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TitleMineralogical characterization of arsenic in gold mine tailings from three sites in Nova Scotia
AuthorCorriveau, M C; Jamieson, H E; Parsons, M B; Hall, G E M
SourceGeochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis vol. 11, 2011 p. 179-192,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20090333
PublisherGeological Society of London
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceNova Scotia
NTS11D/12; 11E/01; 11F/04
AreaMontague; Goldenville; Lower Seal Harbour
Lat/Long WENS-64.0000 -63.5000 44.7500 44.5000
Lat/Long WENS-62.5000 -61.5000 45.2500 45.0000
Subjectsgeochemistry; environmental geology; mineralogy; Health and Safety; heavy metals contamination; arsenic; pollution; pollutants; tailings; tailings analyses; tailings geochemistry; x-ray diffraction; x-ray diffraction analyses; scanning electron microscopy; scanning electron microscope analyses; gold; mines; human health
Illustrationsphotographs; location maps; histograms; tables; photomicrographs; spectra
Released2011 08 19
AbstractChronic exposure to high concentrations of arsenic (As) in windblown and vehicle-raised dust from tailings sites in Nova Scotia poses a potential health risk to recreational users of these areas and to nearby residents. The exposure may involve inhalation of dust, as well as oral ingestion of particles. It is important to understand the mineralogy and morphology of As-bearing dust particles in order to evaluate the risk posed by near-surface particulates in As-bearing tailings fields, as this will influence the stability and toxicity of As in the wastes. Optical mineralogy, scanning electron microscopy, electron microprobe, X-ray diffraction, synchrotronbased micro-X-ray diffraction (uXRD) and micro-X-ray absorption near edge structure (uXANES), and sequential leach extractions were applied to tailings samples from three sites in eastern Nova Scotia. Arsenic occurs naturally in these gold deposits mainly in arsenopyrite (FeAsS). In the near-surface material of the tailings fields, sulphide minerals have almost completely oxidized to secondary minerals such as scorodite (FeAsO4%2H2O) and Ca-Fe arsenates. Iron oxyhydroxides contain variable amounts of As2O5 from trace to 30 wt.% and CaO up to 8 wt.%. The presence of multiple As-hosting solid phases, including relatively soluble Ca-Fe arsenates and Fe oxyhydroxides with adsorbed As has important implications for human health risk assessment and remediation design.