Mine Water and the Environment

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 53–67 | Cite as

Evaluation of Metal Attenuation from Mine Tailings in SE Spain (Sierra Almagrera): A Soil-Leaching Column Study

  • A. Navarro Flores
  • F. Martínez Sola
Technical Article


A laboratory study was undertaken using mine tailings and soil columns to evaluate some of the natural processes that can control the mobility of metals at Pb–Ag mine tailings impoundments. The effects of buffering, pH, and salinity were examined with tailings from the El Arteal deposit. Al, Ba, Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, and Zn were mobilized when the tailings were leached. However, when the mine tailings were placed above alluvial soils, Al, Ba, Cd, Cu, Mn, Pb, and Zn were retained, although Fe and Sr clearly remained mobile. Most of the metal retention appears to be associated with the increase in pH caused by calcite dissolution. The sorption of some metals (Cu, Pb, and Zn) onto oxyhydroxides of Fe and Mn, sulphates, clay materials, and organic matter may also explain the removal of these metals from the leachate.


Leaching Metals Mine sites Soils Tailings 



Financial support was provided through an agreement between the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) and the private sector (Project C-7300). Funding was also received from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology (Projects REN2003-09247-C04-03 and ENE2006-13267-C05-03), in collaboration with the Research Center for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept M Fluidos, ETSEIATUniv Politécnica de Cataluña (UPC)TerrassaSpain
  2. 2.Deretil SACuevas del Almanzora, AlmeríaSpain

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