Environmental Geology

, Volume 53, Issue 8, pp 1613–1626 | Cite as

Mineralogical and geochemical characterisation of open-air tailing and waste-rock dumps from the Libiola Fe-Cu sulphide mine (Eastern Liguria, Italy)

  • P. Marescotti
  • C. Carbone
  • L. De Capitani
  • G. Grieco
  • G. Lucchetti
  • D. Servida
Original Article


Active acid mine drainage (AMD) processes at the Libiola Fe-Cu sulphides mine are mainly triggered by water–rock interaction occurring within open-air tailing and waste-rock dumps. These processes are mainly controlled by exposure to weathering agents, the grain size of the dumped materials, and by the quantity of sulphides, the sulphide types, and their mode of occurrence. Due to these factors, several paragenetic stages of evolution have been recognised at different depths at different sites and within the same site. The dump samples were investigated with mineralogical (reflected- and transmitted-light optical microscopy, XRPD, and SEM-EDS) and geochemical (ICP-AES, Leco) techniques. The AMD evaluation of the tailing and waste-rock samples was performed by calculating the Maximum Potential Acidity, the Acid Neutralising Capacity, (and the Net Acid Producing Potential. The results allowed us to demonstrate that the open-air tailings had already superseded their AMD apex and are now practically inert material composed mainly of stable goethite ± lepidocrocite ± hematite assemblages. On the contrary, the sulphide-rich waste rocks still have a strong potential to produce long term AMD, causing the acidification of circulating waters and the release of several hazardous elements.


AMD Sulphides oxidation Waste dumps Tailing dumps Libiola mine 



The Italian MIUR—Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca (PRIN-COFIN2003: “Crystal chemistry of ore minerals and their alteration products from polimetallic ore deposits in ligurian ophiolites” and PRIN-COFIN2006: “The role of mineral phases in the mobilisation and storage of contaminant elements within mining sites of eastern Liguria”) is acknowledged for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Marescotti
    • 1
  • C. Carbone
    • 1
  • L. De Capitani
    • 2
  • G. Grieco
    • 2
  • G. Lucchetti
    • 1
  • D. Servida
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento per lo Studio del Territorio e delle sue Risorse (DIP.TE.RIS.)Genova UniversityGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra “Ardito Desio”Milano UniversityMilanItaly

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