Evaluation of metal mobility from copper mine tailings in northern Chile

  • Elizabeth J. Lam /
  • M. E. Gálvez /
  • M. Cánovas /
  • I. L. Montofré /
  • D. Rivero /
  • A. Faz
Journal ar
Environmental Science and Pollution Research
  • Volumen: 23
  • Número: 12
  • Fecha: 01 June 2016
  • Páginas: 11901-11915
  • ISSN: 16147499 09441344
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1007/s11356-016-6405-y
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Springer Verlag
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. This work shows the results obtained on a copper mine tailing in the Antofagasta Region, Chile. The tailing was classified as saline-sodic with high concentrations of metals, especially Cu and Fe, with pH 8.4. Our objectives were to (1) compare the physicochemical properties of the tailing with surrounding soils of the mine under study, and (2) evaluate the effect of two amendments (CaCO3 and compost) and their mixtures on Cu2+, Mn, Fe, Zn, Mg2+, and K+ and Ca2+, SO4 2¿, NO3 ¿, and PO4 3¿ leaching. The data obtained were submitted to variance and covariance analysis. The results from the comparison between both substrates showed that in general, the tailing presented greater content of metals. Regarding tailing leaching, pH, electrical conductivity (EC), and concentration of the elements of interest were measured. The statistical analysis showed that Cu2+ leaching and immobilization of Fe occurred to the greatest extent with compost. The EC decreased throughout the experiment with irrigation and increased upon treatment with compost. The major interactions found among the chemical parameters were (1) tailings without treatment, Cu2+/Fe and NO3 ¿/SO4 2¿; (2) tailings treated with CaCO3, Cu2+/K+; (3) tailings treated with compost, NO3 ¿/SO4 ¿2 and EC/Cu2+; and (4) tailings treated with both amendments, EC/Fe and Cu2+/Fe. The ANOVA showed that the number of irrigations and the amendments statistically significantly affected the copper mobility and the organic amendment significantly influenced the iron mobility.

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