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Controls on Zn Concentrations in Acidic and Neutral Mine Drainage from New Zealand’s Bituminous Coal and Epithermal Mineral Deposits

Bestimmende Faktoren für die Zn-Konzentration in saurem und neutralem Grubenwasser Neuseeländischer Steinkohle- und epithermaler Erzlagestätten

Controles de las concentraciones de Zn en drenajes de mina ácidos y neutros producidos en depósitos de carbón bituminoso y en depósitos mineros epitermales en Nueva Zelanda

烟煤与浅成热液矿床(新西兰)酸性与中性矿山废水的锌浓度控制

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Abstract

Zinc is one of the most abundant transition metals in mine water from coal mines and epithermal metal mines in New Zealand. Zinc is commonly conservative in mine drainage systems and remains soluble at concentrations that exceed guideline values for protection of aquatic ecosystems. This study presents a compilation of Zn concentrations and geochemical data from acid and neutral mine drainage sites. Geochemical modelling using PhreeqC indicates that secondary Zn minerals are unlikely to influence Zn concentrations except where Zn exceeds 100 mg/L and mine drainage pH > 7. Adsorption modelling using WHAM indicates that Zn is unlikely to be attenuated by adsorption onto Fe and Al precipitates that could form during neutralisation or oxidation of mine drainages, except when the ratio of precipitate to dissolved Zn is high (≈100 mg/L precipitate and 0.1 mg/L Zn) and the pH > 6. Instead, Zn concentration is controlled by the source minerals and their rate of dissolution and dilution, rather than precipitation of secondary Zn minerals or adsorption. At some abandoned mine sites, or mineral prospects where leachate testing has been completed, Zn (±acidity) is the main chemical parameter that must be removed before discharge to the aquatic environment. Our results and interpretations constrain options for water management at future mine sites in New Zealand where Zn is present to: active treatment, passive treatment using reducing systems, or passive treatment that incorporate CaO-bearing reagents to achieve a pH > 7. Conventional limestone-based passive treatment systems are unlikely to remove Zn because pH > 6 is seldom achieved in such systems in an acceptable reaction time. Active treatment is unlikely to be possible at sites established to clean up abandoned mines sites, and therefore passive treatment should include a reducing system to remove Zn in order to meet guidelines for protection of aquatic ecosystems.

Zusammenfassung

Zink ist eines der häufigsten Übergangsmetalle im Grubenwasser von Kohlebergwerken und Bergwerken in epithermalen Lagestätten in Neuseeland. Zink verhält sich in der Regel konservativ in Grubenwassersystemen und bleibt löslich in Konzentrationen, die die Grenzwerte für den Schutz aquatischer Ökosysteme überschreiten. Diese Studie präsentiert eine Zusammenstellung von Zn-Konzentrationen und geochemischen Daten von sauren und neutralen Grubenwässern. Geochemische Modellierung mit PhreeqC zeigt, dass sekundäre Zinkminerale die Zn-Konzentrationen wahrscheinlich nicht beeinflussen, außer wenn die Zn-Konzentration > 100 mg/L und der pH > 7 ist. Adsorptionsmodellierung unter Verwendung von WHAM zeigt, dass die Adsorption an während der Neutralisation und Oxidation gebildeter Fe- und Al-Niederschläge unwahrscheinlich ist, außer wenn das Verhältnis von Niederschlag zu gelöstem Zink hoch (≈100 mg/L Niederschlag und 0,1 mg/L Zn) und der pH > 6 ist. Stattdessen wird die Zn-Konzentration durch die Zn-haltigen Minerale der Lagerstätten, deren Auflösungsrate und Verdünnung bestimmt und weniger durch die Ausfällung von sekundären Zn-Mineralen oder Adsorption. An einigen stillgelegten Bergwerken oder Erkundungsflächen, an denen Leaching-Tests durchgeführt wurden, ist Zn (±Azidität) der hauptsächliche chemische Wasserinhaltsstoff, der vor der Ableitung in die aquatische Umwelt entfernt werden muss. Unsere Ergebnisse und Interpretationen schränken die Möglichkeiten für das Wassermanagement zukünftiger Bergwerke in Neuseeland ein, bei denen Zn eine Rolle spielt: aktive Behandlung, passive Behandlung mit reduzierenden Systemen oder passive Systeme, die CaO verwenden, um pH-Werte > 7 zu erreichen. Konventionelle passive, auf Kalkstein basierende Systeme sind wahrscheinlich nicht in der Lage, Zn zu entfernen, da pH-Werte > 6 selten in solchen Systemen in akzeptablen Reaktionszeiten erreicht werden. Aktive Behandlung ist wahrscheinlich nicht möglich an Stellen, an denen es um die Sanierung stillgelegter Bergwerksstandorte geht. Daher sollte die passive Behandlung ein reduzierendes System enthalten, um Zn zu entfernen und die Vorschriften zum Schutz aquatischer Ökosysteme einzuhalten.

Resumen

Zn es uno de los metales de transición más abundantes en el agua de mina desde minas de carbón y minas metálicas epitermales en Nueva Zelanda. Zn se mantiene en drenajes de minas y permanece soluble a concentraciones que exceden los niveles guía de protección de ecosistemas acuáticos. Este estudio presenta una recopilación de las concentraciones de Zn y de datos geoquímicos en sitios de drenaje de mina ácidos y neutros. El modelado geoquímico usando PhreeqC, indica que minerales secundarios de Zn difícilmente tengan influencia sobre las concentraciones de Zn excepto cuando Zn excede 100 mg/L y el pH del drenaje de mina es > 7. El modelado de adsorción usando WHAM, indica que Zn es improbable que sea atenuado por adsorción sobre precipitados de Fe y Al que podrían formarse durante la nuetralización o la oxidación de drenajes de minas excepto cuando la relación de Zn precipitado a disuelto es alto (≈100 mg/L de precipitado y 0,1 mg/L Zn) y el pH > 6. En cambio, la concentración de Zn es controlada por los minerales presentes y sus velocidades de disolución y dilución, más que por la precipitación de minerales secundarios de Zn o por adsorción. En sitios de minas abandonados o en prospecciones mineras donde los ensayos de lixiviación se han completado, Zn (±acidez) es el principal parámetro químico que debe ser removido durante la descarga al medio ambiente acuático. Nuestros resultados e interpretaciones restringen opciones para el manejo del agua en futuros sitios de minas en Nueva Zelanda donde Zn esté presente, a: tratamiento activo, tratamiento pasivo usando sistemas reductores, o tratamientos pasivos que incoporen agentes conteniendo CaO para alcanzar pH > 7. El tratamiento pasivo convencional basado en el agregado de caliza difícilmente remueva Zn porque pH > 6 se alcanza raramente en tales sistemas y en un tiempo de reacción razonable. El tratamiento activo difícilmente pueda aplicarse para la decontaminación de sitios mineros abandonados, y por lo tanto el tratamiento pasivo debería incluir un sistema reductor para remover Zn para alcanzar las regulaciones que operan en la protección de ecosistemas acuáticos.

抽象的

锌是烟煤与浅成热液矿床(新西兰)排放废水中含量最多的一种过渡金属。锌在矿山废水中性质稳定且在超过水生态系统保护阈值时仍呈可溶态。研究给出了系列酸性和中性矿山废水排放点的Zn浓度及地球化学特征值。PhreeqC地球化学模拟结果表明,除了在锌浓度超过100 mg/L且矿山废水pH > 7的条件下,次生锌矿不可能影响锌浓度。WHAM吸附模拟结果亦表明,除非当锌的沉淀与溶解比很高(沉淀浓度约100 mg/L,溶解浓度为0.1 mg/L)且pH > 6时,锌浓度不会因被吸附到矿山废水中和与氧化生成的次生铁及铝沉淀而减少。相反,锌浓度主要受原岩矿物及其溶解率、稀释率控制,而不是受次生锌矿及其吸附作用控制。在一些废弃采场或矿蔵勘探区,锌是矿山废水(无论是酸性还是碱性水)排放到水环境之前必须去除的主要化学物质。由于矿山废水的主动处理、基于还原作用的被动处理和利用CaO提高pH > 7的被动处理都涉及锌处理问题,本文研究结果与分析将影响未来新西兰矿山水资源管理。基于石灰石的被动处理系统在可接受反应时间内很少pH > 6而难以去除锌,主动处理系统在修复矿井废水时无法搭建。因此,被动处理系统应该同时包含一个去除Zn的还原系统,以使排放水符合水生态系统保护指南的要求。

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Acknowledgments

We thank the mining companies who have allowed publication of their data. This research was funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment through research contracts with CRL Energy Ltd.

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Pope, J., Trumm, D. Controls on Zn Concentrations in Acidic and Neutral Mine Drainage from New Zealand’s Bituminous Coal and Epithermal Mineral Deposits. Mine Water Environ 34, 455–463 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10230-015-0372-2

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