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Impact of fresh tailing deposition on the evolution of groundwater hydrogeochemistry at the abandoned Manitou mine site, Quebec, Canada

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The abandoned Manitou mine site has produced acid mine drainage (AMD) for several decades. In order to limit the detrimental environmental impacts of AMD, different rehabilitation scenarios were proposed and analyzed. The selected rehabilitation scenario was to use fresh tailings from the neighboring Goldex gold mine as monolayer cover and to maintain an elevated water table. In order to assess the impact of the Goldex tailing deposition on the hydrogeochemistry of the Manitou mine site, a network of 30 piezometers was installed. These piezometers were used for continuous measurement of the groundwater level, as well as for water sampling campaigns for chemical quality monitoring, over a 3-year period. Hydrochemical data were analyzed using principal component analysis. Results clearly showed the benefic impact of fresh tailing deposition on the groundwater quality around the contaminated area. These findings were also confirmed by the evolution of electrical conductivity. In addition to the improvement of the physicochemical quality of water on the Manitou mine site, new tailing deposition induced an increase of water table level. However, at this time, the Manitou reactive tailings are not completely submerged and possible oxidation might still occur, especially after ceasing of the fresh tailing deposition. Therefore, complementary rehabilitation scenarios should still be considered.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the Quebec’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and the industrial partners of the Research Institute on Mines and Environment (RIME)—University of Quebec in Abitibi-Temiscamingue (UQAT)—Polytechnique (Polytechnique Montreal), including Agnico Eagle Limited, Canadian Malartic Mine, Iamgold Corporation, Raglan Mine-Glencore, and Rio Tinto Fer and Titane Inc., for funding this study.

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Correspondence to Abdelkabir Maqsoud.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Maqsoud, A., Neculita, C.M., Bussière, B. et al. Impact of fresh tailing deposition on the evolution of groundwater hydrogeochemistry at the abandoned Manitou mine site, Quebec, Canada. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 9054–9072 (2016).

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  • Abandoned mine site
  • Acid mine drainage
  • Monolayer cover
  • Hydrochemical data
  • Principal component analysis