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TitleDirect characterization of airborne particles associated with arsenic-rich mine tailings: Particle size, mineralogy and texture
AuthorCorriveau, M C; Jamieson, H E; Parsons, M B; Campbell, J L; Lanzirotti, A
SourceApplied Geochemistry vol. 26, 9-10, 2011 p. 1639-1648,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20100051
PublisherElsevier BV
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
Subjectsmineralogy; environmental geology; 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; textures; textural analyses; human health
Illustrationslocation maps; photographs; spectra; tables; photomicrographs; plots
ProgramProgram management and Transition Activities, Environmental Geoscience
AbstractWindblown and vehicle-raised dust from unvegetated mine tailings can be a human health risk. Airborne particles from As-rich abandoned Au mine tailings from Nova Scotia, Canada have been characterized in terms of particle size, As concentration, As oxidation state, mineral species and texture. Samples were collected in seven aerodynamically fractionated size ranges (0.5 - 16 lm) using a cascade impactor deployed at three tailings fields. All three sites are used for recreational activities and off-road vehicles were racing on the tailings at two mines during sample collection. Total concentrations of As in the <8 lm fraction varied from 65 to 1040 ng/m3 of air as measured by proton-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) analysis. The same samples were analysed by synchrotron-based microfocused X-ray absorption nearedge spectroscopy (lXANES) and X-ray diffraction (lXRD) and found to contain multiple As-bearing mineral species, including Fe–As weathering products. The As species present in the dust were similar to those observed in the near-surface tailings. The action of vehicles on the tailings surface may disaggregate material cemented with Fe arsenate and contribute additional fine-grained As-rich particles to airborne dust. Results from this study can be used to help assess the potential human health risks associated with exposure to airborne particles from mine tailings.