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Arsenic behaviour in gold-ore mill tailings, Massif Central, France: hydrogeochemical study and investigation of in situ redox signatures

Abstract : Historical Au-ore exploitation at the Chéni mine in the Massif Central, France, generated 525,000 tonnes of finely ground mill tailings deposited in a heap that has spread with time into three settling basins. The tailings, which are rich in quartz (80%), mica and clay minerals (10% of illite, smectite, kaolinite and chlorite), feldspars (5%) but poor in carbonates (<1%), also contain sulphides (around 5%, mainly pyrite and arsenopyrite). Arsenic content of the tailings is around 6 g kg. This paper describes the geochemistry of drainage waters, with special attention paid to in situ values of the three major redox couples, namely Fe(II)/Fe(III), As(III)/As(V) and S(IV)/S(VI). The water samples range from acidic and oxidized (pH 2.9, Eh +700 mV) to moderate pH and weakly reducing (pH 7.6, Eh 15 mV). The waters are rich in SO4 and Ca and have variable As (0.05–95 mg L−1) and Fe concentrations (0.07–141 mg L−1). Reduced As(III) species predominate over As(V) species (As(III)/As(V) up to 21), whereas oxidized forms of Fe and S are favoured (Fe(II)/Fe(III) up to 0.5, and S(IV)/S(VI) up to 1). Thermodynamic calculations were performed with the PHREEQC and EQ3NR codes based on a revised As database to evaluate saturation indices (SI) of the waters in relation to the main minerals and define which redox couples control the redox state of the system. The important role of carbonates, though only present in small amounts, explains the acid buffering generated by the oxidation of sulphides for waters in the pH 7–7.5 range. Measured Eh appears to fall between the calculated Eh of the Fe(II)/Fe(III) couple and that of the As(III)/As(V) couple, illustrating redox disequilibrium.
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https://hal-brgm.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03794635
Contributeur : Frédérique COUFFIGNAL Connectez-vous pour contacter le contributeur
Soumis le : lundi 3 octobre 2022 - 13:43:08
Dernière modification le : lundi 3 octobre 2022 - 13:44:58

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Françoise Bodénan, P. Baranger, Patrice Piantone, Arnault Lassin, Mohamed Azaroual, et al.. Arsenic behaviour in gold-ore mill tailings, Massif Central, France: hydrogeochemical study and investigation of in situ redox signatures. Applied Geochemistry, 2004, 19 (11), pp.1785-1800. ⟨10.1016/j.apgeochem.2004.03.012⟩. ⟨hal-03794635⟩

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