Using an integrated method for the determination of environmental TCLP arsenic for sulphide-rich mine tailing remediation in Ghana, West Africa

  • Gordon FoliEmail author
  • Simon K. Y. Gawu
Original Article


Toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) is a versatile short-term leaching protocol used to estimate the release of toxic metals from waste prior to disposal to a repository. This paper uses the integrated TCLP leachate data from tailings, tailings dam monitoring borehole data, and acidity ratio (AR) range of sulphide-rich ores to simulate the environmental TCLP As in tailings at the AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi mine in Ghana. The aim was to incorporate long-term leaching characteristics of tailings to minimise the risk of TCLP As test failure. The mean As concentration and pH value are 2.26 mg/l and 5.7 in TCLP leachate, 0.35 mg/l and 6.7 in monitoring boreholes, and < 0.01 mg/l and 5.7 in control boreholes, respectively. The evaluation of the TCLP As data using a one-sample t test performed at 80% confidence interval has the upper confidence limit (UCL) of 2.41 mg/l; this value which constitutes the short-term characterised environmental TCLP As is below the USEPA criterion of 5 mg/l and, therefore, qualifies the waste as safe for disposal. Alternatively, TCLP leachate, borehole and AR data were integrated to simulate the long-term environmental TCLP As of 2.40 mg/l and pH value of 5.7, and As concentration and pH value of 0.01 mg/l and 6.7 in monitoring boreholes, respectively. Such laboratory simulations of TCLP As leaching aimed at achieving 0.01 mg/l in field monitoring data would provide a more robust predictive value for environmental management decision making due to long-term considerations.


Acid–base accounting Model definition Arsenic waste Tailings repository Mine drainage 



The authors acknowledge the staff and management of Environmental Services Department of AngloGold Ashanti, Obuasi mine for their immense assistance during the laboratory work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geological EngineeringKwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)KumasiGhana

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