Radioactivity In Mines And Mine Water - Sources And Mechanisms

Wendel, G.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1998
Uranium is a naturally occurring radioactive material in the earth?s crust. Geological processes have resulted in concentration of uranium into ore mined for its gold content in South Africa. This uranium is present in the form of discrete particles of uranium minerals, generally oxides, which are normally insoluble. Chemical and physical processes during gold mining and extraction, particularly when carried out in conjunction with uranium extraction and sulphuric acid manufacture, act on the uranium minerals and the radioactive decay products of uranium. This may result insignificant accumulations of radioactive materials in certain parts of the process. There are a number of naturally occurring radioactive materials in the earth?s crust, such as Uranium-235, Thorium-232, andPotassium-40. This paper focuses on Uranium-238, together with its decay products, and how they affect the gold mines. Water plays a significant role in the redistribution of radionuclides, both as a physical transport medium, and as a solvent in which chemical reactions take place.
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