Non-Acidic, Sulfate-Poor, Copper-Enriched Drainage from a Precambrian Stratabound Chalcopyrite/Pyrite Deposit, Carbon County, Wyoming

Schmiermund, Ron L.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 12
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
The Ferris-Haggarty underground mine was abandoned circa 1910, and portal discharge has since resulted in degradation of a trout fishery in the receiving waters of Haggarty Creek. Although tunnel discharge varies dramatically in volume throughout the year due to infiltration of snowmelt, compositionally it is a nearly constant low-TDS, pH-neutral, low-sulfate, copper-silicate dominated water. Between infiltration events, components of ARD accumulate in unsaturated, oxygenated environments within upper workings and are delivered to the main haulage level by the subsequent annual snowmelt flush. Mixing with non-ARD mine waters results in neutralization, dilution, and precipitation of amorphous copper carbonate and silicate phases. These mechanisms, combined with variations in the water balance, control the composition of the portal discharge. Understanding the chemical and hydrologic control mechanisms was critical to the design of a passive treatment system to decrease effluent copper concentrations.
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