Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
Print version ISSN 0100-0683
ASSIS, Igor Rodrigues de et al. Induction of a geochemical barrier for As, Fe and S immobilization in a sulfide substrate. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo [online]. 2012, vol.36, n.2, pp.671-679. ISSN 0100-0683. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-06832012000200036.
Acid mine drainage (AMD) is an environmental concern due to the risk of element mobilization, including toxic elements, and inclusion in the food chain. In this study, three cover layers were tested to minimize As, Fe and S mobilization from a substrate from former gold mining, containing pyrite and arsenopyrite. For this purpose, different layers (capillary break, sealant and cover layer) above the substrate and the induction of a geochemical barrier (GB) were used to provide suitable conditions for adsorption and co-precipitation of the mobilized As. Thirteen treatments were established to evaluate the leaching of As, Fe and S from a substrate in lysimeters. The pH, As, Fe, S, Na, and K concentrations and total volume of the leachates were determined. Mineralogical analyses were realized in the substrate at the end of the experimental period. Lowest amounts of As, Fe and S (average values of 5.47, 48.59 and 132.89 g/lysimeter) were leached in the treatments that received Na and K to induce GB formation. Mineralogical analyses indicated jarosite formation in the control treatment and in treatments that received Na and K salts. However, the jarosite amounts in these treatments were higher than in the control, suggesting that these salts accelerated the GB formation. High amounts of As, Fe and S (average values of 11.7, 103.94 and 201.13 g/lysimeter) were observed in the leachate from treatments without capillary break layer. The formation of geochemical barrier and the use of different layers over the sulfide substrate proved to be efficient techniques to decrease As, Fe and S mobilization and mitigate the impact of acid mine drainage.
Keywords : jarosite; arsenic; cover layers; gold mining; rehabilitation.