Microbially-Mediated Reductive Dissolution of Arsenic-Bearing Minerals in a Gold Mine Tailings Impoundment

Stichbury, Mei-Lin K. ; Bain, Jeffrey G. ; Blowes David W., ; Gould, W. Douglas
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
The mechanisms of release of arsenic in gold mine tailings were investigated. The highest concentration of dissolved As (75 mg/L) was observed near the base of the tailings impoundment, in close association with a peat layer. Elevated concentrations of reduced iron and hydrogen sulfide were also measured at the base of the impoundment. High numbers of iron-reducing and sulfate-reducing bacteria were detected at depths within the impoundment which correlated with dissolved As, Fe and H2S. The data presented in this paper suggest that arsenic is released from the tailings by bacterially-mediated reductive dissolution of As-bearing iron minerals.
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