Environmental geochemistry of the abandoned Mamut Copper Mine (Sabah) Malaysia
- 259 Downloads
The Mamut Copper Mine (MCM) located in Sabah (Malaysia) on Borneo Island was the only Cu–Au mine that operated in the country. During its operation (1975–1999), the mine produced 2.47 Mt of concentrate containing approximately 600,000 t of Cu, 45 t of Au and 294 t of Ag, and generated about 250 Mt of overburden and waste rocks and over 150 Mt of tailings, which were deposited at the 397 ha Lohan tailings storage facility, 15.8 km from the mine and 980 m lower in altitude. The MCM site presents challenges for environmental rehabilitation due to the presence of large volumes of sulphidic minerals wastes, the very high rainfall and the large volume of polluted mine pit water. This indicates that rehabilitation and treatment is costly, as for example, exceedingly large quantities of lime are needed for neutralisation of the acidic mine pit discharge. The MCM site has several unusual geochemical features on account of the concomitant occurrence of acid-forming sulphide porphyry rocks and alkaline serpentinite minerals, and unique biological features because of the very high plant diversity in its immediate surroundings. The site hence provides a valuable opportunity for researching natural acid neutralisation processes and mine rehabilitation in tropical areas. Today, the MCM site is surrounded by protected nature reserves (Kinabalu Park, a World Heritage Site, and Bukit Hampuan, a Class I Forest Reserve), and the environmental legacy prevents de-gazetting and inclusion in these protected area in the foreseeable future. This article presents a preliminary geochemical investigation of waste rocks, sediments, secondary precipitates, surface water chemistry and foliar elemental uptake in ferns, and discusses these results in light of their environmental significance for rehabilitation.
KeywordsBiodiversity Floc Kinabalu Mamut Copper Mine Malaysia Sabah
We wish to thank Sabah Parks, the Minerals and Geosciences Department (JMG), the Sabah Forest Department and The University of Queensland. We like to extend our gratitude to Dr. Maklarin Lakim and Rimi Repin (Sabah Parks) and Mr. Kamaruddan Abdullah (JMG) for their support, and to Public Works Department (JKR) for providing access to the MCM site. We thank Rositti Karim, Sukaibin Sumail and Yabainus Juhalin for fieldwork assistance. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the SaBC for granting permission for conducting research in Sabah.
- Akiyama, Y. (1984). A case history-exploration, evaluation and development of the Mamut porphyry Cu deposit. Geological Society Malaysia Bulletin, 17, 237–255.Google Scholar
- Ali, B.N.M., Abdullah, M.H., & Yik, L.C. (2011). Application of geoaccumulation index and enrichment factor for assessing metal contamination in the sediments of Mamut River, Sabah. In National geoscience conference, 11–12 June 2011. Johor: The Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru.Google Scholar
- Australia and New Zealand Environment Conservation Council (ANZECC). (2000). Australian water quality guidelines for marine and freshwaters. Canberra: Australian Government.Google Scholar
- Beaman, J. H. (2005). Mount Kinabalu: hotspot of plant diversity in Borneo. Biologiske Skrifter, 55, 103–127.Google Scholar
- Isidore, F., Cleophas, F., Bidin K., & Abdullah M.H. (2012). Acid mine drainage dilution and heavy metal removal in temporary settling pond of Mamut Ex-Cumine, Ranau. In UMT 11th International Annual Symposium on Sustainability Science and Management 09th–11th July 2012, Terengganu.Google Scholar
- Jopony, M., & Tongkul, F. (2009). Acid mine drainages at mamut Cu mine, Sabah, Malaysia. Borneo Science, 24, 83–94.Google Scholar
- Keong, Y. P., & Sa, T. T. (1992). Land use and the environment in the South Kinabalu Highlands, Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Tropical Geography, 23, 103–118.Google Scholar
- Kitayama, K., et al. (1999). Climate profile of Mount Kinabalu during late 1995 - early 1998 with special reference to the 1998 drought. Sabah Parks Nature Journal, 2, 85–100.Google Scholar
- McMillan, W. J., & Panteleyev, A. (1980). Ore deposit models—1. Porphyry Cu deposits. Geoscience Canada, 7, 52–63.Google Scholar
- Nakamura, T., Miyake, T., Kanao, N., & Tomizawa, N. (1970). Exploration and prospecting in Mamut mine, Sabah, Malaysia. Mining Geology, 20, 100.Google Scholar
- National Environment Protection Measures (NEPM). (2013). Accessed June 08, 2015, (http://www.ephc.gov.au/nepms).
- Newton-Smith, J. (1966). Geology and copper mineralisation in the Mamut River area, Kinabalu. Borneo Region, Malaysia Geological Survey Annual Report for 1965, 1966, 88–96.Google Scholar
- Plumlee, G. S., Smith, K. S., Montour, M. R., Ficklin, W. H., & Mosier, E. L. (1999). Geologic controls on the composition of natural waters and mine waters draining diverse mineral-deposit types, Chapter 19. In L. H. Filipek & G. S. Plumlee (Eds.), The environmental geochemistry of mineral deposits, Part B: Case studies and research topics, reviews in economic geology (Vol. 6B, pp. 373–432). Littleton, CO: Society of Economic Geologists, Inc.Google Scholar
- Seal II, R.R., Piatak, N.M., Levitan, D.M., Hageman, P.L., & Hammarstrom, J.M. (2009). Comparison of geochemical characteristics of modern-style mine waste from a variety of mineral deposit types for insights into environmental challenges associated with future mining. In Proceedings of Securing the Future and 8th ICARD, 23–26 June 2009 (pp. 1–10), Skellefteå.Google Scholar
- Sinclair, W.D. (2007). Porphyry deposits. In W.D. Goodfellow (Ed.), Mineral deposits of Canada: A synthesis of major deposit-types, District Metallogeny, the evolution of geological Provinces, and exploration methods: Geological association of Canada (vol. 5, pp. 223–243). Mineral Deposits Division, Special Publication.Google Scholar
- Sobek, A., Schuller, W., Freeman, J.R., & Smith, R.M. (1978). Field and laboratory methods applicable to overburden and minesoils. In US Environmental Protection Agency. Cincinnati, OH: EPA-600/2-78-054.Google Scholar
- Woolf, D.L., Tooms, J.S., & Kirk, H.J.C. (1966). Geochemical survey in the Labuk Valley, Sabah. Borneo Region, Malaysia Geological Survey Annual Report (pp. 212–226).Google Scholar
- Yong, J. W., Tan, S. N., Ng, Y. F., Low, K. K., Peh, S. F., Chua, J. C., et al. (2010). Arsenic hyperaccumulation by Pteris vittata and Pityrogramma calomelanos: A comparative study of uptake efficiency in arsenic-treated soils and waters. Water Science and Technology, 61, 3041–3049.CrossRefGoogle Scholar