Assessment of the acid drainage neutralization capacity and the toxic metals lixiviation of tailing from Guanajuato mining district, Mexico

  • María Elena García-ArreolaEmail author
  • Luisa María Flores-Vélez
  • Marcos Loredo-Tovías
  • Alfredo Aguillón-Robles
  • Rubén Alfonso López-Doncel
  • Irene Cano-Rodríguez
  • Sonia Hortensia Soriano-Pérez
Original Article


In Mexico, many environmental problems are generated by large mining activities taking place in several mining districts. These mining activities produce great quantities of residues; large majorities of these have high sulfur content, which could generate acid drainage due to their interaction with the oxygen in the environment. The study area was located in the Mining District of Guanajuato, Mexico with abandoned tailings generated mainly by the gold and silver production. Two areas, called as Monte de San Nicolás (SN) and Peregrina (P) were selected for this study. The results study shows that there was no risk of production of acid drainage, since these tailings contained high amount of carbonates, which neutralized the generation of acidity and consequently decreased the possibility of leaching of some elements. However, not all elements leach in acid pH, as arsenic bound to oxyhydroxides, which is in a basic environment and its increased release by increasing the pH.


Mining tailings Acid drainage Neutralization capacity Metals leaching Guanajuato Mexico 



The authors thank the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT 165201) and Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) through the project PROMEP “Movilidad y retención de metales pesados en residuos minerales y humedales”, de la Red de Ciencia y Tecnología Ambiental 2009–2010, 2011–2012, 2013–2014 (Proyecto 1: PROMEP/103.5/09/1282, Proyecto 2: PROMEP/103.5/11/2538, Proyecto 3: PROMEP/103.5/13/5263.). Authors also thank the staff of the Atomic spectrophotometry Laboratory Training Center Materials Engineering and the Geochemistry Laboratory of the Institute of Geology (both UASLP), as well as Ana del Rocio Hernández-García (Institute of Geology, UASLP) for the geologic map design. We thank also the anonymous reviewers for the valuable comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Elena García-Arreola
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Luisa María Flores-Vélez
    • 2
  • Marcos Loredo-Tovías
    • 1
  • Alfredo Aguillón-Robles
    • 3
  • Rubén Alfonso López-Doncel
    • 3
  • Irene Cano-Rodríguez
    • 4
  • Sonia Hortensia Soriano-Pérez
    • 2
  1. 1.Área de Ciencias de la Tierra, Facultad de IngenieríaUniversidad Autónoma de San Luis PotosíSan Luis PotosíMexico
  2. 2.Facultad de Ciencias QuímicasUniversidad Autónoma de San Luis PotosíSan Luis PotosíMexico
  3. 3.Instituto de GeologíaUniversidad Autónoma de San Luis PotosíSan Luis PotosíMexico
  4. 4.Departamento de Ingeniería Química, División de Ciencias Naturales y ExactasUniversidad de GuanajuatoGuanajuatoMexico

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