Environmental risk managements of mine wastes (from planning to aftercare) Marja Liisa Räisänen ELY-centre for Kainuu

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1 Environmental risk managements of mine wastes (from planning to aftercare) Marja Liisa Räisänen ELY-centre for Kainuu Mine wastes, what they are? Environmental characteristics, characterization How to minimize environmental risks? Examples of the recovering (aftercare) ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

2 Underground Mine Open pit Mine Wastes (Hydrometallurgical wastes) Topsoil Waste Rocks Ore processing Flotation Separation Crushing, powdering Extractive metallurgy Tailings Sludge (Metallurgical wastes) Simple washing / Gravity / Magnetic / Electrical / optical sorting Heap bioleaching Bioleached ore Waste Tailings ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

3 Mineral wastes from the metal ore mining Mine wastes include Overburden (Topsoil) overlying crystalline bedrock Glacial sediments (e.g. till, glaciolacustrine sediments) and postglacial organic soils (peat) Generally stored for aftercare works of waste rock heaps Waste rocks without and/or with minor content of ore minerals (no current economic value) Particle sizes range from clay size particles to boulder size fragments Contains remnants of explosive chemicals (e.g. nitrogen compounds) Tailings waste Fine-grained wastes with variable water content from ore processing Consist of silicates and minor contents of ore minerals, and remnants of process chemicals + explosive chemicals ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

4 Metallurgical wastes (hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, electrometallurgy) Residues of leached (or smelted) ore E.g. gold ore leached with cyanide solution (digestion under pressure in an autoclave), bioleached ore heaps Sludge from neutralization of process water and/or gas emissions (H 2 S, C 2 S) Precipitating Fe and Al oxyhydroxides (oxidation + neutralization) Gypsum sludge (neutralization of soluble sulfide, HS -, H 2 S) Contain variable amounts of chemical remnants +/- organic reagents ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

5 Tailings impoundment Mine wastes Waste rock pile Pyhäsalmi Mine Oy M. L. Räisänen Bioleached ore, 2. Stage heap (final dump place), Talvivaara ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment M. and L. Räisänen Natural Resources NORDROCS

6 Potential environmental risks of mine wastes Acid generating leading into acid (or neutral) and metal +/- metalloid rich drainage (ARD / AMD); soil acidification / groundwater acidification Emissions of hazardous chemicals into water ways and/ or groundwater Oxygen + water Oxygen + water Acid seepage Iron sulfides + Metal +/- metalloid sulfides Leakage into groundwater, If not waterproof lining Oxygen + water Acid seepage ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

7 Aluminium µg/l Seepage water quality of the closed tailings facilities Tailings, 45y old Tailings, 25y old Tailings, 10y old , GTK, unpublished data ph ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

8 Mine waste characterization - Geological description of the deposit Mineralogical and chemical composition Chemicals or remnants of chemicals Geotechnical characterization of tailings, hydrometallurgical sludges Non sulfidic wastes Other sulfidic wastes Fe sulfide bearing wastes No hazardous hydrometallurgical chemicals waste sludge? - Selective extractions S<0,1% and/or sequential S>0,1% extractions How to determine and estimate chemical characteristics of - Non-crystalline precipitates crystalline precipitates (IR, XRD) Inert waste Acid generating potential Non inert waste - Aging of precipitates? NP/AP>3 NP/AP<3 or >3 - Stability mobility of hazardous and S<1% elements and S>1% / chemical compounds? Evaluation of mobile, hazardous elements Kauppila et al ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

9 Environmental risk management of mine wastes from planning to aftercare Short and long-term chemical weathering of wastes, occurrence of hazardous chemicals and potential interactions between waste and surrounding environment determines disposal techniques Pad (lining) and dam structures Leachate water management in operational and longterm phases Leachate purification techniques (active and/or passive water purification) ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

10 Waterproof pad structure (lining) for more or less hazardous wastes - Synthetic materials (HDPE/bituminous line) - Dumping on a bog Compressed peat underlying tailings Bituminous line underlied by bentonite layer photo M. L. Räisänen photo M. L. Räisänen ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

11 Environmental risk management of mine wastes from planning to aftercare If water and oxygen diffusion into waste is excluded, no acid generation occurs Disposal under water, backfilling into an open pit or underground tunnels; weakly permeable cover (neutral or basic fine-grained layer keeping moisture but diminishing oxygen diffusion) Hazardous chemicals are degraded before the waste is dumped (e.g. oxidation of cyanide) Efficient purification of process waters Seepage waters from waste areas are collected and purified efficiently before discharge ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

12 Waste disposal and aftercare techniques Waste classification (acid generating / non-acid generating) Capsulation Layering or mixing Backfilling Dry cover, wet and/or water cover Water cover Till Waste rocks mixed with tailings +/-protected layer Open pit ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

13 Waterproof pad and dam structures enable water cover in the aftercare To water purification Dam Water cover Tailings Dam Glacial till Protected layer (silt)) Bedrock ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

14 Best practices for mine waste management A key aspect is to opt for an ore processing technique that minimizes waste volume and optimize recovery of resource ingredients. Sorting according to the environmental acceptable properties (geochemistry composition, geotechnical properties) Potential raw materials in future (e.g. high-tech elements) Development of techniques to degrade chemicals and / or to recycle chemicals ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

15 Aftercare of the tailings impoundment, Stekenjokkin Cu-Zn-Ag Mine, Northern Sweden Tailings impoundment covered by water Thanks and Questions! M. L. Räisänen ELY-Centre for Kainuu, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Environment and Natural Resources NORDROCS

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