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University of Waterloo

1. Wilson, David. A mechanistic approach to assessment of the geochemical evolution of low sulfide mine-waste rock.

Degree: 2019, University of Waterloo

The potential for mine wastes to generate elevated concentrations of solutes including metals, sulfate, and reduced pH exists wherever mine-waste rock is stockpiled at the Earth’s surface representing one of the world’s largest environmental problems. The assessment of the long-term geochemical evolution of mine wastes is of critical importance in the process of mine-life planning because of the potential for adverse impacts of released solutes and low pH effluent to receiving environments. The Diavik Waste Rock Project included laboratory and field experiments investigating the geochemical evolution of low-sulfide mine-waste rock at different scales. The experiments included small-scale humidity cells (0.1 m high; laboratory), medium-scale lysimeters (2 m high; field), and large-scale test piles (15 m high; field) to facilitate development of a mechanistic approach to scaling results of the laboratory experiments to make assessments regarding the geochemical evolution at the larger field experiments. This process, generally referred to scale-up, often involves the use of humidity cell experiment results coupled with empirical scale factors to make predictions about the long term geochemistry of effluent released form mine-waste stockpiles. The empirical factors used typically include parameters known to influence rates of sulfide oxidation including mineral content, particle-size distribution, temperature, moisture content, and oxygen availability. These scale-up factors often fail to account for site specific heterogeneities in physical and chemical properties that can strongly influence the prediction process. Mechanistic approaches (i.e., the use of geochemical models including reactive transport models) have the potential to include complex heterogeneities that facilitate a quantitative assessment of the long-term geochemical evolution of mine wastes. A conceptual model of the geochemical evolution of low-sulfide waste rock was developed to facilitate numerical simulations of the small-scale experiments and then was used to simulate the geochemical evolution in the larger scale field experiments. The conceptual model, based on oxidation of sulfide minerals coupled with the geochemical weathering of host minerals present in waste rock produced at the Diavik Diamond Mine (NT, Canada), was implemented using the reactive transport code MIN3P. The 1-D model was calibrated to capture the effluent concentrations from the laboratory-scale experiments then used to simulate the geochemical evolution at the larger scale field experiments, without further calibration, to assess the efficacy of the mechanistic scale-up approach. Geostatistical analyses of mineralogical and particle-size distribution samples were conducted to assess the heterogeneity of S, C, and saturated hydraulic conductivity. The results of the geostatistical analyses were used to inform spatial distributions of S, C, and saturated hydraulic conductivity as input to reactive transport simulations of the large-scale field experiment. The 2-D simulations…

Subjects/Keywords: geostatistics; reactive transport; scale-up; mine waste; heterogeneity

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APA · Chicago · MLA · Vancouver · CSE | Export to Zotero / EndNote / Reference Manager

APA (6th Edition):

Wilson, D. (2019). A mechanistic approach to assessment of the geochemical evolution of low sulfide mine-waste rock. (Thesis). University of Waterloo. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10012/14311

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Wilson, David. “A mechanistic approach to assessment of the geochemical evolution of low sulfide mine-waste rock.” 2019. Thesis, University of Waterloo. Accessed January 23, 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/14311.

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Wilson, David. “A mechanistic approach to assessment of the geochemical evolution of low sulfide mine-waste rock.” 2019. Web. 23 Jan 2019.

Vancouver:

Wilson D. A mechanistic approach to assessment of the geochemical evolution of low sulfide mine-waste rock. [Internet] [Thesis]. University of Waterloo; 2019. [cited 2019 Jan 23]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/10012/14311.

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

Council of Science Editors:

Wilson D. A mechanistic approach to assessment of the geochemical evolution of low sulfide mine-waste rock. [Thesis]. University of Waterloo; 2019. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/10012/14311

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

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