preliminary classification of coastal-marine placers. Int. Geol. Rev., v. 17, p. 823–829.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Yim, W. W.-S., 1976. Heavy metal accumulation in estuarine sediments in a historical mining area of Cornwall: Mar. Poll. Bull., v. 7, p. 147–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. , 1979a. Rapid methods of tin determination for geochemical prospecting: Geol. Soc. Malaysia Bull., no. 11, p. 375–386.Google Scholar
  29. , 1979b. Geochemical exploration for offshore tin deposits in Cornwall. Proceedings of the Eleventh Common-wealth Min. Metall. Cong., Hong Kong, 1978, in M. J. Jones, ed., Inst. Min. Metall., London, p. 67–77.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. W. -S. Yim
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geography and GeologyUniversity of Hong KongChina

Personalised recommendations