Quantification of Oxygen Consumption Rates for Gneissic Waste Rock Piles, Key Lake Uranium Mine, Northern Saskatchewan, Canada: Application of the Kinetic Cell Technique
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 2000
The oxygen consumption method utilises an oxygen sensor to monitor the gas-phase oxygen concentrations in sealed chambers filled with reactive waste rock with subsequent confirmation of the oxygen content by gas chromatography. Results of experiments utilising low sulphide (<0.5w1%) waste rock yielded reproducible oxygen consumption rates on the order of 10-10 mol O2.kg-1. s-1. Petrographic analysis of the waste rock material indicated that the dominant sulphide mineral is pyrite (FeS2). Assuming a stoichiometry of 1.75 moles of O2 per mole of SO4 sulphate release rates were inferred to be between 6 and 18 mg SO4 kg-1 wk-1 Typically these results are 2 to 3 times greater than measured sulphate release rates from humidity cells. Our findings suggest that this techniques offers a rapid. cost efficient method for determining sulphate release rates in waste rock piles, even at low sulphide concentrations.