Observations and Lessons from the International Static Database (ISD) on Neutralizing Capacity

Hutt, Nora M. ; Morin, Kevin A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Geochemical static tests are a basic component of geochemical assessments and predictions for acidic drainage, and include acid-base accounting and total-metal contents. A key database for such information is the International Static Database (ISD), which currently contains more than 45,000 static-test analyses from over 200 minesites. Such large databases are useful in identifying general trends and, just as important, the percentage of exceptions. General trends and significant exceptions can be seen in the ISD by comparing one parameter against another. This paper shows that bulk neutralization potential (bulk NP) obtained from acid titration is often a good indicator of neutralizing capacity above values of 10 t CaCO3/1000 t. Other types of calculated neutralizing capacity are then compared to bulk NP to determine if they, in fact, reliably represent actual neutralizing capacity and if they can substitute for the more time-consuming and expensive bulk NP. For example, bulk NP correlates better with Carbonate NP (from carbonate analyses) and Total-carbon NP (from total-carbon analyses) than with (Ca+Mg) CaNP (from solid-phase analyses of calcium and magnesium). This means that, in general, (Ca+Mg) CaNP is a less accurate substitute for bulk NP than the other types, and thus requires intensive site-specific justification if a substitution is attempted. This also means that measurement of the frequently less-expensive parameters of total carbon and carbonate can often substitute, within site-specific error bars, for the bulk-NP titration. However, the ISD also shows that non-carbonate minerals make the primary contribution to neutralization in up to 20% of samples, so Carbonate CaNP and Total-carbon CaNP do not always reveal the full neutralizing capacity of a sample.
Full Article Download:
(317 kb)