A Geochemical and Geophysical Characterization of Sulfide Mine Ponds at the Iberian Pyrite Belt (Spain)



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Martín Crespo, Tomás and Martín Velázquez, Silvia and Gómez Ortiz, David and Ignacio San José, Cristina de and Lillo Ramos, F. Javier (2011) A Geochemical and Geophysical Characterization of Sulfide Mine Ponds at the Iberian Pyrite Belt (Spain). Water Science & Technology, 217 . pp. 387-405. ISSN 0273-1223

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Official URL: http://link.springer.com/journal/11270


This work presents the results of a geochemical
and geophysical characterization of the
Monte Romero and La Naya mine ponds, belonging
to the Cueva de la Mora and Riotinto mine districts,
respectively, based on mineralogical, geochemical and
geophysical techniques. In order to obtain a representative
environmental characterization, two deposits
showing different mineralogies, physico-chemical
parameters, chemical compositions of tailings and
pond conditions were selected. Monte Romero mine
tailings showed an upper level mainly composed of
silicates and a deeper level mainly composed of
sulfides and barite. The toxic metal content was
different in both levels but high enough to exceed
the regional legal concentration limits for agricultural
soils. An electrical resistivity tomography survey
revealed a homogeneous upper unit (3 m thickness),
which displayed low resistivity values, corresponding
to water-saturated silt and clay materials with an
abundance of sulfides which was interpreted as the
pond infilling. The La Naya mine pond presented a
homogeneous mineralogical composition made up of
quartz as the main mineral and chlorite-smectite and
jarosite as accessory phases. The absence of sulfide
phases and the low contents of metal elements are
directly related to the reworking processes of the
sludge dumped in this pond. The geophysical survey
revealed that the pond infilling did not have a
constant thickness, but ranged between 15 and
20 m. An inner groundwater flow in the infilling
was recognized. The low resistivity values allowed
the presence of acid waters and related subsurface
flows to be identified in both mine ponds, but no acid
water drainage occurred across their vessels. When
compared to the Aznalcóllar tailings spill, the La
Naya pond is large enough to release a similar amount
of sludge, but of a very low metal content. The Monte
Romero sludge displays a similar, potentially toxic
metal content to the Aznalcóllar sludge, but its size is
significantly smaller.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:

(The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com)

Uncontrolled Keywords:Mine pond, Metals, Acid mine drainage, Electrical resistivity tomography, Iberian Pyrite Belt
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geochemistry
ID Code:19968
Deposited On:14 Feb 2013 12:08
Last Modified:14 Feb 2013 12:08

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