Electrical resistivity tomography as a support tool for physicochemical properties assessment of near-surface waste materials in a mining tailing pond (El gorguel, se spain)

Journal ar
  • Volumen: 10
  • Número: 6
  • Fecha: 01 June 2020
  • Páginas: 1-16
  • ISSN: 2075163X
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.3390/min10060559
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: MDPI
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.The legacy of the mining industry has left a large number of tailing ponds in the Cartagena¿La Unión mining district exposed to water and wind erosion, which causes serious environmental and health problems and requires remediation. Before applying any remediation technique, an intensive sampling of the materials infilling the pond is required to determine the geochemistry of the pond, which will condition the remediation process. However, sampling the large number of tailing ponds that compose the district could be expensive. Thus, the main objective of this study is to evaluate the usefulness of electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) as a non-invasive tool to provide an image of spatial subsurface resistivity distribution and its relation to the physicochemical composition of near-surface mine wastes. To achieve this objective, three short ERT profiles were conducted, and 12 samples in each profile were collected at different depths for its geochemical characterization. Several non-linear regression models were fitted to predict physicochemical properties and metal concentrations from electrical resistivity measures. As a result, a high resistivity area was depicted in the ERT profiles G2 and G3, while the low resistivity ERT profile G1 was also obtained in accordance with the site¿s surficial characteristics. Relationships among low resistivity values and high salinity, clay content, high metal concentrations, and mobility were established. Specifically, calibrated models were obtained for electrical conductivity, particle sizes of 0.02¿50 µm and 50¿2000 µm, total Zn and Cd concentration, and bioavailable Ni, Cd, and Fe. The ERT technique was shown to be a useful tool for the approximation of the location and distribution of the highest ranges of fine particle sizes, moisture, and, to a lesser extent, metal accumulation in the near-surface waste materials.

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