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UNEXPECTED NON-ACID DRAINAGE FROM SULFIDIC ROCK WASTE
Gerson, A.R., P.J. Rolley, C. Davis, S.T. Feig, S. Doyle, and R.S.C. Smart.
Nature: Scientific Reports 9:Article 4357(2019)

This paper demonstrates that standardized acid-base accounting (ABA) tests may not always provide the correct acid mine drainage (AMD) classification for commonly occurring waste rocks containing low-pyrite and -carbonate due to mineralogic assumptions inherent in their design. The application of these standard ABA tests at a copper mine site in South Australia resulted in the classification of a portion of its waste material as potentially acid forming in apparent contradiction to long-term field measurements. Full definition of the sulfide and silicate minerals enabled re-evaluation of the weathering reactions. The overall rate of neutralization due to silicate dissolution was found to always exceed the rate of acid generation, in agreement with field observations. Consequently, the waste rock was redefined as non-acid forming. This article is Open Access at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-40357-4.



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