Mine Water and the Environment

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 180–192 | Cite as

Potential Release of Metals from Tailings and Soil at the Hamekasi Iron Mine, Hamadan, Iran

  • Elahe Naderi Peikam
  • Mohsen Jalali
Technical Article


This study focused on acid neutralization reactions and the effects of water composition on the release and mobility of metals from mine tailings. The aims of this study were to: investigate leaching of metals from neutral mine tailings, determine the factors responsible for metal leaching, and investigate potential metal filtering by the soil. Tailings and soil samples were collected from an iron mine and analyzed. Equilibrium thermodynamic data and metal fractionation were then used to predict precipitation/dissolution of minerals and ion adsorption/desorption. Three column experiments were designed. The first column was filled with tailings, while the second column contained tailings above a layer of soil; both were leached with distilled water as rainfall. The third column was packed with soil and percolated with synthetic groundwater. The results indicated that iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) mobility are mainly controlled by precipitation–dissolution mechanisms, while sorption onto oxides and carbonates limit the mobility of copper (Cu) and nickel (Ni). Cadmium (Cd) and manganese (Mn) mobility are affected by both mechanisms. Water discharging from column 3 (soil washed with groundwater) contained high concentrations of dissolved metals, indicating that water composition played an important role in metal mobility. Buffering minerals like carbonates and hornblende, chlorite, and albite decreased acid generation.


Water composition Acid neutralization potential XRD analysis PHREEQC Leaching 




Este estudio está enfocado en las reacciones de neutralización y los efectos de la composición del agua sobre la liberación y movilidad de metales desde las colas de mineral. Los objetivos de este estudio fueron: investigar la lixiviación de metales desde colas de mineral, determinar los factores responsables de lixiviación de metales e investigar la potencial filtración de metales al suelo. Las muestras de suelo y colas fueron tomadas de la mina y posteriormente analizadas. Los datos termodinámicos y el fraccionamiento de metales fueron usados para predecir la disolución/precipitación de minerales y la adsorción/desorción de iones. Se diseñaron experimentos con tres columnas. La primera columna se llenó con colas mientras que la segunda contenía colas sobre una capa de suelo; ambas fueron lixiviadas con agua destilada como si fuera agua de lluvia. La tercera columna contenía suelo y fue percolada con agua subterránea sintética. Los resultados indicaron que la movilidad de Fe y Zn es principalmente controlada por los mecanismos de disolución-precipitación, mientras que la sorción sobre óxidos y carbonatos limita la movilidad de Cu y Ni. La movilidad de Cd y Mn es afectada por ambos mecanismos. El agua de descarga de la columna 3 contenía altas concentraciones de metales disueltos indicando que la composición del agua juega un importante rol en la movilidad de los metales. Minerales buffers como carbonatos y hornblenda, clorita y albita disminuyeron la generación de ácido.



The authors are grateful to the editors and anonymous referees for their critical review, perceptive comments, and editing of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10230_2016_425_MOESM1_ESM.docx (30 kb)
Supplementary material (DOCX 30 KB)
10230_2016_425_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (138 kb)
Supplementary Figure 1 XRD analysis of fresh tailing (Ch chlorite; a Albite; q Quartz; H Hornblende and Ca Calcite) (PDF 137 KB)
10230_2016_425_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (133 kb)
Supplementary Figure 2 XRD analysis of leached tailing (PDF 132 KB)
10230_2016_425_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (133 kb)
Supplementary Figure 3 XRD analysis of original soil (PDF 132 KB)
10230_2016_425_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (143 kb)
Supplementary Figure 4 XRD analysis of leached soil (Column 2) (PDF 143 KB)
10230_2016_425_MOESM6_ESM.pdf (208 kb)
Supplementary Figure 5 XRD analysis of leached soil (Column 3) (PDF 208 KB)


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil Science, College of AgricultureBu-Ali Sina UniversityHamadanIran

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