Use of the Net Acid Generation pH Test for Assessing Risk of Acid Generation

Schafer, William M. PhD.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
The net acid generation (NAG) pH method is an important analytical tool that supplements static and kinetic tests for assessment of the acid generation risk of rock samples. This method is useful because it is simple, rapid and cost-effective; it combines features of the static and kinetic tests; and it can be conducted at mine assay labs. The NAG pH test is particularly effective for operational testing programs used to classify, selectively handle, and route potentially acid-generating waste rock. The NAG pH procedure is based on a 24 hour oxidation of a pulverized rock sample with hydrogen peroxide and subsequent measurement of the sample's pH. If the NAG pH is below a critical value, determined empirically, then the sample has the potential to generate acid in the field. The critical NAG pH value is typically within the range of 3 to 4.5, but the exact relationship between NAG pH and potential acid generation should be determined individually for each mine site, based on comparison with results of acid base accounting, humidity cell tests, and mineralogical analyses. Calibration and use of the NAG test for predicting ARD risk at several mines are described in this paper.
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