Geochemical Investigations and Gas Monitoring of an Acid Generating Waste Rock Pile

Hockley, D. ; Smolensky, J. ; Jahn, S. ; Paul, M.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
The Nordhalde is a waste rock pile resulting from uranium mining near Ronneburg, Germany. The pile contains over 27 million m3 of waste rock. Typical seepage water has a pH of 2.7 and a sulfate concentration of 10,000 mg/L. Geochemical investigations of the Nordhalde from 1993 to 1996 included drillholes, test pits, ABA and metals analyses, column tests, and a detailed review of the construction history of the pile. In 1996, eight drillholes were instrumented for monitoring oxygen and temperature. Monitoring continued for a fill year. Hourly temperature and pressure readings were taken by automated data recorder. Oxygen concentrations were measured three times per week, and periodic gas samples were obtained for complete analysis. The resulting data set is believed to be one of the most comprehensive of its kind. Effects noted elsewhere, such as thermal convection, are evident. However, unlike other data in the literature, the NordhaIde data shows a strong seasonal effect, with convection dominating oxygen transport only in the winter months. Analysis of the data allowed the amount of contaminants associated with ongoing and historical oxidation to be compared, and results were used to assess the potential effectiveness of proposed remediation measures.
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